Muntz Car Company
|Headquarters||Glendale, California, USA|
|Area served||United States|
|Key people||Earl Muntz, Founder
Frank Kurtis, Designer
The Muntz Car Company was created in Glendale, California by Earl "Madman" Muntz, a well known local used car dealer and electronics retailer. It was in existence from 1950 to 1954. Muntz was assisted by Frank Kurtis, who had earlier attempted to produce a sports car under the Kurtis Kraft marque (the Kurtis Kraft Sport, which sold just 36 units by 1950).
In 1951, Kurtis sold the license to manufacture the cars to Muntz, who quickly rebadged them as the "Muntz Jet", extended the body to make it a 4-seater, and exchanged the Ford engine with a larger Cadillac V8. Later, this engine would be replaced with a less expensive Lincoln side-valve V8.
The car, a sports coupe, was manufactured in Chicago, IL in the 2900 block of N. Sheffield Av. and featured its own unique design, with aluminum body panels and a removable fiberglass top that were manufactured in-house. Other parts (such as the engines) were sourced from other manufacturers. It was capable of 112 mph, a significant achievement for a road car at the time. It was featured on the cover of the September 1951 issue of Popular Science (with a Jaguar and an MG).
The company managed to produce only about 400 cars during 1951-1954, and due to the high manufacturing cost, Muntz himself estimated that his company lost about $1,000 on each car; this financial drain eventually caused him to close the company.
Because the cars were distinctive in design, well-built and good performers for their time, Muntz Jets today are rare and valuable collector pieces.
- Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946-1959 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008), p.1016.
- Hitze, Ed (1993). The Kurtis-Kraft Story (PaperbackInterstate Printers. ASIN B0015MFQZG.).
- David Lillywhite, ed. (2003). The Encyclopedia of Classic Cars (Hardcover ed.). Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 978-1-57145-990-9.
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