Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Reutter | Customized by Dean Jeffries
Original Owner (acquired new in 1956)Dean Jeffries, Los Angeles, California (acquired from the above circa 1957)Albert Nussbaum, Buffalo, New York (acquired from the above in 1962)Randy Toole, Orlando, Florida (acquired in 1968)Sandy Hunter, Atlanta, Georgia (acquired from the above in 1969)Margaret “Peggy” Daole, Atlanta, Georgia (acquired from the above in 1971)Jack Walter, Roswell, Georgia (acquired from the above in 1971)
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 2011Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 2016
The late Dean Jeffries rivals luminaries like George Barris as one of the most innovative and mechanically skilled customizers of all time. Jeffries’ creations include the asymmetric, Cobra V-8-powered Mantaray built on a prewar Maserati Grand Prix chassis; TV’s Monkeemobile; the Chrysler Imperial Black Beauty from TV’s The Green Hornet; the giant Landmaster from the film Damnation Alley; and dozens of Kyote dune buggies. A prolific and creative painter – among the first to master metalflake – and a talented pinstriper, Jeffries lettered the iconic “Little Bastard” inscription on James Dean’s racing Porsche 550 Spyder, and he painted Indy 500 roadsters for the top drivers of the era. Jeffries counted A.J. Foyt, Carroll Shelby, Lance Reventlow, and Steve McQueen among his close friends.
A sought-after Hollywood stuntman, Jeffries’ intuitive fabrication skills and keen understanding of machinery allowed him to attempt impossible feats and helped make him a legend – particularly after working on the film Honky Tonk Freeway, in which he executed a 110-foot, 100 mph jump in a box truck. Jeffries broke his back performing the stunt, but strapped on a self-made brace and continued to work on the film.
Jeffries owned a mildly customized Porsche 356 A coupe, and around 1957 he managed to trade it outright for this rare 1500 GS Carrera. It received the full Jeffries treatment at George Barris’ shop, where Dean worked, with frenched headlights and taillights, a pair of Mercedes-Benz 300SL-like roof vents by Bill Hines, and an interior by Eddie Martinez. The Four Cam’s surfaces were enhanced with engine-turned aluminum, and a custom tool pouch and spare tire cover were created. Jeffries finished the coupe in custom silver pearl paint, and later repainted it in pearlescent gold. The sleek custom Carrera won more than 30 trophies, and the acclaim it earned helped launch Jeffries’ career.
Jeffries sold the Carrera in 1962 to Albert Nussbaum, who was later identified as a notorious criminal on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. Mr. Nussbaum took the Carrera to his sister’s home in Florida. After his capture and imprisonment, the car remained there for a number of years before passing among several more owners, one of whom replaced the original 1500 GS four-cam engine with a standard Porsche OHV flat-four. In 1971, Jack Walter, then 19 years old and a resident of Georgia, purchased the Carrera.
A huge fan of Dean Jeffries, Mr. Walter has owned the car for the past 45 years, and in 2008 he embarked on a comprehensive restoration, consulting with Jeffries along the way. He took the partly restored Custom Carrera to the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance, where Jeffries was able to see his classic again. The great customizer, then in his late 70s, was moved to tears and pronounced the car “Bitchin’.”
Since then, Mr. Walter has installed a 1600 GS four-cam plain bearing engine that had been rebuilt in Italy by Giuseppe Lucchini’s mechanics. Now, after an eight-year, well-documented, rotisserie restoration on which Dean Jeffries himself served as a consultant, the Porsche Carrera is complete with all of Jeffries’ original engine-turned components in the doorjambs and under the hood. Looking just as it did in 1957, the finished car was shown again at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2016.
This car has long been an object of fascination and has been featured in many significant publications. Accompanying the sale is a selection of magazines from 1959 to 2011 that featured the Porsche. In addition, the sale includes a spare Autopulse fuel pump and the stock heater boxes.
Opportunities for the new owner include the chance to show this historic Custom at major hot rod events, Porsche Club of America gatherings and top-flight concours d’elegance. Four-cam Carreras are the ultimate expression of the legendary Porsche 356 model, and this coupe – one of the most original Customs ever built, with the heart of a race car – is a tribute to the creative genius of Dean Jeffries.