Weird Car Of The Day: 1963 Jeffries Mantaray Custom
When the name Dean Jeffries comes up during automotive conversations, most car enthusiasts instinctively nod in agreement, recognizing him as a true connoisseur of stylish customizations, vibrant flames, and meticulous pinstripes. Indeed, these were Jeffries’s specialties when he emerged as a significant figure in the custom car scene during the 1950s.
In 1963, Jeffries created his most iconic automobile, known as the Mantaray. Using components from the chassis of a prewar Maserati Grand Prix car acquired from his father-in-law, Jeffries assembled the Mantaray’s body from 86 individual pieces of sheet aluminum, skillfully welding them onto a complex arrangement of steel tubes.
This single-seater masterpiece featured a Plexiglas bubbletop, handcrafted by Jeffries using a tube to blow air into molten plastic until it reached the desired size. Powering the Mantaray was a Ford V-8 with Cobra valve covers, paired with a 4-speed transmission.
Upon completion, the dazzling car made its debut at the Oakland show on February 14, 1964, where Jeffries clinched the first-place prize of $10,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe.