Dean Jeffries Painter to Builder.
True creatives tend to start out in one discipline and then discover other modes of creativity to extend their creative voice. Dean Jeffries is one of those people. He started out with no formal training. Pinstriping, is an art he developed during his military deployment in Germany. This evolved over time and Dean became an Artist, sculptor, builder and even a stunt driver, but it was all things cars, at the core.
Dean happened to live across the street from Indy car driver Troy Ruttman. This relationship helped Dean break into painting Indy cars. By the early 60’s Dean was responsible for most of the Indy car designs.
The 1950’s gave birth to the “Kustom Kulture” movement, undoubtably a movement which had a great impact on the car culture. Dean was at the heart of the movement. Most know Dean from the iconic pinstriping of “Little Bastard” on the back of James Deans Porsche 550. Jeffries was also the infamous painter that gave Carrol Shelby the illusion of having a fleet of Shelby Cobras. Fact is, it was one car that Dean Jeffries painted different colors. Chuck Beck told me “every time it was given to the media it was a different color. The press guys would say I tested the red one, another reporter said I tested the silver one”, and so on.
The list of first, for Dean’s career, is extensive and well worth discovering. From metal flake paint to building with George Barris, it just seems to never end.
My introduction to a Dean Jeffries piece of art first hand was through my friend Jack Walker. I met Jack years ago at a little monthly car show in the north Atlanta area called Caffeine and Octane. It was here, that I have met so many wonderful car owners, enthusiast and even a legend, Chuck Beck. Caffeine and Octane has grown into the largest monthly car show in the country. The NBC Sports Network features the car show in prime time on Thursday nights.
However, it took several years to see the car, others told me about it but Jack said it was not together yet, wait until the engine is in. Through my conversations with Jack I learned he bought the car back in 1971 and has been restoring it all these years. Sometimes an event has to happen, to get it over the finish line. For Jack and the Dean Jeffries 1956 356 Porsche it was an invitation to show the car at the Amelia Island Concours. I was fortunate to be able to photograph the engine before it was put back into the car. This image was made in Jack’s garage on a cool February evening.
Finally, on a warm July night I was able to spend many hours creating my own interpretation of the famed Dean Jeffries 1956 Porsche 356A GS Carrera Coupe. It was a wonderful night. Here is my portfolio of images of this Iconic treasure. I am not the first to photograph this car. It has photographed many times by different photographers, but what I love about photography is each photographer can bring their own creative eye to the same project, but the results will be vastly different. I hope you will enjoy my visual journey into the Jeffries Porsche and that you will see something new that you have not seen before.