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OLDE TIME RACING -1935 DUESENBERG SJ SPEEDSTER - AB JENKINS MORMON METEOR - BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS

1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster

Engine No. J557

400 bhp

420 cubic inch inline eight-cylinder engine

Dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder

Supercharged, dual carburetors

3-speed manual gearbox

Live axle suspension with leaf springs

In an era of record-setters, Ab Jenkins and his Duesenberg Special the "Mormon Meteor" set them by the volume. Racing on Jenkins’ beloved Bonneville salt flats, Ab Jenkins and the Mormon Meteor performed landmark miracles of speed and endurance from both automobile and driver. There are few enough Model J Duesenbergs and they are the pinnacle of American automobiles in the classic era. Each is a triumph of design, materials and construction.

Only one is the most powerful, the fastest and the most recognized.

It is Ab Jenkins’ Mormon Meteor.

Ab Jenkins first explored the Bonneville salt flats at 16 and brought racing to them in 1925 when he challenged the Union Pacific Railroad to a race across Bonneville to mark the opening of the first highway from Wendover to Salt Lake City. During the Twenties Jenkins was a successful building contractor based in Salt Lake City. He loved to drive, and he loved the Bonneville salt flats. Record-setting was his recreation. He was superb at it, a talented mechanic, and his honesty and business acumen lent itself to successful promotion and excellent relations with suppliers and manufacturers.

Jenkins set two cross-country records, then bowed out of point-to-point record runs out of concern that increased traffic and population along the route had made them unsafe. He concentrated on closed course records set on his beloved Bonneville salt flats.

The first record attempt at Bonneville came in 1932 with a Pierce-Arrow V12. Driving without relief, as he would do on most of his record runs, his face coated in grease to protect it in the open cockpit from the wind and temperatures that reached 112º in the heat of the day, Jenkins completed 2,710 miles in 24 hours, averaging 112.92 miles per hour. He raised the speed to an average of 117.77 mph in 1933, then brought it to 127.229 mph in 1934.

Ab Jenkins loved competition, and he believed passionately that the Bonneville salt flats were the ideal site for speed records. He worked tirelessly to bring others, particularly the British who regularly came to Daytona Beach, to run with him at Bonneville. His campaign was successful in 1935, attracting John Cobb, Malcolm Campbell and Captain George Eyston to the salt.

Jenkins opened the 1935 season setting a series of stock car speed records with an Auburn Speedster, then drove 68 miles per hour on an Allis-Chalmers farm tractor, an experience "like riding a frightened bison." Jenkins then turned the salt over to John Cobb and his Napier-Railton special, leaving in place for Cobb’s team all the facilities that had been set up for the Auburn and Allis-Chalmers record runs. Cobb established a new 24-hour record of 134.85mph.

Jenkins moved back onto the salt two weeks later driving the Duesenberg Special.
 

OLDE TIME RACING -1935 DUESENBERG SJ SPEEDSTER - AB JENKINS MORMON METEOR - BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS






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