This year's Carlisle GM Nationals hosts a vast array of displays, guests and special reunions, but no one piece of automotive history may have more of a crazy back-story than this particular Monkeemobile. While this machine is coming to Carlisle from New Jersey, its history is much more than just a 3-hour drive between the Garden State and America's Automotive Hometown, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
It's original too! The Monkeemobile at Carlisle in June was indeed used on the TV program the Monkees, which aired on NBC between 1966 and 1968. The Monkeemobile was created by the late Dean Jeffries and is based on a GTO, fitting perfectly with that 50th Anniversary theme at Carlisle this season. Two cars were used during the two-year run of the show and for the band’s promotion, but this Monkeemobile is car number one!
But it's not so much that this machine is unique because of the band and its use on the program, it's unique because it's been around the world, was once painted pink, owned by a drug lord and even used as his hotel shuttle...and that's no Monkeeing around!
The journey of the car started in Australia, when it was left there after the Monkees wrapped up a concert tour. From Australia, the car eventually made its way to Puerto Rico after being purchased by a drug lord to use at his luxury hotel. Possibly unaware of the true history of the car, it was then painted pink and used to transport hotel patrons in style. As is the case with most drug lords, this one got arrested and his hotel and properties were seized by the government in the early '90s. As part of the seizure, all assets were auctioned off, including the Monkeemobile. The current owners purchased the car at that auction and brought it back to the states where it has lived ever since.
After some restoration, the Monkeemobile was returned to its original condition. Since then, it has been making the rounds at select car shows and has even been displayed at the famed Peterson Automotive Museum in California.
With this piece of American History coming to Carlisle in June and available for all to see, enthusiasts are encouraged to plan their visit early. Season passes, weekend passes and various types of event registration are available today, including swap meet, car corral and the showfield itself. Additional event information may be found via the Carlisle Events web page or by calling 717-243-7855.