Dean Jeffries' 1956 Porsche
1956 Porsche 356 Carrera owned and restyled by Dean Jeffries of Lynwood, California. Dean bought the car in 1957, right after he had sold his 1947 Mercury Convertible. At the time Jeffries was a talented custom painter and striper, and he was working out of the Barris Kustoms shop in Lynwood. As he wanted to expand his talents into customizing, he began restyling the Porsche at the Barris shop right after he got it. The brand new car was gutted inside and out, and Dean stripped the paint off down to the bare metal. During the construction, the car was almost lost in the 1957 Barris shop fire.
- 1 The Nose Job
- 2 De-Chromed
- 3 Custom Upholstery by Eddie Martinez
- 4 RS
- 5 Silver Pearlescent Paint Job
- 6 Awards
- 7 The Satin Spyder
- 8 Sold to Albert Nussbaum
- 9 Sold to Randy Toole
- 10 Sold to Sandy Hunter
- 11 Sold to Peggy Daloe
- 12 Sold to Jack Walter
- 13 Jack Restores the Car
- 14 Jack Restores the Car Again
- 15 The Restored Version Debuts at the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
- 16 Jack Sells the Car
- 17 Magazine Features and Appearances
- 18 References
The Nose Job
According to old magazine articles about the car, Jeffries built a wire basket template with the contours he wanted for the nose and took the basket to Hollywood sheet-metal wizard Jack Sutton. Jack rolled a new front end out of a single sheet of aluminum. The new nose was then welded on to the original nose seam. In 2017 current owner Jack Walter told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that it wasn't an accurate statement that Jack Sutton formed the nose on the Porsche from aluminum; "That myth has been perpetrated by a magazine article back in the 1950s. The fender extensions were formed out of steel and leaded in place by Bill Hines." Jack provided photos from the restoration of the car, showing the seams where the fenders were cut back and the frenched extensions added. These modifications extended the car by 8 inches. A set of Lucas Flamethrower units were installed directly beneath the headlights. Both bumpers were discarded and the front and rear pans were rolled under the car. The underpan was also and re-coated with sound insulation. Ted Long worked at Barris while the car was being built. In 2016 he told Jack Walter that just about everyone who was working there at the time chipped in on the car, except him. He was only 17 and Dean wouldn't let him anywhere near it. "When the Jefferies Porsche built George was out of town, Jeff designed it and Curly did the metalwork, Jeff painted it," Ted told Kustomrama in 2017. "There was a lot of lead work done on the car and I’m pretty sure most of it was done by Bill," Walter told Kustomrama in 2020, referring to Bill Hines. The Rodder's Journal published a couple of photos of Hines as he is adding roof vents in the car.
Jeffries made a pair of custom taillights for the car. These were made from clear plastic that he dyed red. The car was completely de-chromed, except for a custom scoop he made on the rear deck grille. The rear grille was decorated with cold rolled quarter-inch steel rods. As a final touch, a set of functional roof vents, almost similar to the ones found on the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing were made for the car. Jeffries' Porsche had a set of Maltese Cross torsion bar covers installed. Jeffries made aluminum panels to cover all the surfaces exposed when opening the doors, using a drill press. He installed thick sound insulation between the engine and firewall and covered it up with aluminum panels.
Custom Upholstery by Eddie Martinez
Eddie Martinez re-upholstered the car with black and silver pleated goat skin. Each pleat was filled individually with foam rubber. A rear shelf was constructed and a custom headliner installed. The dashboard was decorated with push-pull knobs made by Jeffries himself. These were hex-head bolts that he trimmed in lathe and chromed. The front trunk was carpeted and the hood hinges and fuel tank straps were chromed. The inside of the deck lid was polished and chromed tools were fit in a custom case.
Silver Pearlescent Paint Job
Once the bodywork was done, the car was painted a silver pearlescent featuring crushed fish scale. The paint costed approximately $100 per gallon. The dashboard was finished in silver leaf with corners highlighted in black. Clear lacquer was used for protection. The car was built during a time span of seven months and cost about $8000 to complete.
Once completed, the Carrera gathered 30 first place trophies in car shows throughout the whole country. The silver pearlescent version of the car was advertised for sale in Road & Track September 1960. By then Jeffries had established his own shop named Jeffries Studio of Style at 5807 Sunset Blvd., in Hollywood, California. Valued at $9000, the asking price was $6000 cash.
The Satin Spyder
The Porsche was not sold, so Jeffries' decided to repaint it with 50 coats of his own special Pearl Gold Paint. The gold version was featured in Customs Illustrated May 1963 as "The Satin Spyder."
Sold to Albert Nussbaum
In 1962 Dean eventually sold the Porsche to Albert Nussbaum. Nussbaum, a notorious bank-robber, had a partner named Bobby Wilcoxson who bought the Aztec at the same time. About two weeks later, the FBI showed up at Jeffries shop asking about the guy who bought his car. To Jeffries surprise, Nussbaum and Wilcoxson were bank robbers on the FBI's ten most wanted list, and they had been partners on a couple of bank heists in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The FBI traced Nussbaum to Florida through the Carrera's registration. A few weeks later, the FBI surrounded his sisters' beach bungalow. Jeffries' old Porsche was parked in the driveway. As they entered the house, Nussbaum was able to sneak out and escape. After that, the Porsche remained parked in that driveway for several years while Nussbaum was tracked down and put on trial.
Sold to Randy Toole
In 1968, Jeffries' Carrera was advertised for sale in the local Orlando newspaper. Local kid Randy Toole was 15 years old at the time, and his father, who also owned a 1966 Porsche 912 bought the car for $1000.00. When Randy turned 16, he bought the car from his dad. Before buying the car, Randy's father had swapped the original Carrera 4 cam engine for a standard Porsche 1600 engine. While Randy owned the car it was painted twice. First a gold color, and then white with black steel wheels to mimic the Porsche German racing colors at the time.
Sold to Sandy Hunter
In 1971 Randy traded the car in at Contemporary Cars, the then Porsche Audi dealership in Orlando. After Randy traded it in, a mechanic named Sandy Hunter bought the car later on the same year. He brought it to Atlanta, Georgia where he managed to damage the front end by crashing it into the back end of a Ford pickup truck.
Sold to Peggy Daloe
Sandy sold the car to, Peggy Daole, one of his customers who had been struggling to keep a Fiat 124 Spyder alive and running. Peggy decided to buy the car when Sandy needed to raise some money to pay off a gambling debt. The next weekend Peggy went to visit her parents in one of the north Atlanta suburbs. Jack Walter of Roswell, Georgia spotted the car in Daole's driveway. Peggy was the older sister of one of Jack's best friends, and he tried to buy the car from Peggy, but she refused to sell it.
Sold to Jack Walter
After buying the car, Peggy was trying to gather funds for a trip to Katmandu and Nepal. She called Jack and wondered if he was still interested in the car. He was, and bought it right away. Jack remembers that his dad thought he was nuts for buying the car. At the time, nobody knew it was Dean Jeffries' old personal custom. In the registration papers, it was listed as a "Sebring Coupe." Jack knew it came from Florida, so he thought the car had gone through some modifications locally. Jack had the nose repaired several months later and stumbled upon an ad in Autoweek from an enthusiast who was looking for magazine articles about a custom Porsche built by Dean Jeffries in the late 1950s. Jack sent along a picture of the Porsche and he got back a six page letter describing the car and a list of the magazines that the car had appeared in. The enthusiast was extremely excited about locating the actual Jeffries Porsche, and he had no doubt about the car's authenticity.
Jack Restores the Car
About the same time Jack visited a local sports car accessory store and one of the other customers recognized his Porsche. He had grown up near the Barris' shop and had seen the car being built. He told some of its history including some details that Jack was only able to confirm years later. Now that Jack had some idea of the car's origins, Ray Ringler of the local PCA was able to help by locating a copy of Rod & Custom October 1959 with the Porsche on the cover. A year later, a friend of Jack had bought a Porsche Spyder 550A. He knew a guy in Jacksonville who had some spare 4-cam engines, so Jack bought a 547/1 serial #90009 complete with the "Sebring" exhaust. A restoration of the car was completed in 1974. The paint on the car was an aircraft epoxy with too much hardener mixed in, and it started chipping around the edges of the doors and decklids as the time passed by.
Jack Restores the Car Again
33 years later, In 2007, Jack decided to restore the car back to the way it looked when it was featured on the cover of Rod & Custom October 1959. Mike Marcelic, owner of Eurocraft Classics, took care of the body and paint work while Jack rebuilt the suspension, brakes, engine and transmission. During the restoration, Jack bought another Dean Jeffries car, one of the original Kyote Dune Buggies. The buggy was in need of a restoration as well, but Jack thought it would be a neat car to display next to the Carrera. Glasurit were generous enough to donate the paint to restore it back to the silver pearlescent that it was painted in the late 1950s. Dean Jeffries was consulted and helped select the exact match for the proper silver. By April, 2010, the Carrera was back in silver again for the first time since 1961. Next up was the trim and interior phase of the restoration. Jack installed new brakes, tie rods, a Koni steering damper, dual master cylinder and trunk insulation. He cleaned up and reinstalled the Koni shocks, the headlights and horns, and rewired the lights. A fresh coat of Candy Apple Red was applied over the taillight lenses and the brake drums were polished. He managed to track down a good set of chrome wheels that he mounted a set of new Michelin tires on.
The Restored Version Debuts at the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
The restored version of the Porsche was unveiled in March of 2011 at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. At the show it was reunited with the Aztec custom car. Albert Nussbaum who bought the car from Dean Jeffries in 1962 was a notorious bank robber, and his partner in crime Bobby Wilcoxson bought the Barris Kustoms restyled Aztec at the same time as Albert.
Jack Sells the Car
In February of 2017 Jack advertised the car for sale on Petrolicious. The asking price was $765,000 USD. In August of 2018 he sold the car at the Bonhams Auction in Monterey, and it returned to the Los Angeles area. In December of 2018 Jack told Kustomrama that the new owner promised to preserve the car in its restored condition.
Magazine Features and Appearances
Custom Cars June 1959
Motor Trend June 1959
Custom Cars September 1959
Rod & Custom October 1959
Sportscar Graphic October 1959
Sportscar Graphic October 1959
Custom Cars May 1960
Road & Track September 1960
Customs Illustrated May 1963
Rod & Custom August 1990
- solaros1.smugmug.com - Dean Jeffries Custom Carrera
- Original Outlaw - Dean Jeffries Carrera Coupe - Starting my restoration project - 56 Carrera
- www.356registry.com - Original Outlaw - Dean Jeffries Carrera Coupe
- Coachbuilt - Dean Jeffries
- Motor Trend June 1959
- Jack Walter
- Ted Long
- Rod & Custom October 1959
- Sports Car Graphic October 1959
- Road & Track September 1960
- Customs Illustrated May 1963
- The HAMB - Top Custom
- The HAMB - The Aztec
- Randy Toole
- Jack Walter
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