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Folks Of Interest Barris Vs. Jeffries

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Mar 27, 2009.

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  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,535

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

  2. Dooley
    Joined: May 29, 2002
    Posts: 2,196

    from Buffalo NY

    Sounds like a book I need to get.
    There have been a few people here who have met Dean, and have written about his dislike for Barris.

    I read in Rod and Custom, in an article about Dean, they refered to his venom like repsonse as Nirtous Fed Twin Blown Anger, or something to that effect, that is what I imagine hearing him would sound like.
  3. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 9,022

    1. 60s Show Rods

    I was at Barris the day and saw the book it's really cool... Brett (George's son) was a bit angry that a few people aside from Dean talked bad about George.. this stuff has been known for a long time we all know that...we know the shenanigans that he got into..but being printed in a book bummed him out,,
  4. Old-Soul
    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,297


    I might just have to pick that one up, thanks for the heads up Ryan. It's always cool to get a glimpse into the lives of 'the big ones'
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  5. lanny haas
    Joined: Nov 1, 2008
    Posts: 556

    lanny haas
    from Phoenix AZ

    This is a great read....Dean holds the rights to Von Dutch's flying eyeball, something I didnt know....
  6. Capitan Insano
    Joined: Apr 29, 2007
    Posts: 289

    Capitan Insano

    Its a good book. I talked to him at Aero Books in Burbank and he was real cool.
  7. KK Hickey Designs
    Joined: Sep 10, 2008
    Posts: 277

    KK Hickey Designs

    I've heard about this rivalry since I was a little kid and my Uncles and Dad would argue back and forth over who designed the models they had sitting on a shelf at my Grandparents house and I've obviously heard it for years afterward about Barris doing this to other builders. his Wikipedia entry actually has a more detailed write up on this. I've always felt the worst for Jeffries though, he just seems like a really good guy who got the shaft from his boss at the time.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 6,928


    Rivalry aside, the legendary kustom guys really have a lot to offer. Preservation and tradition being more open makes these books and stories an invaluable resource. And these guys did things the "hard way" in today's vernacular. If I'm not mistaken Jeffries is one of the builders that would create a skeleton of the car being built and then skin it with steel or aluminum way back in the day. Seems simple now but decades ago it was almost ground breaking to some. Looks like a book I want. Thanks for the insight Ryan.
  9. Dago Red
    Joined: May 22, 2002
    Posts: 314

    Dago Red
    from Delaware

    In one of the Barris books, he writes about the 1958 fire, and it seems like he blames Jeffries for some of the damage. Dean was nearby when it broke out and managed to get his girlfriend's car out of the shop, but opening the door gave the fire a lot more oxygen. He doesn't really come right out and say it's Dean's fault, but it's just under the surface.
  10. Looks like a must read for me
  11. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,588

    from SUGAR CITY

    Yeah, I'm putting on the list. My money is on Jeffries even thought I have much to learn.
  12. Van Dutch
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 248

    Van Dutch

    One a better designer and builder, one a more consumate (self) promoter. Both good for the hobby and custom industry, I guess.

    Funny, growing up, seeing and readiing about the legendary TV cars, it was always Barris, Barris, Barris. I even had all the Barris trading cards. Wish I still had them. Anyone remember them? They were lke oversized baseball cards...

    anyway, sounds like Barris had the promotional thing going, and Jeffries was the unsung genius behind a lot of it...isn't that the way it usually goes between creative people and management when it comes to intellectual property-type stuff? Wonder if Barris had any contract for employees stating all designs belonged to him?

    Absolutley going to buy a copy. Wonder if Dean Jeffries gets a royalty on the 40 beans per?
  13. plywude
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 693

    from manteca ca

    In SoCal in th 60's I met Tex Collins/ Cal Automotive, the man I think started the glass T bodies and Tex told me that he had done the body and frame for the Monster coach but Barris took credit for the whole thing I guess if you're paying the bill, then you're building the car and should get the credit for it.?...........:D
  14. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755


    If there is one unfortunate thing I have learned being into hot rods, it is that there is more cat fighting drama to be found up and down the scales than at a sorority house on cleaning day. Sometimes it is comical and humorous, and then, well, sometimes is is just kind of sad and pathetic.

    This seems like a cool book and hope it has a lot more to offer than just the bickering. I'll check it out and maybe pick up a copy.
  15. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,628

    Tech Editor


    If we want these cars to be taken seriously, we need to take their History seriously.

    And that means at least to be accurate about who built them.

    As far as Barris...
    I wasn't there either, but there seems to be an awful lot of smoke for there to be no fire.
  16. whamoman
    Joined: Jun 23, 2008
    Posts: 152

    from USA

    In 1969 I left Wichita Kansas for California. Not having any idea what I was going to do when i got there. I had some experience working for a time with Starbird in Wichita but I knew California was where I would really get professional experience. I first went to Barris' shop and asked for a job. I won't go into what happened but I left there determined never to offer my services to George Barris again as long as I lived, and I never have. I went directly from there to Dean Jeffries and went to work for him the next day. I have great memories of those days with Dean. I never understood what a time in history I was experiencing. Dean introduced me to Steve McQueen and Jim Garner at Ascot Race Park where Dean pitted his Porsche powered 'Kyote' dune buggy next to Steve. Every Tuesday night I had that event to look forward to. I met so many legends through Dean, every day different celebrities would just come strolling through the shop. I was blown away and Dean could care less! I learned a great deal from Dean during the time I spent with him. I was in my early 20's and wanted to learn everything I could from him. He called me the 'Babbling Brook' because I was constantly asking him questions. I loved working with him. I had the opportunity to be involved in some amazing projects during my time with him.
    I just wanted to share a little bit of history and say 'thanks Dean for giving me one of the greatest experiences of my career.
    Driver50x likes this.
  17. McKee
    Joined: Jul 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,195


    How about a list of the cars that Jeffries built ( including pics ) and a list of the cars that Barris built,......a list of the cars that Barris "claims" that he built might be too long!
  18. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,628

    Tech Editor

    Thats not a bad idea.

    I'd like to believe George built something.
    But personally I'm to the point that I wont believe it untill I see reasonable proof...:D
  19. Thirdyfivepickup
    Joined: Nov 5, 2002
    Posts: 6,084


    Jeffries is someone I'd like to meet one day. The Tardel's are up there too. (as well as Unkl Ian....
  20. Thanks for the heads up Ryan... My copy is ordered. If there's one picture of the Mantaray I havent seen it is worth the cover price.
  21. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,206

    Stu D Baker
    from Illinois

    You were fortunate to have had that experience with Dean. Thanks for sharing. Stu
  22. texasred
    Joined: Dec 3, 2008
    Posts: 855

    from Houston

    HINES built more cars than both of em
  23. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,221

    from DFW USA

    No matter what you think of the guy, Barris has done a lot of great things for our hobby. He took innovative photographs of custom cars and documented how to do custom work in magazines. He held and competed at shows to spread the word of customizing to thousands of people - us. His shop was the springboard for a lot of people that we all admire, including Jeffries. So take it easy on old George, he isn't all bad.

    Oh yeah, also wanted to add that Jeffries is a badass... my dad informed me of the whole Barris/Jeffries debacle when I was a kid while watching the Monkees. :D
  24. plodge55aqua
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,711

    from Alberta

    I seem to remember Dean Jefferies name on the MPC Monkey Mobile Model Box.. But I also remember Seeing the Monkey Mobile, Or one of those with a Barris Badge..

    I dont Know either one ..
  25. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,314

    frank spittle

    I have known about Jeffries talents since purchasing a copy of a '64 Hot Rod magazine featuring the Mantaray on the cover, the same shot I believe that is used on the cover of his book. Most everyone knows he also built the Monkeemobiles in '66 but did you know he did the custom paint and bodywork on the '64 Dodge Chargers, the first Funny Cars, now featured in the current issue (May) of Hot Rod Magazine?

    As far as Barris getting credit for what came out of his shop...well that is only natural. Raymond Lowey has always got the credit for designing the '53 Studebaker Coupe but he didn't. His design firm did but designer employee Bob Bourke was the guy with the pen in his hand. As far as raw talent goes Jeffries has the most in my opinion. But no venom should should be spewed at Barris either. He is definitely the guy who put customs in the non automotive media and increased interest worldwide.

    I met Jeffries and Barris at Amelia Island a few weeks ago. I got Jeffries to sign his book and my copy of Hot Rod. Both are super nice guys and enjoying the spotlight, especially Jeffries who has not had nearly his due.

    I wish I had the ability to post a picture of my ''64 Dodge Charger. I believe it is some of his best work. But then I guess I would.
  26. Tom davison
    Joined: Mar 15, 2008
    Posts: 4,523

    Tom davison
    from Phoenix AZ

    I had one encounter with Barris.

    In the fall of 1963, I had been contracted to tow the SC210 "Dobie Gillis Car" back to Barris' shop following its midwestern car show tour. This was the former Chrisman '34 Ford with '40 Ford hood/competition coupe from the 50's which George had remade into a showcar and which has been recently restored to original. On the way to LA, I had a flat tire on the trailer and had to buy a new tire for 25 bucks.

    So I arrived at the Riverside Drive shop, George showed me where to back it in (right next to the original Lincoln Futura). I unhooked the trailer and went inside to find George to get the $25 he owed me for the tire. I didn't exactly ask, I said to him, " I had a flat on the way out and had to buy a tire for $25". He looked at me for a second, turned his back to me and walked away! I took that as "tough cookies, kid". Being only nineteen at the time, I was too intimidated by the man to do anything other than leave without my $25 (which was big bucks to a nineteen year old in those days).

    At the old Pan Pacific Auditorium during set-up for the "Winternationals" show in Jan of '65, I watched him drive the just-completed "Villa Riviera" into the middle of the show, plug in a buffer and start compounding the car right in the show. That's right, slinging excess rubbing compound in the direction of other nearby showcars. Just complete arrogance and self-absorption.

    And thanks to Denise's recent coverage of her group's trip to Jeffries' shop, I learned just what a great guy Dean is.....the exact opposite of that other guy. Style-wise, Dean's Porsche was just about the most tasteful custom of the mid-50's, going counter to every trend of that time (which he repeated with the Mantaray a decade later).
  27. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    from Sacramento

    I agree. It's a shame that all his efforts to make sure that people will remember him, have often only served to diminish his reputation. He HAS done so many great things in his career that if he just kept to the real facts, he would still be a superstar. There's just no need to embellish.
  28. Jeem
    Joined: Sep 12, 2002
    Posts: 5,885

    Alliance Vendor

    Who built the MOST cars is UNIMPORTANT.

    I'd take the MantaRay or that little 356 ANY DAY over any of Hine's or G. Barris' customs.
    ...and that's not a comment on their abilities, just style.
  29. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,096

    from Nebraska

    That is certainly a day I will never forget....

    I've been interested in Dean Jeffries and his work for a while now...
    About a month before our trip to the 2009 Grand National Roadster Show, I met a guy from the Omaha area named Jerry Wymore. I had contacted him to look at a '32 chassis he had for sale. A couple weeks before that, I mentioned a stop at Dean's shop, to the group I was going to California with (Denise, Megan, TJ, and Lisa). Well, Jerry happens to be friends with Dean and we talked some about their history and some of Dean's work. That made me want to meet him even more! I said something to Jerry about visiting Dean and he just told me to try calling his shop. It was as simple as looking his shop and number up on the web and giving him a call.
    I called him on a Friday morning and left a message. He called back that afternoon and was more than happy to have us stop by and visit. What a great guy! He told me to just call ahead and he'd have the gate open for us.

    Fast forward to our visit on the Friday during the GNRS. We stopped at Dean's shop and he was there by himself. He had just received his advance copy of the book about him and was starting to read through it... how cool. He showed us around his office and shop and told some stories about what he's done. We were all amazed by the variety of cars, trucks, race cars, etc. that he's built -- a true craftsman!

    Dean had also recently set up a dial-up internet connection at his shop and had a laptop sitting there. Denise helped him get on the internet and we showed him the recent Jalopy Journal entries about him and cars he had built (Mantaray and Porsche). We also printed off the articles for him to read at a later time, assuming he wasn't going to use the internet much :). He seemed rather surprised that there was information out there on the web about him and that people were really that interested in his history. Pretty humble guy :cool:
    While they were at it, Denise set up a HAMB account for Dean, but I see he hasn't used it at all... although I'm not surprised. The whole internet thing seemed a bit overwhelming to him. He said a few times that he works with his hands and builds things, that's what he always has done.

    Here are a few photos from our visit that day:
    (I've posted them a few times, but this seems like the perfect place to have them)





    He thumbed through his new book to and showed us some of the photos, etc.

    He actually built a number of Indy cars


    Dean was heavily involved with the original GT40s and recently put this roadster together. I believe most of the parts he used were left over from when the originals were built in the '60s!


    Another car he built

    Dean explained to us -- When you have your photo taken by a car, you should never stand in front of it. The car should be the center of attention... so we took photos just that way :D
    (photo credit: Denise)

    Sorry if that was a bit long-winded. I just wanted to add a little more about Dean.
    He's built and done way more than I ever imagined... sort of an 'un-sung hero'. It's great to see a book about him!

    Driver50x likes this.
  30. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,221

    from DFW USA

    Cool post Malcolm, thanks. I sure wish he'd use that Hamb account. :D
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