HomePick of the DayOff-the-radar 1953 Muntz Jet

Off-the-radar 1953 Muntz Jet


Built by the flamboyant Earl “Madman” Muntz, who made his fortune in TV, stereo system and used-car sales, the Muntz Jet was a futuristic luxury car created from the extended platform of the moribund Kurtis Sports Car.  Muntz bought the rights to Frank Kurtis’ failed auto-making venture and created his own innovative hardtop convertible that pioneered such safety features as seat belts and padded dashboards. 

Just under 200 Muntz Jets were produced from 1949 through 1954 (though Muntz claimed to have sold twice that many), and while they represent a colorful chapter in that experimental time, they are hardly remembered today. As collector cars, they gradually have gained in interest and value.

Muntz Jet
The hardtop roof lifts off, with some effort

The Pick of the Day is a 1953 Muntz Jet, restored in red with an off-white, pleated interior, a white removable roof and a full load of optional features.  Attractively sporty in a bold ’50s way, the four-seater Jet is powered by a 160-horsepower Lincoln V8, and while shouldering two tons of heft, the car is said to accelerate sharply and reach speeds well over 100 mph.

This Jet has been slightly upgraded for improved drivability with a dual master cylinder and power booster for the drum brakes, coil-over shock absorbers and a fresh dual-exhaust system.  The engine is fitted with a four-barrel Holley carburetor and fed through a Hydro-Matic transmission. 

Muntz Jet
The attractive gauge cluster is mounted in turned metal

“The paint shines up beautifully, the bodywork underneath is about as straight as you can expect (Muntz reportedly used several hundred pounds of lead to get each car to fit together and it was that hand labor that made the cars so expensive), and it’s obvious that the restoration was done to a standard befitting an expensive car, not a clown car,” notes the Macedonia, Ohio, dealer advertising the Jet on ClassicCars.com. “Nice chrome, neat details like the twin Appleton spotlights, split V windshield and jet-inspired taillights add to the look.”

After years of obscurity, Muntz Jets are fairly rare finds today, and the asking price for this one is $129,900, which would bring you a lot of exclusivity for the money.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day


Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. My mother’s cousin, 40-50s West coast band leader, Freddie Martin, owned a customized Muntz Jet. it sold at auction a couple times.

  2. I rembember madman and these cars, I like this one very much and I would love to own it, but I can’t afford the price. It would
    Really stand out at a car show.
    Kurt K.

  3. I worked on a similar one 2 years ago, did the upholstery. I believe they stopped production during the second world war as there was a need of company. They were in Evanston IL.


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