1953 Muntz Jet

Last updated on September 5, 2021

Today’s car is what appears to be a 1953 Muntz Jet.  The Muntz Jetis a two-doorhardtop  convertible built by the Muntz Car Company in the United States between approximately 1949 and 1954.  It is sometimes credited as the first personal luxury car.  Developed from the Kurtis Sports Car  (KSC) that was designed by Frank Kurtis , it was produced and marketed by Earl “Madman” Muntz.  The car was powered by one of two V8 engines, either a 160 hp Cadillac engine or a 160 hp Lincoln  engine, and it was equipped with either a General Motors Hydramatic  automatic transmission or a three-speed Borg-Warner manual transmission. The Jet was streamlined, featured numerous luxury appointments, and was equipped with safety features that were not standard on most cars of its day, including a padded dashboard and seat belts.  Great looking restoration.  Just Beautiful.

Thanks Al for sharing the Information, the great photos, and the Popular Science Magazine cover from February 1951 all below.  Thanks for riding along. Frank

Al Peña spotted this car at Ruby’s at Redondo Beach a couple of years ago.  Al has a soft spot in his heart for Earl “ Madman” Muntz. Not because he made an interesting car, featured here, but because he invented the 4-track cartridge and “ Blue Light” tape deck, also featured in this car. (These were similar to the cartridges you’d see in radio stations, but the tape speed was different and so was the track arrangement.)  One of Al’s brother’s high school buddies worked as an installer at the Muntz store that used to be on Hawthorne in Walteria. In 1967 he gave me copies of what today would be called bootlegs, the Monkees and the Doors. Four-tracks were soon supplanted by 8-tracks, invented by Bill Lear who also invented business class jets. The car had aluminum body panels, a removable fiberglass roof and would do 112 mph. Pretty good for a Korean-War era car. Muntz only made/sold about 400 cars before halting production in 1954. Muntz estimated he lost about $1000 on each car he sold due to high production costs.  

The Car was featured on the cover of the September 1951 Popular Science along with a  Jag and an MG – interesting trio. The MG looks like an MGA precursor based on George Phillips TD Le Mans car.
This is a newer version Blue Light that accommodates 8-tracks as well as 4-tracks.