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Projects 1952 Muntz Jet Build, from a beginner

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 52Muntz, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    I bought this Muntz Jet back in 2013 sight unseen. It was found in a warehouse in Biloxi, Mississippi after the previous owner had passed away. Talking to some local contacts, and using lots of cell phone pictures, I knew the car wasn't stock but the extent of the modifications to it remained a bit of a mystery. Adding to the unknown is that this is a Muntz Jet, one of only about 250 cars built, there's simply not all that much information available on what the structure looked like originally.

    IMG_0032.JPG

    I had the Muntz shipped up to my humble 2 car garage in the Seattle area along with the original engine and transmission. The original engine was no longer in the car but was found in some back corner of the same warehouse. I had hope it could get incorporated back into the Jet. For a couple months I poured over the car, taking it apart and trying to figure out what was original and what wasn't. It soon became clear to me that extensive modifications had been made to the cars structure. The front clip and rear was taken from a G-body car - possibly a mid-80's Buick Regal - and welded in to mate with the Muntz mid section. Nothing mechanical was original - the original engine was now a SBC 350 with a TH350 transmission. The interior had been replaced by something from a late 80's to early 90's Cadillac. After all that my mind changed from a restoration to more of a resto-mod build. On top of that, because I didn't know the pedigree of anything previously done to the car, I decided it was best to tear this car down as much as feasible and build it back up how I wanted.

    upload_2017-1-14_14-14-54.jpeg

    The plan I hatched is to make the car look as original as feasible on the outside, but have modern components under the skin. I want it to be driveable and reliable. Keep in mind I've never built a car before. I am not a professional. I simply have a passion for cars and a desire to learn. I want to do as much of this project myself as possible. The past couple years I've been working on the car when I have some free time (which unfortunately isn't as often as I'd like), bought some of the more expensive parts to spread the costs out, and have been turning some wrenches.

    IMG_1784 (1024x790).jpg

    I'm creating this thread to document what I've done, what I'm going to do, what is working and what is not; but more importantly to gain some knowledge from all the great folks on here who know way more about building cars than I do. If you see something that makes no sense or is utterly stupid, let me know. Right now I don't even know what I don't know.

    So follow along and let's see where this goes. I'll update this thread as progress is made.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
  2. scotty t
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,408

    scotty t
    Member

    "Right now I don't even know what I don't know." i think that applies to more people than will admit it. sounds like a good plan, did you have a thread started when you were looking for this car?
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  3. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    Nope - did not have a thread when I was looking for the car. Buying a car from across the country, sight unseen, is really a story in and of itself. In my case it involved a lot of internet searching, some leaps of blind faith, and a bit of luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  4. scotty t
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,408

    scotty t
    Member

    there's at least one Muntz owner one this site,maybe more. there was a thread about someone looking for one. there were several sightings of Muntz jets.
     
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  5. scotty t
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,408

    scotty t
    Member

  6. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 260

    cfmvw
    Member

    I want to see how this one turns out! Will be a neat car when you get done with it...keep us posted with frequent pictures and reports.
     
  7. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

  8. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 5,580

    Special Ed
    Member

    You're already off to a great start, and you have (in my opinion) the correct vision for that Jet. There is literally no such thing as a "stock" Muntz. Every single one of 'em is different in some way, although a few are actually relatively close.
    The break-in cruise for mine after I built it, was from San Diego, to up in your neighborhood of Mukilteo, and back. Can;t wait to see you on the road :)
     
  9. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 9,621

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Looks like a lot of work to un-screw it. Press on regardless! Good luck. Gary
     
  10. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,427

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Those are a neat car, from what was done, it looks like you made a good choice of plans. Keep posting updates.
     
  11. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,406

    ems customer service
    Member

    i have a buddy who has a muntz tv
     
    bobg1951chevy and 51 BIRD like this.
  12. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,503

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    Okay, this is cool!
    More pictures would be nice!

    What was the original engine to your car?
    That look really good.
    Any plan on color?
     
    loudbang likes this.
  13. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 4,171

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    With a name like that, It will be cool no matter what it looks like:D....;)
    I like it!
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  14. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 37,979

    porknbeaner
    Member

    Ed longtime no speak. I saw Muntz jet in the title and thought about you. Guess I don't have to tag you on this one. Beautiful cars.
     
  15. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    sunbeam
    Member

    I remember reading an article it said the trim was sourced from Buick. My first tape player was a Muntz it was a 4 track.
     
    51 BIRD likes this.
  16. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 5,580

    Special Ed
    Member

    "Madman" Muntz's name was actually Earl, not Ed ... :cool: and the 8-track was created by Bill Lear not a Japanese tech.
     
  17. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,366

    oj
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm doing a similar project, a '52 Nash Healey that has had some 'visionary improvements' by people that used Harbor Freight equipment & tools to 'fix'er up!' I'll be watching with interest.
     
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  18. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    Interesting you mention that. I was actually at that Mukilteo event (my folks live there). We took a few photos that day including this impromptu family photo with, what I'm now realizing is most likely, your car in the background. That's me in the red hat. What a small world.
    upload_2017-1-15_8-38-43.jpeg
     
  19. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    The Nash Healey is a great car. It was the Jet competitor back in that time. Here's one I saw at a local car show in Everett, WA.

    upload_2017-1-15_8-42-43.jpeg
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 5,580

    Special Ed
    Member

    Yes, that's our Jet behind you. As you probably already know, we organize a "Muntz Mania" event every couple of years. The evening before this photo was taken, we attended the premiere of the MadMan Muntz movie, at a nearby oldtime movie theater. Earl's sister, daughter, and son were all in attendance for this gathering, too. Did you notice that our car was the only one there without a top (or wipers)? We took a lot of flack for that from you locals, but we never saw a drop of rain for that whole week.
     
  21. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    Here's some additional pictures from when I bought the car. Pictures are cell phone pictures texted to me from the local contact in Biloxi. These were the best pictures I could get. Everything is covered in a thick layer of dust.

    The obviously not original Chevy 350 installed in the Muntz as it was purchased ...
    upload_2017-1-15_8-56-2.jpeg

    The original Muntz Jet engine found in the warehouse. A Lincoln 337 flathead. It is mated to a GM Hydra-Matic ...
    upload_2017-1-15_8-57-26.jpeg

    A trunk full of Muntz Jet parts ...
    upload_2017-1-15_8-58-27.jpeg

    The Muntz being moved out of the warehouse to meet the transport truck ...

    upload_2017-1-15_9-6-55.jpeg
     
  22. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    When I received the car in the summer of 2013 I had a long list of unknowns. I knew it had been modified from it's original condition, but I really didn't know how much. For instance, the engine had been replaced, but had the framework the engine attaches to been changed as well? I didn't really know what I was looking for - how would I know what's original on a car with very little documented build history?

    The Muntz as I first saw it getting unloaded from the transport truck. It had good company on the trip ...
    upload_2017-1-15_9-17-1.jpeg

    Since, at the time, I lived in a suburban development, the transport truck couldn't make it close to my house. The Muntz was offloaded off the transport truck and onto a flatbed tow truck. The tow truck then brought the Muntz to my house.
    upload_2017-1-15_9-27-22.jpeg

    The transport truck also was bringing the original engine, transmission, and a mess of random parts which had been crated up for transport. After the tow truck dropped off the Muntz at my house, we went back to pickup the crate. That crate of engine, transmission, and parts probably weighed close to 1500 lbs.

    upload_2017-1-15_9-29-50.jpeg

    The Muntz in its new home. A small suburban 2 car garage. The crate was taking up the other bay in the garage. The two daily driver cars for the wife and I were relegated to the driveway. I was all committed at this point ...
    upload_2017-1-15_9-24-30.jpeg
     

    Attached Files:

  23. choptop4
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 596

    choptop4
    Member

    Special Ed's cousin gave me this pin.
     

    Attached Files:

    catdad49, 52Muntz, volvobrynk and 2 others like this.
  24. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 20,824

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nifty car, I have always liked Special Ed's car since I first saw it on here and it's nice to see someone doing another one. This one I might even get to see in person when it is up and running.

    Wondering what the original chassis was like I stumbled on this page that you no doubt have but might be interesting to those who don't know the history of the cars. http://www.danjedlicka.com/classic_cars/1951_54 _muntz_jet.html
    It looks like the California built cars got Cad engines and the Illinois built cars got the Lincoln engines.
    Keep posting as I want to see where this goes and how it comes out.
     
    loudbang, 52Muntz and volvobrynk like this.
  25. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    Disassembly and inspection of what I had purchased began.

    The contents of the crate. A Lincoln 337 Flathead mated to a GM Hydra-Matic transmission. Original steering column with wheel, and a bunch of random parts - some from a Muntz and some from whatever Cadillac made the interior ...

    upload_2017-1-15_9-36-47.jpeg

    Laying out what was included in the crate. Going through it was like opening a mystery box at Christmas. Turned out to be a bunch of former chrome bits and a steering column. There was also a bunch of turn signal lights that aren't shown in the picture. That skeleton framework on the right is what remained of the original removable top ...

    upload_2017-1-15_9-37-49.jpeg

    The Cadillac interior. Oddly, the front seats weren't bolted down. Made it easy to remove them. :) ...

    upload_2017-1-15_9-40-59.jpeg

    Stripping the Cadillac interior. That non-bolted down seat was hiding a hole in the floorboard ...

    upload_2017-1-15_9-42-10.jpeg

    Since I am working in a small 2 car garage, space is very important to me. I bought a Harbor Freight foldable shop crane that I used to lift the Flathead out of the crate and I then put it and the transmission on an engine stand. Surprisingly to me they came apart fairly easily. This allowed me to roll the engine around the garage and get it out of the way if I needed to.

    upload_2017-1-15_9-46-58.jpeg
     
  26. Neat car, hope to follow along as you get it sorted out.
    I always thought these were interesting cars; there were a pair of them tucked away in backyard near where I worked. For twenty odd years I watched as they went from being covered to uncovered as tarps deteriorated and covered again, each time they were visible, they looked more rough. The whole time a "not for sale" leaned against them. One day the house was for sale and they were gone. Sad :(, hope they went on to a better place.
    Wonder how someone could kill a SW Hollywood panel like that.
     
    volvobrynk, tomkelly88 and Special Ed like this.
  27. Jonnie King
    Joined: Aug 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,878

    Jonnie King
    Member
    from St. Louis

    52 Muntz...
    Great project ! Special Ed knows what he talks about when it comes to Muntz !! I've loved his car for year's...and told him so ! I still have one of the mags his was featured in...the upholstery is to die for !!

    I always love really rare rides, and the Muntz is one of my all-time favorites...I missed getting one a few years ago. Always regretted that.

    I have a Cousin that lives in Sikeston, MO. and (maybe Special Ed knows about this) there is supposed to be one in her area that is restored. She's not seen it, but always keeps a look-out for it.

    Best of luck with yours, 52 Muntz !
    Jonnie]
    www.legends.thewwbc.net
     
  28. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 17,633

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    Wow, talk about a leap faith to purchase your car sight unseen - that is tough to with a common car - more power to you for continuing on with this unique project

    Sent from my SM-G930V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  29. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,658

    jimmy six
    Member

    Good find and will be fun to watch you're progress. For me since the dash looks good I would scrap the rest of the interior. Since your going resto the Chev V8 is not a bad idea. The photo of the engine compartment shows a lot of room and pretty clean. A stock looking car seems to be the norm right now and modern underneath is always a plus. Good luck.
     

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