Tuesday, November 12, 2013

1950 Muntz Jet - Built By A "Madman"

1950 Muntz Jet - This is older and more expensive than the usual JaCG car, but it's impressive, if for no other reason than its creator.

Earl Muntz was nicknamed "Madman." Muntz is described as the "first of the loud, nutso, in-your-face used car salesmen." It was a style that worked for him. In 1947 he sold $76 million worth of cars. He also produced and sold Muntz TVs. He made millions, lost millions and was bankrupt at least once. Successes far outweighed failures and he never stopped trying. Even in life he never stopped trying; he was married 7 times.

The Muntz Jet was not a moneymaker of Earl Muntz. Muntz estimated that he lost $1000.00 on every car sold. He built less than 400, but no one seems to know the exact figure.

The Jet was based on a Frank Kurtis car, the Kurtis Kraft Sport. The Sport was a 2 seater with a flathead Ford V-8. Built in 1948 and 1949, Kurtis only managed to sell around 20 of them. Muntz paid Kurtis $200,000.00 for the rights to the car, the factory and all the parts.

Muntz redesigned the car. He lengthened the wheel base by 13 inches and added a small back seat. He exchanged the Ford V8 for, at first, a Cadillac V8 and then a V8 from Lincoln. The body went from being made of aluminum to steel.

The Jet had seat belts and a padded dash, both of which were unusual safety items in the 1950s. The hardtop was removable, but no canvas softtop was supplied. Top speed was around 105 MPH.

This car needs a complete restoration. It looks to be relatively complete. The seller, who owns another Muntz Jet, believes there are only 12 1950 Muntz Jets still in existence.

Muntz was involved in many successful businesses throughout his life. Four-track car stereo stereo systems, big screen TVs, satellite TV and even aluminum prefab houses were all successfully pioneered by Muntz. When he died in 1987, he was one of the largest cell phone retailers in Los Angeles. Imagine what that business might be worth today!

Located in Shawnee, OK, click here to see the eBay listing for this 1950 Jet.

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