The Monkeemobile was actually two ’66 Pontiac GTOs created by the late Dean Jeffries for a short-lived, highly popular TV series about a fictitious rock band called The Monkees that aired from 1966-1968. Actors Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork were also musicians, but the TV series didn’t allow much time to create their own music. Still, they managed to write songs and after the show was cancelled, continued recording through ’71, releasing albums and conducting tours for years. At their peak, they outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Under contract with model kit maker Model Products Corporation (MPC), Jeffries told MPC CEO George Toteff about the Monkeemobile before choosing a make upon which to base the vehicle. Toteff told Jim Wangers, who worked for Pontiac in promotions and advertising, and that’s how two 389-powered, ‘66 GTO convertibles became Monkeemobiles. MPC was allowed to produce Monkeemobile model kits, and sold over 7 million of them.
Designed and built by Jeffries, a split two-piece windshield, ‘20s-‘30s touring car style top, inset tail lamps and modified front fenders and rear quarters were among the exterior revisions. The trunk lid was removed and a third row bench seat was added along with four bucket seats, a rear-mounted parachute, and a GTO emblem on the front grille.
Two cars were built, one as the main TV car, and the other to tour car shows. Both were built in four weeks, and the first featured a 6:71 blown engine, solid mounted rear axle and extra rear end weight to enable the car to do wheelies. With the blower, the car had too much power and was difficult to drive, so a dummy blower was fitted. Both cars were used on The Monkees, one during the first season and both throughout the second. Differences such as the door logo size, blower lines and fan belt cover can be used to differentiate them.
After the TV show ended, both cars were offered to Dean for $1,000 each, who declined. George Barris bought one, toured it before performing a major restoration, and then sold it to Mel Gutherie, who is in this video. The other car that followed The Monkees on tour was left in Australia, made its way to Puerto Rico, and was displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum before being sold to a collector as well.
For fans of the Monkeemobile, The Monkees, or the TV series, this video is a fascinating view of what happened to one of the most iconic cars in the history of television. Wouldn’t you have loved to get your hands on one for a mere $1,000?