AB Jenkins
AB Jenkins
Category: Historic
CLASS OF: 2023
BORN: January 25, 1883
DIED: August 9, 1956
BIRTHPLACE: Spanish Fork, Utah

• Popularized Bonneville as land speed record venue
• Set more speed records than anyone
• Set 24-hour speed record in 1936 that stood ‘til 2005
• Set 21 speed records while mayor of Salt Lake City
• Many in his 1930s aircraft-engine “Mormon Meteors” 
• Gained fame racing Union Pacific trains (1925, ’26)


It was said David Abbott Jenkins set more speed records than any man. Born in Spanish Fork, UT, Jenkins is considered the father of racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats. He got his start in 1925 racing a Union Pacific train from Salt Lake City to Wendover, and from NYC to San Francisco the following year. His Studebaker won both contests. He also began setting a series of mainly endurance records on the salt, making it racers’ preferred location over Daytona Beach and Montlhery. In the ‘30s, he ran a series of popular aircraft-engined “Mormon Meteors.” In 1936, Jenkins singlehandedly drove MM III 3,254 miles in 24 hours at 153 mph to set a record unbeaten until 2005… by an eight-man team. When WWII curtailed racing, Jenkins became Salt Lake City mayor and set 21 more speed records while in office. Just before his death, Jenkins set multiple records for Pontiac. The following year, the automaker introduced the Bonneville in his honor. Inducted into the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame in 1996.

  • Image