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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. steel rebel
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 3,501

    steel rebel
    Member

    You know the way I see it you have two good options. Depending how much time, skills and money.

    One you can go the complete route and bring it was driving out of the Muntz factory. If that could actually be done. Some will say some will say no way.

    Number two you could make a nice dependable driver, outwardly looking like it did out of the factory. With the disk brakes and the Chevy. running gear.

    No use going half way, either way.

    Oh I guess you could go the way the previous owner did with the late Cad. interior. But if you do PLEASE don't post that on the HAMB.

    Gary
     
    volvobrynk and 52Muntz like this.
  2. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    This is a continuing post catching up on the last 3 years since I bought a 1952 Muntz Jet sight unseen from a warehouse across the country from where I lived.

    The disassembly and investigation.

    Once I got the car into the garage I started carefully going over it. The first impression was that not only was everything covered in a thick layer of dust and rat droppings, but everything steel had at least a light surface rust covering it. The local contact in Biloxi, who was a friend-of-a-friend of the previous owner who had since passed away, had thought that possibly he remembered a Buick Regal was used as a donor car for the project. With that as my only hint to go on, I scoured the internet for pictures of a Buick Regal chassis. It didn't take long for me to run across a site of a guy who is hot rodding a Buick Regal (I'd link the site but not sure on forum rules about that), and in that site he had posted several great picture of GM G-Body framework minus the body. I few measurements and comparable pictures and it didn't take long to realize I had my match.

    The engine bay. Note that along with the engine, brake booster, radiator, and battery location, the inner fender and panels covering the firewall are also not original to a Jet...

    upload_2017-1-16_19-49-46.jpeg

    Definitely not original Muntz Jet control arms and frame ...

    upload_2017-1-16_19-10-50.jpeg

    Not Muntz Jet rear suspension, exhaust, gas tank, or axle housing ...

    upload_2017-1-16_19-13-4.jpeg

    I looked at the mountain of work that would be needed to get this car back in original configuration and my mind was made up. I'd go with a resto-mod. Finally making that decision gave me a couple key advantages. First is that I wanted the car to eventually be a driver - not something I'd feel unsafe taking out among modern traffic, or have an increased risk of a mechanical break down on a long drive. Having a car with a newer engine and better brakes, in my mind, alleviated those concerns.

    But second, and I have the previous owner to thank for this, unlike a Muntz Jet a G-body car is supported on the aftermarket. The original version of this car is not like a 57 Chevy which is already heavily supported, it's a car where only about 250 were ever made. Now that it has the front and rear framework of a G-body I can buy suspensions, brakes, axle housing, etc all designed to fit a G-body car. Sure parts can be custom made for a Muntz, and I'm not one to necessarily back away from a bit of a challenge, but I'm also a total rookie at car building and that is not lost on me. If I can buy a pre-designed suspension package online, I'll take that advantage.

    Now the fun begins.
     
  3. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    The suspension

    Unfortunately an unlimited budget is something that I don't have. Therefore, to get the major components to make my resto-mod, I had to buy them piece-meal as my budget allowed. The first major purchase was going to be the suspension. Why? Well I figured the old Buick suspension was one of the first items to come off when I disassembled the car, and to get the Jet off the jack stands and back on tires a new suspension was going to be needed sooner rather than later.

    With that decided, I needed to figure out what suspension to get. As mentioned in a previous post, the front and rear framework from the Buick allowed me to purchase one of the many available off the shelf g-body designed suspension systems. Ultimately what suspension system is used comes down to the intended use of the car. In my case I had decided that I wanted this car to be a cruiser - something that would be just at home flying down the highway as it would going slow through town. I'm not looking for a 1/4 mile car or track car. I wanted a suspension system that offered comfortable cruising but also versatility. To say I did a lot of research would be an understatement. I looked at air ride, and coil over, and the stock g-body setup and all the iterations contained therein. I looked at several manufacturers and read reviews wherever I could find them on the internet. As I kept looking I couldn't help but notice that the brand RideTech continued to pop up with mostly positive feedback.

    So, I started focusing on RideTech suspensions. For the g-body they offer several levels and kits - everything from just coil overs to full computer controlled air ride kits. Honestly, I didn't know what to get. It would be one thing if I knew what the car looked like before - like if I was putting a new suspension on a car I already knew well. But when all you have is a shell of a car sitting on jack stands, a car that came to you with different sized tires on each corner and a suspension not originally built for that particular car, it's hard to know if you'll get the ride height you desire when it's all done. It would be a major bummer if you find you bought the wrong ride height suspension and you hated the look. It was that unknown is what ultimately drove my decision to the more complicated, yet more versatile, air ride suspension. I had heard the positives and negatives of air ride but in the end the decision really came down simple fact of wanting to be able to control the ride height of the car without first knowing exactly what that car was going to look like. It was as simple as that.

    Now to decide the type of air ride within RideTech's inventory. That wasn't too difficult a decision either. The g-body suspension on the car was flat out tired. The bushings were old and cracked. The different components were covered in a light surface rust. Could they be brought back to life? Sure, but at what expense of time and overall functionality to the completed Jet. In the end I chose the Level II kit that included the air ride components as well as new control arms, ball joints, rear links, etc. Obviously the car is not yet running but I believe in the end it'll be the right decision and it'll give me the functionality I was searching for.

    upload_2017-1-17_20-25-35.jpeg
     
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  4. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,011

    nunattax
    Member

    seriously cool car with a lota potential.good luck
     
  5. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,014

    catdad49
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This going to be fun for everyone. I love your original statement about your lack of knowledge, l think they're a lot of us that have been there a time or two. Sometimes I find that the more I know, the less I know. Have a plan, stick to the plan and don' t be afraid to ask questions. Keep posting and have fun with your Muntz!
     
    52Muntz likes this.
  6. That's a real nice car.
    Some 10 years ago i sold my complete airconditing from my 1954 Chrysler Imperial
    to a Dutch Muntz owner with a Muntz with a 331 1954 Hemi installed . (Not sure if it's the same model)
    If you like i can try to contact him for info.

    Hennie
     
  7. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    The majority of the work on the Jet last few years was not spent buying components, but on cleanup and prep of what was already there. While fixing up the hot rod may have been my priority, others in the family sometimes didn't see the same. In the last couple years we moved to a new to us house (I'm sad to report still a 2 car garage - I lost that battle), remodeled 2 bathrooms, and generally lived the kind of life where you wonder where all the time went. I worked in the Jet when I had some spare time, which unfortunately wasn't often.

    My new 2 car garage was the same size as my old garage but had a flaw that I didn't recognize when we bought the "new" to us house - that was it was detached from the house. While the old garage maintained some amount of heat simply by sharing walls with the house, the new garage had no such benefit. What does this all have to do with hot rods? Well aside from meaning I needed to work with space heaters, it meant for several months a year in the Seattle area the temperature was too cold to reliably use most paints or coatings. This meant I could do prep work in the colder weather, but painting had to wait for the warm months. Despite this the work carried on.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The pictures don't look like much was done but in reality the Jet was stripped of everything not welded down (including the SBC 350 and transmission), pressure washed, wire brushed underneath (or sanded if the brush couldn't reach), then everything under the car was painted with two layers of POR-15, and then a layer of Eastwood Chassis Black paint.

    [​IMG]

    Beginners tip for those who have never used POR-15: cover up anything you don't want permanently painted black. The stuff has a consistency similar to black ink and any part of you it touches will be black at least until your skin wears off. I went full Tyvek suit, long rubber gloves, respirator (it stinks), and full face mask. Heed the PPE warnings on this stuff - it's nasty.

    However, that nasty POR-15 liquid dries to become a great barrier coating. The can I had said it could be brushed on or sprayed - and I tried both with good results. The trunk I brushed because it is a large, flatter surface that is easily accessible. I sprayed, using a standard gravity type sprayer fed air from my compressor, under the vehicle because there were just too many nooks and crevices to adequately get the brush in everywhere. With both application methods I used, the POR-15 set up hard and created a well bonded shell on the rusty surface. I'd recommend it and use it again.

    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  8. vetteson
    Joined: Oct 7, 2010
    Posts: 74

    vetteson
    Member

    Have you notified the Jet registry? Is the car in it? Useful to know how many and what serial numbers are out there, there were breaks in the series and finding an out-of range number would help to clear up how many were built.
     
  9. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,428

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The Hollywood gauge panel is brass, you can have it replated. Scott at Haneline has the pattern and can make up a new engine turned insert for it. A set of Stewart Warner gauges, along with the original column would give it the proper vintage look.
     
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  10. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    I have, and the gentlemen that operates the registry just happens to live a few miles down the road from me. He came over to check out the Jet when I first brought it home. I have a copy of the registry and it's an invaluable tool for restoring these cars.
    This particular car was not previously known before it was found in the warehouse. The serial number fits in line with other Jets of 1952 - it's not an outlier.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  11. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    Thank you - that's a good tip. The original Hollywood panel is long gone and was replaced with the modified plastic Cadillac cluster you can see in some of the pictures. So a Hollywood panel, insert, and Stewart gauges are definitely in my future.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  12. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,694

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You've still got the hard to find part. The outer band of the Hollywood panel is still in the car, and a replacement insert can be made to fill it. Nobody will be the wiser. Finding the proper 1952 Stewart-Warner gauges will be costly though if you are trying for total authenticity.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  13. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,428

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    As alchemy stated, the outer surround is there.
     
  14. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 5,588

    Special Ed
    Member

    loudbang likes this.
  15. This is gonna be a fun project to watch. I like the direction you are going and the choices you've made so far. Carry on. :)
     
  16. 40two
    Joined: Feb 19, 2012
    Posts: 1,378

    40two
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Listen to Dr. Dave....! i like your progress and your thoughts too..
     
  17. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    Like any project, even the jobs that are expected to be simple turn out to be a challenge. The Muntz is no different. As I previously mentioned, this particular car is not stock with its front and rear frame work replaced by that of a g-body car. So I knew the rear axle housing, and where it mounts into the car were not original Muntz. Knowing the g-body history, and since the existing axle housing is rusty with unknown pedigree, I took some measurements of the axle housing and ordered a new one to match the g-body configuration. Both are the same measurements - couldn't be more simple.

    [​IMG]

    With a new housing in hand, and a new 3rd member all bolted into it, the time had come to bolt all of that new goodness into the car. What I did not realize at the time was that the previous owner did not change the length of the suspension components, or the axle housing itself, but bent the suspension parts and thereby changed the angle of them between the car and housing. Why? - Because unbeknownst to me until now the g-body frame has been narrowed by about 3" from stock, but the axle housing was not. That's the kind of stuff I imagine you learn to look out for if you've done this a time or two. I have not. Whoops.

    [​IMG]

    So now I have a new housing, and new suspension components, all made for a g-body that aren't fitting together because the frame isn't where it's supposed to be. The lower suspension arms bolt to a bracket welded to the inboard box of the frame, so I don't see an easy way of widening that distance without moving the frame back to stock. It seems the easiest course of action at this time is to tear down the axle housing, and take it to have the top and lower suspension housing brackets removed and welded at new angles. I'm going pro with this welding job because hopefully it can be done without warping the housing. I guess we'll see.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  18. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 38,082

    porknbeaner
    Member

    Ed one of these days when you have time I would be really interested in the history of the Muntz. Maybe you could do a thread on it. much rather learn it from someone I know and trust.;)
     
    dana barlow, loudbang and Special Ed like this.
  19. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,694

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Can you leave the new housing's brackets where they are, and build new arms with new bends to mount it to the frame? I'd make some clamps and fixtures to hold the housing up where it needs to be (maybe jack the whole car up four or five feet), and then use some thickwall 1.5" tubing to make new arms. Maybe use the old ends of the old arms, or maybe not?
     
    loudbang likes this.
  20. 52Muntz
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 21

    52Muntz
    Member
    from PNW

    I bought new lower arms so I'd really like to use those if I can. I'm going to see how difficult (and expensive) it will be to re-weld the housing brackets. If it's looking like it just won't be doable, I'll be exploring other options like the one you mention.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  21. 1959Nomad
    Joined: Jun 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,755

    1959Nomad
    Member

    Looking forward to seeing this one get built, like the plan.
     
  22. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 926

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you haven't seen it, get yourself a copy of Hemming's Classic Car magazine #151 - April 2017. There's a great article and some pictures that may be helpful.
    You are probably on the right track removing and re-locating the brackets on the housing. Great project!
     
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  23. pigfluxer
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 103

    pigfluxer
    Member

    Let us see a picture of the Morgan sharing the garage.
     
  24. alsancle
    Joined: Nov 30, 2005
    Posts: 1,538

    alsancle
    Member

    Cool project. Good luck!
     
  25. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 5,588

    Special Ed
    Member

    To add a little motivation to your finishing this project, we are in the initial stages of putting together a Muntz Mania event in mid/late June of 2018. We're looking at Eugene Oregon as the site, because MadMan's daughter (TeeVee) lives there, and we're attempting to get her to assist us in organizing it. What do you think? Seems like a wonderful venue for a debut .... ;)
     
    loudbang likes this.
  26. Special Ed, you see the one on CL right now in Scottsdale? You probably know the guy. Cool car, lotta cash.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  27. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,089

    indyjps
    Member

    Great build, always liked these, never thought I'd see many with the low production numbers. You almost have to stay with the g body frame, chances of finding on original chassis are slim.

    Some won't like the 350, but oh well, dress it traditional. You could also consider any Buick, olds, Pontiac, most are a straightforward swap into a g body frame, just depends on other clearances.

    Air ride is nice, and expensive. Don't know your budget. Don't want to see this get off track for lack of funds, the g body suspension can be set up for a lot of heights and purposes pretty reasonably.

    Post up more details, we can provide input on parts combos that may not break the bank.

    Do you have a full set of trim for this car?
     
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  28. Hot Rod Grampa
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 83

    Hot Rod Grampa
    Member

    Very cool car. A smart direction of build. Once installed the front suspension will not look too out of place. Stamped a arms yes. Tubular arms and the non stock looking components will bring it back to that custom look.
     
  29. MuntzManMike
    Joined: Jul 13, 2017
    Posts: 1

    MuntzManMike
    Member

    Keep up the good work. You are a lot farther along the we are.

    My older brother bought this 52 Muntz when he was 15 1/2, 1978.
    He past away and my brothers and dad decided to restore it in his memory.
    It has a 331 Hemi and had been used for racing by the previous owner.

    While every Muntz was custom to the buyer's choosing, some components are available as Muntz used a lot of parts from Ford. He was good friends with Edsel Ford.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  30. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 48

    leon bee
    Member
    from Arkansas!

    My friend and I also have a 52 Muntz Jet. Had it for 20 or 25 years, probably, never contacted anyone so it is probably one of the unaccounted for ones. Ours has some big 50s Olds engine with, (I guess) a Hydramatic.
     
    loudbang and catdad49 like this.

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