1951-1954 Muntz Jet

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 last 1954 Muntz Jet automobile to be built
Here's the last Muntz Jet built, #349 according to its owner. Fiberglass fenders were phased in toward the end of production in the interest of weight-saving, and this car has them, along with the Lincoln ohv V-8 that was substituted for the earlier flathead engine.

­The following chart offers a look at the specifications and performance capabilities of the 1951 Muntz Jet.­

Major Specifications: 1951 Muntz Jet*

General Vehicle type
All-steel 4-passenger convertible coupe with removable padded steel top

Construction Body on fully boxed perimeter-type frame

Wheelbase (inches)

Overall length (inches)

Overall height (inches)

Overall width (inches)

Track front/rear (inches)

Minimum ground clearance (inches)

Curb weight (pounds)

Crankcase (quarts)

Cooling system (quarts)

Fuel tank (gallons)
Drivetrain Engine type
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

Compression ratio

Valve lifters

Fuel delivery
1 x 2 bbl. carburetor, mechanical pump

Electrical system
6-volt battery/coil

Transmission type
4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic (GM)

Transmission ratios (I-IV:1)
3.82/2.63/1.45/1.00 (Reverse: 4.31:1)

Differential type
Hypoid, spiral-bevel gears

Final drive ratio

Drive axle
Chassis Front suspension
Independent; upper and lower A-arms, coil springs (Ford)

Rear suspension
Live axle, longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs (Ford)

Brake system
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

Tires 7.60/15 4-ply
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.

side view of the Muntz Jet automobile showing its low profile
The Muntz Jet's low-to-the-ground profile implied good readability, and the car delivered on that promise.

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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