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Ab Jenkins in two Sensational 24-Hour Runs at Bonneville

Two twenty-four hour runs by Ab Jenkins, the legendary Salt Lake City, Utah record setter are the subject of this 1935 film covering the event at the Bonneville Salt Flats. It is a promotional piece that was produced for E.L. Cord’s Auburn-Cord-Dusenberg Company to generate needed publicity for his automotive empire. Duesenberg president Harold Ames, and Roy Faulkner, head of the Auburn Automobile Company were in charge of the effort.

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  • L to R: Augie Duesenberg, Ab Jenkins, Harvey Firestone, unknown, photo courtesy of Racemaker Press

The action starts at the five-minute mark covering Jenkins’ run in a stock supercharged Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster that he used to raise the mark in seventy AAA speed records for stock cars in the 24-hour run. The last ten minutes of the video cover the first run on the salt of the Duesenberg Special, with which he would set a one-hour record of 153.97 mph; the challenging twenty-four hour run was completed at an average speed of 135.47 mph.

Later in 1935 Jenkins bought the Special from the Duesenberg Company and rebuilt and re-powered the machine with a 750 hp Curtiss Conqueror V-12. He returned to Bonneville with the now re-named Mormon Meteor for another run there in 1936, that story can be found here at HMN. Earlier coverage showing some of Ab Jenkins other record runs can be found here along with one at Indy in a Cord here.

6 responses to “Ab Jenkins in two Sensational 24-Hour Runs at Bonneville

  1. I just love how AB tosses out a note with rubber bands holding it to a rock!
    Imagine driving and writing while he wheels that awesome Duesenberg!
    Yeah, these are cool videos for sure. Thanks for posting them. I have seen the car in real life, and it is truly great.

  2. The image of Ab Jenkins in the Auburn Speedster with spats and external horns is caption elsewhere as being for a movie sequence. Does anyone know what movie this might be. I can find no movies with such an bespatted Speedster.

  3. It’s my understanding that the only known print of this film was discovered in an old Auburn, Indiana, movie house when they were cleaning it out or tearing it down. It makes sense to me that they would find it in Auburn, because I can’t imagine it being distributed very widely.

  4. As a teen in the 60’s I worked with my grandfather. He once mentioned a relative (cousin?) who drove for Duesenberg testing and racing in earlier years in the mid-west. I’ve seen a number of things about Ab Jenkins in the past years and wonder if he is that person my grandfather talked about. Now I wish I had listened more.

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