When we first heard about this ’47 Kaiser custom truck, built at Posies Rods and Customs, we figured designer/builder Ken Fenical and his team had taken a sedan and converted it into a pickup. Nope. As owner Gary Maisel explained, this is the sole survivor of three ’47 Kaiser concept vehicles produced by Earl “Madman” Muntz when they were new. It’s been a truck for 65 years.

Muntz was a businessman, innovator, and self-taught engineer—and a famous figure in Southern California in the mid-20th century. He started his career selling cars, and by 1947, owned one of the largest and most successful Kaiser-Frazer dealerships in America. As his alter ego, “Madman” Muntz, he pioneered the technique of advertising cars and electronics by acting crazy.

Muntz approached Kaiser with his idea for an upscale truck built from a car. The company donated three four-door sedans, which were sent to Betts Curtis Motors in Long Beach, California. There the bodies were cut just behind the front seat and rebuilt as cabs, with existing beds grafted on. The resulting hybrids didn’t generate the interest Muntz thought it would. The third one built, with a Pontiac straight-eight, became his service truck. As far as we know, it’s the only one left.

Gary Maisel was looking around for a street rod project when his wife Beth spotted the Muntz Kaiser on the Internet. It was for sale in Atlanta so Gary made the trip from Annapolis, Maryland, to see it in person. When he bought it in 2000, it was just as Muntz had modified it.

That’s when Gary started making plans with Ken at Posies for freshening up the unique pickup. In the spirit of Earl Muntz, the urge to modify and improve was irresistible. Ten years later, a contemporized Muntz Kaiser was finished—different than the original version, but true to the original concept.

Many original Kaiser and Muntz elements were combined with contemporary updates, and tons of effort went into to coordinating design details throughout the truck—a Posies trademark. If you’ve seen any of Posies’ previous projects, the level of work in this one won’t surprise you, but it might still amaze you.

The back of the cab was rebuilt, incorporating radiused corners. The vertical B-pillars were angled forward at the top, consistent with the rest of the body’s aerodynamic look. Custom headlight rings and parking lights were created, and the grille was shortened and simplified. To keep plenty of air in the engine compartment, the front bumper was notched at the bottom and a functional air dam was installed below it.

The small badge on the nose features a caricature of a Napoleon-hatted “Madman” that Muntz used for promotional purposes. The door handles and mirrors were built at Posies; the mirror stems contain integrated turn signals built from ’05 BMW marker lights. The rear pan was reshaped with eyebrow brackets for the license plate and tailpipes. Ford F-100 fenderwells were made to fit the wide rear tires.