REVEALED HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME,
THE MYSTERY OF BOSTON BLACKIE'S CAR!!
I have a photographic memory for some things, shapes and colors and design details of various kinds, especially when it comes to certain periods of automotive design. It's very rare for me to say "what the hell is THAT thing" when I see a car from the '40s or '50s but that's exactly what I said when I watched an episode of the Boston Blackie TV show from the Internet Archive. I started googling around and found a few other people were saying the same thing and nobody was able to tell them what the hell that thing was. One person suggested this 49 Crosley which is believed to have been created for the show. My friend Jim located this purported 1940 Willys which also claims a Boston Blackie connection, but considering the age of the vehicle it seems more likely to have been for one of the movies. It's nearly impossible to get good pictures from the small files available from the Archive, but one of my fellow wonderers posted these two shots which I enlarged and enhanced as well as I could.
They didn't give the car many glamor shots and since it is all black, most of the detail is sort of inferred from seeing it move by. It has "suicide" doors - hinged at the back, and an inelegant slab-sided design which cause some to suggest it was a Nash. The problem with all these suggestions is the Crosley, Willys and Nash are very high in the middle, and the first two are cut down at the doors where this thing is flat across the top side to side and front to back. It seems to be the sort of design one might sketch on a napkin, not the work of a professional designer, and that led me to think of some of the oddball American marques of the era. The first one that came to mind that had that slab-sided inelegant design was the MUNTZ JET.
The split windshield was replaced with a single curved windshield with no frame across the top. They added three fins to the back and a goofy nose to the front, and put Dodge or Plymouth front bumpers on front and back, discarding the distinctive tubular frame bumpers which give the Muntz a lot of its style. The only thing I can't identify with certainty is the grill, which is unusual for that period. So there you have it. Thus ends the Mystery of Boston Blackie's TV Car.
ADDENDUM: The episode Inside Crime features a chase sequence beginning at 20:00 which provides some good views of the car in action. It appears that the tail end is considerably different from the blunt Muntz tail, and sloped down strongly between the three tail fins. Blackie's car also has skirts on the front wheelwells as well as the rear, giving it a real tublike appearance. Still the overall form and distinctive front end indicate the car was based on a Muntz Jet.