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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The "1950s Jet Of The Future" Story

It was an ordinary day. Made a stop at Horsepower Enterprises at the corner of Prince Street and McGovern Ave. in Lancaster, PA. Horsepower Enterprises is a auto garage that restores primarily classic and collector cars to their original condition for their owners. I have made a few stops over the past few years at Horsepower Enterprises to take a look at some of the fabulous cars that can be seen through the windows in their showroom.
Horsepower Enterprises at the corner of Prince and McGovern.
A few years ago, while being taken on a tour of the facility, I noticed a young man who looked familiar. Seems his name was Dave and I had him in my Graphic Arts class in the late 1980s. Hair was slightly different, but he still looked the same. I looked at him and said, "Dave, is that you?" He got a big smile on his face and replied, "Mr. Woods, I thought that was you." We had fun reminiscing and he told me he has been working on cars ever since he left high school. Well, the quality of workmanship I have witnessed from my visits to this garage speaks volumes for Dave ability around cars.
My grandson's photo of Dave and LDub inside the showroom. 
I had my grandson with me today when we stopped to see this beautiful yellow car that was in the show window. I thought I knew classic cars, but I had no idea what I was viewing. Met Dave inside the door and he told us the car was actually for sale and was known as a 1952 Muntz Jet. The owner was asking $275,000 for the car. The Muntz car company was established  by Earl "Madman" Muntz in 1950 in Glendale, California. Muntz called his car the "Muntz Jet" and was a four-seater that had a Cadillac V8 engine in it. This engine would eventually be replaced with a less expensive Lincoln V8. Only one model was made and the car was considered a sport coupe. Production began in Glendale, CA, but was soon moved to Evanston, Illinois. The car featured aluminum body panels and a removable fiberglass top. It topped out at 112 mph which was a significant achievement in the early 1950s. Dave told us that there were just over 350 Muntz Jet cars made and the one we were looking at in the showroom carried documentation that it was the first one made in Illinois.
The Muntz Jet. This is similar to the car Caden
and I had a chance to view at Horsepower Enterprises.
Production of the car ended slightly three years later in 1954. The cars were expensive for the 1950s with a cost slightly under $5,500. Mars Red, Lime Mist, Brite Chartreuse and Stratosphere Blue were a few of the unusual colors available while other options were: mahogany planks on the rear deck; alligator, emu, leopard or snake skin upholstery choices; back seat armrests with a cocktail bar; wire-recorder in the radio; deluxe heater; outside spotlight; a console between the front seats; and seat belts, though they were fastened to the seat frame and not the floor. So, here are photographs of the 1952 Muntz Jet that Caden and I had a chance to see at Horsepower Enterprises. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Front of the 1952 Muntz Jet
The Lincoln V8 engine
The 1952 Pennsylvania inspection sticker
Beautiful spoked (additional cost) wheels with wide white-walls. Notice the Muntz Jet logo on the fender panel.
Closeup of the dimmer light and front chrome bumper.
Dual windshield with individual wipers.
Neat logo on the horn ring which I am not sure what it might be.
Beautiful dashboard.
The radio built into the center console.
Inside the front roof panel is a bolt that can be removed to allow the hardtop to be removed.
My grandson wanted to know what the handle was used for. Wind-down windows were all that was available in the 1950s. Notice the rolled leather interior panels. Not sure whether it is leather or an exotic skin material.
The rear bumper is a piece of art on this aluminum bodied car.


  1. Larry - the logo is the Muntz logo. Muntz was a electronic "wiz" he use to puchase RCA and other TVs and figure out how to make them with less parts (cheaper). Muntz TVs were around in the 1950s. Use to be a saying to Muntz something was to strip it down to bare components while still having it work. BTW he purchased the car rights from some racer back in the late 1940's.


  2. I spotted the the Muntz jet in the showroom when I was in Lancaster, Pa. this past week. It was a ringer because I owned a black 1953 I sold to Joe Bortz to pay my daughter's pediatrician. Saw it in the window - the right front headlight shape was easy to guess it was a Jet as I rounded the corner, I want to show the car to my wife and let her decide if she wants to trade me in for the Jet.

    Walt Diener