1951-1954 Muntz Jet's Legacy
Muntz Jet aficionado Vic Munsen has tracked down 49 Jets, just 10 percent of the estimated original production. Earl Muntz notes that he has scoured wrecking yards all over the country in search of parts for his own two cars and has yet to find a Muntz dismantled anywhere.
From this he concludes that many more of these sturdy cars still exist, more than 50 years after their initial construction. The Muntz Jet has also left quite a legacy and has been an influence on a number of cars that came after its four-year run.
The following chart offers a look at the specifications and performance capabilities of the 1951 Muntz Jet.
Major Specifications: 1951 Muntz Jet*
||All-steel 4-passenger convertible coupe with removable padded steel top
|Construction||Body on fully boxed perimeter-type frame
|Overall length (inches)
|Overall height (inches)
|Overall width (inches)
|Track front/rear (inches)
|Minimum ground clearance (inches)
|Curb weight (pounds)
|Cooling system (quarts)
|Fuel tank (gallons)
||L-head V-8 (Lincoln)
|Bore x Stroke (inches)
||3 1/2 x 4 3/8
|Displacement (cubic inches)
|bhp @ rpm (pound/feet SAE gross)
||154 @ 3,600
|Torque @ rpm (pound/feet SAE gross)
||275 @ 1,800
||1 x 2 bbl. carburetor, mechanical pump
||4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic (GM)
|Transmission ratios (I-IV:1)
||3.82/2.63/1.45/1.00 (Reverse: 4.31:1)|
||Hypoid, spiral-bevel gears|
|Final drive ratio
||Independent; upper and lower A-arms, coil springs (Ford)|
||Live axle, longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs (Ford)|
||4-wheel drum-type with internal-expanding shoes and hydraulic actuation|
|Brake diameter (inches)
|Total effective brake lining area (square inches)
|Wheels||Pressed steel with drop-center rims, 15-inch diameter|
|Performance||0 to 30 mph
|0 to 40 mph
|0 to 50 mph
|0 to 60 mph
|0 to 70 mph
|0 to 80 mph
|0 to 1/4 mile (second @ mph)
||18.8 @ 72
|Top speed (mph)
*Specifications shown are for the Evanston-built, L-head Lincoln-powered cars, which apparently accounted for the bulk of Muntz Jet production.
As the Muntz Jet neared the end of production, fiberglass fenders were used and the new ohv Lincoln V-8 replaced the obsolete flathead. Both these changes brought less weight and consequently better performance. Unfortunately, the Muntz automobile was a losing proposition. Perhaps it was doomed from the start.
Today, Earl Muntz can take honest pride in his Jet, the car that pointed the way for the generations of personal-luxury models that have followed over the past three decades. As has often been said throughout his long and varied career, he was simply ahead of his time.
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