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Modified Postwar Rarity: 1952 Muntz Jet

The history of the automobile is filled with stories about larger-than-life personalities who have come and gone from the industry.  None was more flamboyant than salesman extraordinaire Earl “Madman” Muntz.  His Muntz Jet was an early sports car based on Frank Kurtis’s failed Kurtis Kraft Sport.  Muntz’s marketing for the car was as show-stopping as he was, but the endeavor ultimately failed.  If you are looking for an even more outrageous version of Muntz’s dream, then have a look at this 1952 Muntz Jet for sale on Facebook Marketplace in Goshen, Connecticut.  Largely stock with Cadillac fins grafted upon its haunches, this well-preserved oddity can be yours for a cool $67,750.  If it were yours, would you leave it alone or chop off those fins post-haste?  Thanks to Chuck F. for the tip!

Earl “Madman” Muntz was an outrageous personality of the first order.  A high school dropout, Muntz became famous for his outrageous selling techniques and innate ability to find and market the next best thing in home entertainment.  While his reputation and fortune were made selling televisions and other entertainment devices, his success selling Kaiser-Frazier automobiles built up his confidence and courage to become a car manufacturer.  He took over the production of Indy car designer Frank Kurtis’s Kurtis Kraft Sport automobile.  This car is considered one of the earliest American sports cars, and the fact that Frank Kurtis designed it gave it the proper pedigree.  Kurtis lost his shirt after selling just 30 of these Ford-powered beasts.

When Muntz took over, the car was continuously modified and upgraded chasing what Muntz thought the public wanted.  The Ford powerplant was switched for a Cadillac V-8, and the car was lengthened to make it a proper four-seater.  Now more of a cruiser than a sports car, Muntz’s pride and joy did not sell well enough for the operation to break even.  Some think he lost more than $1,000 on every car he built.  Muntz was a sharp businessman and could see the writing on the wall.  Production ended after just 400 units were sold.

While there is no real back story about this interesting car in the ad, it is shocking to see a Muntz Jet modified with early fifties Cadillac tail fins, a continental kit, and an extended bumper.  While Madman Muntz himself would likely dig it due to the extra attention it would draw from folks back in his day, the problem you have is that nobody knows what a Muntz Jet looks like anymore except for car geeks like us.  The other issue is the value of the car.  Perfectly restored Muntz Jets bring big money at auction these days.

The good news is that the seller assures us that none of the original metal was hacked up to perform the posterior modifications.  The car also comes with the impossible-to-replace rear fender skirts.  Fans of flamboyance will be glad to know that the car, which is white at the moment, was painted a coral color at one time according to photos and documentation that will also come with the car.  Added to the goes with the buyer goodies is a Carson-style removeable hardtop that was believed to be a factory option.

This interesting Muntz is propelled by a 331 Cadillac V-8 with a dual quad intake according to the seller.  Unfortunately, the seller does not know what type of automatic is doing the shifting duties in this car.  Most likely it is a Hydramatic.  The car currently does not run or drive.  It does, however, turn over by hand and should not be too difficult to get running again.

You have to wonder what the best course of action would be for the next owner.  While it is a valuable car if restored to factory specs, the custom touches are a big part of the car’s history.  At a $67,750 asking price, probably the best bet would be to get it back on the road and see how you felt after driving it for a while.  It is presentable as-is, and a full restoration would take a while and a lot of money.

What would you do with this rare car?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.



    Rare as a hair on a Billy goat’s horn for sure. If it were mine the Cad. fins would be the first thing to go even if I had to use 1940 Pontiac tail lamps.
    I read about a barn find Jet about 40 miles from me a while back and wondered….why not me? Probably because fate has a barn find Superbird waiting for me.

    Like 17
  2. TomP

    This car has been for sale for five years, and the price keeps going up instead of down.This is a niche car, very few car people even know what this car is. If it were a Camaro or a Mustang, the vultures would have snapped this car up a long time ago. I think it needs to go back to 100% in order to attain any of the value that is diminished by its crappy customization.

    Like 16
    • TomP

      Oops, back to 100% correct/original…

      Like 8
  3. RJ

    First and foremost for me at least, it needs a color change. The original coral perhaps. But I’m thinking deep metallic blue with that parchment color top and interior.

    Like 5
  4. Jamie

    At that price, it’ll be a tough sale. With $67k you can buy a lot of very nice automobiles. And, as been said, not many people even know what these are.

    Like 6
  5. Ward William

    After just looking at a beautiful baby blue convertible Jet with a dark blue interior on a Hagerty Insurance page, I would like to find whoever did this and nail a set of Truck Nuts to his backside. That’s pretty much what was done to this lovely car. Back to original please.

    Like 8
  6. FasterAsteroid

    I agree with Ward. Original examples are beautiful! Lose the fins yesterday, along with the diaper (continental kit). I hope someone saves this unicorn.

    Like 10
  7. Bill Bell

    This could just about be a Cadillac Sports Car….Kurtis/Muntz cars were no beauty queens to begin with..!! The Cad attachments are an improvement.

    Like 4
  8. jwaltb

    $6750 I’m all in!

    Like 1
  9. Mark Ruggiero Member

    Joining the “lose the fins” crowd. And the wheel skirts are a must have. A quick search shows these to be very pretty cars.

    Like 4
  10. ACZ

    Could be an interesting car to play with but the price is absurd.

    Like 5
  11. Richard B Kirschenbaum

    I’d leave it as is. Curiously these cars had “Carson Tps” (removable hardtops) It was just too much trouble for Muntz to engineer a folding top so they got away with this band aid solution popular with customizers that chopped convertibles and couldn’t re-engineer a working top.. I understand that some Muntz enthusiasts actually made folding tops fo their cars.

    Like 0
  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yep…..think this might have come out of the Pate Museum when it closed back around the early 90’s…..

    Like 0
  13. Keith Kuehn

    In the 70’s had a buddy that owned TWO of these. Always left them parked on the street by the University of Minnesotas Dinky town area, nobody ever bothered them, just drove by. Caddy engines, he said the chassis were filled with cement to give better handling. I wanted one, but it never happened. Easy come, easy go. Cool quirky cars, and a cool quirky pal.

    Like 0

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