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Doug Smith, owner of Toby Knoll Garage, and his Fabulous Hudson Hornet at the Franklin County Technical School’s Fourth Annual Cool Rides Car Show. (2013)

1951 Muntz Jet

Late in the 1940’s, Frank Kurtis (ex Kuretich), an auto racing enthusiast and auto builder, introduced a two passenger sports car called the Kurtis Sports Car. He built the car just one year (1949) before it was noticed by Earl “Madman” Muntz, an entrepreneur who had made millions selling cheap TV sets and other innovative electronic devices. Muntz purchased the rights to the car and spent 1950 under Kurtis’s guidance modifying the car to accommodate four passengers. Muntz eventually moved the operation to Evanston, IL, and lengthened the wheel base further to make seating more comfortable. The new car came to be known as the Muntz Jet. Muntz built the car until very late ’53 when he realized he was losing money on every car. A few prototypes and pre-production models were carried over to 1954, but the Muntz Jet was done. Muntz built about 198 cars (based on the Muntz Registry) and many have survived. Although all the 1951-53 cars carried the same 116 inch wheelbase (except the few early ’54 examples), every car varied slightly according the purchaser’s wishes.

 

I purchased my 1951 Muntz in early 2017, it finally arrived in June.

I hope to start the restoration in 2018. I have been able to locate many parts for little or no money. Some parts will have to be fabricated, but luckily the car included a good Carson top frame. I have purchased a complete 1951 Oldsmobile 303 V8 that will fill the engine bay. The original flathead 346 cu. In. Lincoln V8 had been removed some years ago and only a few pieces remained in the trunk of the car. They have a new home now.

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TOBY KNOLL GARAGE

'50s Cars