Asymmetry, bubble canopy and race slicks. Cool.

Mantaray by Dean Jeffries


With the Mantaray Jeffries cemented his place in Hot Rod history
The holy grail of the hot rod generation was to be able to fabricate beautiful car bodies in steel and other materials. Many of the kids who became Hot Rod building legends had honed their fabrication skills in the hot house of the WW2 American economy. The war ended and charged-up servicemen came home and wanted the buzz of driving fast cars. It was boom time in America and everything seemed possible.

Dean Jeffries was one of this generation of brilliant mechanics and fabricators with an audacious enough vision to dream with his eyes wide open. Having worked extensively with AC Cobra creator Carroll Shelby, he began to build the Mantaray in 1963 in response to a call for submissions to a high prestige competition that had been posted by a promoter called Al Slonaker.

The single piece, canopied body of Mantaray set a new Roddin' precedent

The young Californian fused two old Maserati single seater chassis he had acquired and welded them together. The suspension, brakes, and steering were kept on for the finished article but apart from four Weber carburetors, the car was, he told Street Rodder Magazine recently “true-blue American, right down to the 15-inch magnesium-cast Halibrand wheels and the bred-for-Indianapolis Goodyear Blue Streak Speedway Special tires.”

Unsurprisingly, the gorgeously curvacious body Jeffries created (which was, apparently, hand-built from no less than 86 sheets of metal), was enough to win him the ‘contest of fame’. This not only won him a prize of $10,000 and a trip to Europe, but also changed the way the world thought about Hot Rods.

This is what we call truly creative car culture. And we love it.

Images via Street Rodder Magazine

Asymmetry, bubble canopy and race slicks. Cool.