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.
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.
“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.