Ab Jenkins

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Ab Jenkins was an early dry lakes and salt flat racer. In 1932 Jenkins removed the fenders and windshield from a Pierce-Arrow V-12 roadster, and without factory sanction, drove around the ten mile diameter track at the Bonneville Salt Flats for 24 hours. He averaged at 112.93 mph, setting a new record, but it remained unofficial because of a dispute between driver, manufacturer and the AAA board. In 1933, Jenkins returned to the salt as a special consultant on high speed performance for Pierce Arrow. He encouraged the factory to bore the V-12 to 3 1/2", giving it a displacement of 462 ci. He bought a new V-12 convertible coupe that was specially geared for top end. Driving it around the same ten mile track for 24 hours, Jenkins turned an average speed of 177.77 mph. This meet was sanctioned by AAA, and it recorded that he broke 66 American and 14 world stock car records. Jenkins, who later became mayor of Salt Lake City, wanted to promote the salt as a speed course superior to Daytona Beach, and used his own money to make a three reel film of his 1932-1933 speed runs. Jenkins sent copies to Sir Malcolm Campbell and Reid Railton, who were known as the British speed kings. In 1934 the British invaded the salt. Record attempts were made by Campbell, Railton, John Cobb and Captain G.E.T. Eyston. When Cobb set a world record of 352 mph, Eyston drove 357 mph hours later and broke it. Suddenly speed was in the air, and Bonneville had become the center of straight line record attempts.[1]

In 1934 Ab Jenkins returned to the salt with a creation built on Pierce-Arrow V-12 chassis. The chassis was fit with a streamlined racing body and a large tail. The big British cars achieved speed through brute horsepower, using aircraft engines. Jenkins hopped up the V-12 by adding a homemade six-carburetor intake manifold. The heads were milled to increase compression. These modifications upped his horsepowers from 175 to 235, raising his average speed to 127.29 mpg. In 1935 he built a special supercharged Duesenberg, and in 1936 he built the famed Mormon Meteor. With the Mormon Meteor Jenkins brought back all the world record between 50 miles and 48 hours inclusive to the U.S. His speed for 24 hours average was 153.82 mph, and for 48 hours 148.64 mph. Jenkins continues to run the Mormon Meteor, and during the next few years he set more than 25 new records.[1]



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