Famous Designer Buggy: Mantaray II Kyote

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I’m sure some of you recognize the name Dean Jeffries as a famous automobile customizer of the 1960s through the 2000s. In addition to producing one-offs, such as the Mantaray, the Monkeemobile, and the Green Hornet, Jeffries also designed and produced a series of dune buggies based on similar styling called Kyotes. This example is listed for sale here on craigslist for $2,500 and is now located in Omaha, Nebraska at a dealership after an estate sale. Thanks to Barn Finds reader T.J. for sending in this unusual find!

I was able to find some information about the Kyotes in general, including two others listed previously by Barn Finds here and here. One of those articles suggests that there were only 150 made in total, however, that number may not include illegal copies (at least one company made some) and licensed copies (at least one east coast company and two in the UK). What we do know is that the design was featured in a Monkees movie and some reports indicate that the Kyote was actually designed for that role. Unfortunately, there is no history known of this particular car, although the perfectly suited slot mags and general level of construction indicate that at one point the car was completed well.

Another reason the design is famous is its immortalization by MPC models! Wouldn’t it be cool to restore the car as a duplicate of the model? Ironically, it appears at one time the buggy was that color anyway; I’m not sure whether it’s paint or gel coat. I’d hate to give up those cool slot wheels, though. Maybe come up with a set of Cragar S/S wheels for show purposes?

It’s a good thing there wasn’t much interior trim on these dune buggies, and of course, you are spared opening doors, latches, windows, and a top as well. So restoration should be straightforward, right? Since the VW Beetle chassis needs some work anyway and we have no historical significance keeping one from doing so, I would replace the pan chassis with either a reproduction or one of the tube chassis that are available that mimic the VW dimensions.

One great thing about Beetle engines is that there are many available and you can really increase the original horsepower levels. There are also many suppliers that will sell you chrome “bling” items to brighten up the exposed engine. Here’s one to look at from our own archives for inspiration! So what do you think about this cool designer find?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. CadmanlsMember

    Not a bad deal, some states might be a little hesitant to work with no title issue. Pans aren’t that tough to replace, bug engines aren’t quite as plentiful as they were but shouldn’t be a problem. Someone will end up with a nice buggy when it’s back together.

    Like 4
  2. George

    And it’s gone. How much were they asking?

    Like 3
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie PalmerAuthor

      $2,500. Thanks, I added that into the post!

      Like 2
  3. James PickardMember

    Please stop reposting.

    Like 2
  4. TPK

    Post deleted

    Like 0
  5. CarbuzzardMember

    I think someone(s) will have a lot of fun with this, restoring it a driving it. It’s a great design from a Famous Designer. The wheels are perfectly appropriate.

    And for $2,500? A steal.

    Like 0
  6. Steve T.

    Since your resurrecting the dead already, slap a Corvair engine in it and call up Steve McQueen!

    Like 0
  7. Brian

    The buggy has found a home with Adventure Studios. Watch for the rebuild on YouTube this summer.

    Like 0

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