This years Best of Show at the 2007 Concour d’Elegance at Pebble Beach is the 1935 Duesenberg SJ that was dubbed the “Mormon Meteor” by its original owner. The car was built with special contours and wind resistant properties to achieve the land speed record. Driving the car for the record speed was Ab Jenkins – a Bonneville Salt Flat racer since 16 years-old and at the time of the record Mayor of Salt Lake City. The “Mormon Racer” is a Historic car that has returned again to glory.
Powering the record setting Duesenberg was a 420 cubic inch Duesenberg J engine. It was a dual overhead camshaft engine with four cylinders per head that cranked out 400 horsepower. In 1935 400 horsepower was a staggering number compared to the 85-hp of a Ford Flathead engine. All that muscle beneath the bonnet gave the Duesenberg with Jenkins at the wheel the might to achieve the land-speed record of 135.47 mph average speed in a 24-hour period.
As part of the agreement with Duesenberg Ad Jenkins was permitted to purchase the race car for a mind boggling sum of $4,800. Over the years Jenkins had some minor work done to the car and drove it 20,000 in Salt Lake City before selling the car in 1946. No word was provided on what the second owner of the car paid, nor what the subsequent owners after that paid. In 2004, though, at the Gooding and Company Auction at Pebble Beach the “Mormon Meteor” set another record. The closing bid of $4,445,000 is the highest price yet paid for any Duesenberg.
While there are many car brands of old and new, and many car models throughout the world, nothing comes close to a Duesy. TheÂ word itself is fixed in our vernacular as a term of amazement and appreciation. The “Mormon Meteor” has had a storied past and is destined to continue to be record setter for life.