They Crossed The Finish Line: Dean Jeffries
“Little Bastard” is certainly not the type of prose one would use to celebrate someone’s life. However, it was those two indecorous words that somehow became synonymous with one of Dean Jeffries’ most well-known works.
Jeffries was a custom car builder and painter of phenomenal talent. This talent was exhibited in such works as “The Manta Ray” from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’, The “Monkeemobile” for ‘The Monkees’ TV show and “Black Beauty” for ‘The Green Hornet’.
Jeffries was a legend of California car culture who began pinstriping cars in the early 1950s with the legendary Von Dutch in Lynwood, California. Jeffries’ pinstriping lead to custom painting, and then to custom fabrication.
James Dean wanted to personalize his Porsche 550 Spyder. Dean called upon George Barris to customize the Porsche. The name ‘Little Bastard’ was later painted on the car by master pinstriper, Dean Jeffries and Dean loved it.
Jeffries would paint and pinstripe the cars and helmets of race car drivers like Jim Rathmann, Parnelli Jones, and A. J. Foyt, eventually becoming Foyt’s paint and body man. In 1962, Dean Jeffries worked for famous race car designer and builder Carroll Shelby on the Cobra. One year, he would paint 22 of the 33 cars that started in the Indianapolis 500
He would go on to become one of the best custom car painters of the late 1950s and early 1960s. He developed his own paint and was an early pioneer of painting flames on cars.
On May 5, 2013, at 80 years old, Dean Jeffries made his transition forever painting eternity with his innate gift.