The Legends Of Our Sport
Jeffries, a man with a brush.
of history’s preeminent automotive sculptors and engineers
passed away at home on Sunday, May 5, 2013. Dean Jeffries,
also known as “Deano” began pinstriping cars with the
legendary Von Dutch in Lynwood, California, in the early
1950s. Jeffries pinstriping lead to custom painting, and then
to custom fabrication.
started his craft in Lynwood before moving to Sunset Blvd,
then to his long-time shop on Cahuenga Blvd in North
Hollywood. Jeffries fabricated some of the most innovative
custom cars and hot rods of all time. Jeffries painted the
infamous words “Little Bastard” on the tail section of
actor James Deans Porsche. Other stars that would visit his
shop included Gary Cooper, Steve McQueen, James Garner and Jay
first major success was in the 1964 Grand National Roadster
Show with his asymmetrically styled Mantaray, which featured a
Maserati Grand Prix chassis and a Cobra engine. Other cars
from the Jeffries stable include the “Monkeemobile”, the
original Green Hornet’s “Black Beauty”, James Bonds’
“MoonBuggy” from Diamonds Are Forever, and the 35 foot
long 12 wheel “Landmaster” built for the movie Damnation
was also enamored with the Indianapolis 500, where he crewed
for many years for the legendary AJ Foyt. Jeffries also
painted many of the Indy 500 entries, and in fact one year
painted 22 of the 33 starters in the field.
in his career, Jeffries was involved in motion picture
production, not only from a vehicle construction standpoint,
but also as a stunt driver and stunt producer. Some of the
movies he was involved in included “What’s Up Doc?”,
“The Blues Brothers”, “Honky Tonk Freeway”, “Roger
Rabbit”, “Romancing The Stone” and “Die Hard: With
his semi-retired years, Jeffries could occasionally be found
as a special guest at car shows across the country, but his
passion was to be at his shop five days a week restoring his
personal car collection and meeting with old friends.
Jeffries was born on February 25, 1933, and is survived by his
sister Evonne and his son Kevin Dean Jeffries of Lake Elsinore.
Those close to Jeffries know that he is now reunited with the
love of his life, his beloved Row, who preceded him in death
by 4 years.
private family burial will be held, and a Celebration Of Life
with Jeffries’ friends is on the drawing board for late May.
Details will be posted at www.DeanJeffries.com
Norm Grabowski Passed
12, 2012 - Hot Rod Legend
and Hero Norm Grabowski passed away this morning.
(Feb. 5, 1933 - Oct. 12,
2012) Norm spent over 50 years of living in the world of hot
rods with a few acting jobs along the way.
Norm is the guy
who built the Kookie Kar used in film and television. (T
bucket used on the show 77 Sunset Strip). The car was owned
and driven in the show by the character Kookie who was played
by Edd Byrnes.
Norm became famous as a
result of this car.
Famed Detroit Customizer Larry Alexander
Alexander, who with his brother Mike ran the famed Alexander
Brothers car customizing shop in Detroit, died Wednesday, Aug.
25. He was 79 years old.
brothers created dozens of stylized and concept vehicles in
the 1950s and '60s--for automakers and private customers--that
were featured at auto shows and on the covers of national
Among them was
the Dodge Deora truck, which won the coveted Ridler Award at
the 1967 Detroit Autorama--one of three Ridlers won by Larry
and Mike Alexander. The Deora was a model for one of the
original Hot Wheels cars released in 1968.
cars from the Alexander Brothers include:
-- The Silver
Sapphire, a 1932 Ford Coupe for Clarence Catallo, which was
pictured on the cover of "Little Deuce Coupe" by the
Grasshopper, a 1931 Ford Model A pickup.
Victorian, a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria for Sy Gregorich.
Venturian, a 1956 Chevrolet for Bobby Massaron that won the
brothers their first Ridler Award in 1965.
-- The Alexa,
a 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback.
-- Top Banana,
a 1923 Ford Model T that won the brothers their third Ridler
award in 1969.
brothers learned their auto bodywork skills in trade school in
the mid 1950s and began working in their father's garage. The
business grew quickly and in 1957 the duo opened the original
Alexander Brothers Custom Shop in Detroit, one of three
locations the business would be based at during its history.
Alexander left the business in 1968 to work as a metal model
maker at Ford Motor Co. The business closed in 1969 when the
building on Schoolcraft Road in Detroit was razed to make way
for freeway expansion. Mike Alexander went to work for Heinz
Prechter at American Sunroof Corp.
scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28., in Westland, Mich.
For more on
the Alexander Brothers, go to www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Alexander_Brothers.
(February 18, 1948 - October 8, 2008)
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in June 2000.
Designed and built many cars in his career, his latest being
the Voodoo Spider and Vampyre, that are on display here in the
2010 Barry Lobeck
2009 Larry Watson
2008 John Butera
2008 Boyd Coddington
2008 Dick Dean
2004 Neil Emory
2001 Ed 'Big Daddy" Roth
1999 Manuel Arteche
1998 Bill Cushenbery
1996 Joe Wilhelm
1967 Sam Barris