Does anyone remember the Muntz Jet? (PICs)
In the 1940s Earl "Manman" Muntz built his California fortune on sales, especially in the new field of television. Then he saw the hot rod being produced by Frank Curtis and had to have one.Kurtis was over his head financially with a new design, and Muntz found himself the owner of an automobile production company, albeit a small one. So in 1951 Muntz lengthened the new body into a four passenger version and started producing them, including a new Cadillac V8 engine.
He moved the plant to Evanston, Illinois, and changed the engine to the flat head Lincoln V8, which he later upgraded as Lincoln did. The Muntz Jet sold for more than the Packard or Cadillac convertibles, but the Jet's roof had to be lifted off (it was heavy!) and left at home if the owner wanted open touring. Muntz later said he produced maybe 394 before closing his plant in 1954, and it would be four more years before Ford's 4-passenger Thunderbird would reach for the same market. There were some variations in the Jets built, including different windshields and even a few folding tops. There were also changes made by owners. Today the Muntz Jet shows up at a auto shows now and then, and few recognize it.
(PS- I just ordered the Brooklin 1:43 version. Whee!)