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1952 Muntz Jet

1952 Muntz Jet


In 1949 Frank Kurtis started building an aluminum-bodied two-seater sports car under his own name. However, by 1950 he sold the operation to Earl Muntz, who made his fortune selling used cars to returning servicemen, as well as Kaisers and Frazers and his Muntz television sets. He was known all over Southern California for his outrageous radio and television ads which earned him the sobriquet of “Mad Man.”

Kurtis made some changes for Muntz, including extending the wheelbase to 113 inches and adding rear seats. He called them “Muntz Jets” and priced the cars at $5,500. Muntz later admitted that he lost about $1,000 per car. The first 28 cars were built in Glendale, California, and the rest in Evanston, Illinois. Earl Muntz once claimed that 394 cars were built; however, the Muntz Registry, tabulated by Vic Munsen, deduced that less than 200 cars were completed by the time the operation ceased in 1954.

Earl Muntz used the services of actor Victor Mature to sell his Muntz TVs to the movie grips and the Muntz Jet sports cars to his movie-star friends in return for a “spiff.” Celebrity owners of the Jets included Mickey Rooney, Gloria DeHaven, Vic Damone, Clara Bow, Grace Kelly, Josephine Dillon (a gift from her husband, Clark Gable), Ed Gardner (from radio’s Duffy’s Tavern), newscaster Alex Dreier, Western star Lash LaRue, and orchestra leader Freddy Martin. A Jet can even be seen racing a Jaguar XK 120 in the movie The Caddy starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

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