I have never heard about or seen the above car before this last weekend, and that alone warrants a History Hit, and the story that introduced me to it really warrants a re-telling on this site. I found out about the above car, a 1953 Muntz Jet Convertible, on TheSmokingTire Podcast, episode 152, which featured the founder of Replay XD cams, John Spar. John Spar is the son of Bob Spar, who happens to be the B in B&M racing. Muscle car drivers will recognize the name.
While that was an interesting surprise in itself, the story John told of his dad and ‘Mad Man’ Muntz’s car, the Jet, was the real interesting part. The Jet was a real mess in development, with the company going through multiple owners before finally being snatched up by car mogul ‘Mad Man’ Muntz. Muntz did not want a Ford motor, and decided to go with Cadillac power. Needing a tech, he walked into a southern California dealership and asked for the best tech they had. Enter Bob Spar.
Bob Spar was a Cadillac line mechanic by day, and a hot rodder by night. Apparently his relation to the Jet comes from not only helping fit the Cadillac motors, but actually fully finishing the first cars in California produced under Muntz. While the company moved, Spar continued modifying Jets to hold the extra power provided by swapping engines–which was a trend which would continue. The gearbox could not hold the power, and so Bob Spar started modifying those, sort of a first in the day. This led to some real innovations, still used today.
The fact that B&M, a well known parts supplier and racing team, may have been helped into starting by such a historical oddity like the Muntz Jet, is to good to pass up. However, due to ongoing research and fact-checking, this weeks History Hits will have to be delayed. Due to the ongoing nature of the project, it very well may be the case that the facts presented here have to be re-clarified in the full article.
For a general overview of the car itself, Hagerty has a great article.
I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.