1953 Muntz Road Jet Roadster / 53M602 Vehicle Information

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet photograph

1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet1953 Muntz Road Jet
Roadster
Chassis #: 53M602
Sold for $205,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company : The Amelia Island Auction.
Earl 'Madman' Muntz purchased the tooling and rights for a two-seater sports car designed by Frank Kurtis. Kurtis had an extensive background in building custom and race cars. In 1939, he went to Indianapolis, where he was tasking with making repairs on some of the competing cars. A car of his design was entered at Indy in 1941, driven by Sam Hanks. When World War II came to an end, he began producing midget race cars, as well as two more Indy racers - one for Ross Page and the other the Novi Special. In the 1948 race, his own entry, the Kurtis-Kraft Special, finished second and rolled up first place in championship points for the season.

In the late 1940s, Kurtis built a custom atop a 1942 Buick chassis. A production sports car followed in 1949, the Kurtis Sport. It was a two-seater with aluminum and fiberglass body. Buyers had the choice of drivetrain, or as a kit. Many of the Kurtis Sport models were given Ford flathead V8 engines. Approximately 36 examples were built before Kurtis sold the operation to Muntz in 1950.

Prior to commencing production, Earl made several changes to the design, including extending the wheelbase to 113-inches and added rear seats. They were given Cadillac overhead V8 engines, automatic transmission, and luxurious interiors. Dubbed the Muntz Jet, they had a price of $5,500 making it out of reach to most consumers.

After fewer than 30 examples were built at Kurtis's Glendale, California, shop, Muntz moved the operation to Evanston, Illinois. The wheelbase grew another three inches, and the Cadillac engine was replaced by a 337 CID Lincoln Flathead V8. Transmissions were usually Hydra-Matics, but a three-speed with overdrive was available. In 1952, Lincoln switched to overhead valves, and Muntz followed suit with the new 341 CID powerplant.

The Muntz Roadster, like the Kurtis, had removable Plexiglas side windows, fiberglass fenders, and a low-cut two-piece windshield.

Earl Muntz claimed that there were 394 Muntz cars built, however research finds no evidence of more than 200 cars. Many believe that just 198 were built, with 194 of those being four-passenger Jets and four were two-passenger Roadsters.

Celebrity owners of the Muntz cars included Mickey Rooney, Clara Bow, Grace Kelly, and Clark Gable.

This particular example has the 'Boa' snakeskin-pattern vinyl interior, a factory option, along with an AM radio/eight-track player. It came into the current owner's care in 2000. A ground-up restoration was commissioned in early 2001. Evidence was discovered that the car's original color was dark blue.


By Daniel Vaughan | May 2016


2016 Gooding & Company : The Amelia Island Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $250,000-USD $325,000 
Sale Price :
USD $205,000

1953 Muntz Road Jet Auction Sales

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1953 sales)
1953 Muntz Roadster
Chassis#: 53M602
Sold for USD$205,000
  2016 Gooding & Company : The Amelia Island Auction
1953 Muntz Road Jet image  1953 Muntz Road Jet image  
1953 Muntz Jet Purchased New by 50s Actress Gloria DeHaven
Chassis#: DR141664CAL
Sold for USD$75,000
  2012 Mecum - Monterey, CA
1953 Muntz Road Jet image  1953 Muntz Road Jet image  
1953 Muntz Jet Convertible
Chassis#: DR141664CAL
Sold for USD$66,000
  2010 RM Auctions - Automobiles of Amelia Island
1953 Muntz Road Jet image  1953 Muntz Road Jet image  
1953 Muntz Jet
Chassis#: DR141664CAL
Sold for USD$68,750
  2007 Vintage Motor Cars in Arizona
1953 Muntz Road Jet image  1953 Muntz Road Jet image  
1953 Muntz Jet
Sold for USD$60,500
  2006 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction
 
1953 MUNTZ JET CONVERTIBLE
Sold for USD$46,200
  2004 Barrett-Jackson - Scottsdale 2004
 

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1953 Muntz Road Jet's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1953 Muntz Jet Convertible 2020 Mecum Auctions : Kissimmee$97,500$100,000$150,000
1953 Muntz Jet Convertible 2014 Auctions America : California$85,000  
1953 Muntz Road Jet 2006 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction $70,000$110,000
1953 Muntz Jet Convertible 2006 The Florida Collector Car Auction$70,000  
1953 Muntz Jet Convertible5122005 Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island$65,000$75,000$100,000

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Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

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