Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt is a remarkable tale from an era of American motorsport that has all but faded into legend, when ideas, determination and hard work were enough to fashion reality from dreams. David Abbott Jenkins, better known as "Ab," almost single-handedly started the story of speed on the Bonneville Salt Flats of his native Utah, and with it much of the heritage of a whole branch of the sport.
After "discovering" the Salt Flats' potential for speed on a motorcycle in the 1920s, Jenkins became a regular on the board track and hill climb scene before teaming up with the Pierce-Arrow car company to establish endurance speed records at Bonneville in 1932-33, and then launched a personal PR campaign to convince Europe's leaders of the burgeoning land speed record movement like Sir Malcolm Campbell and George Eyston, to come to Bonneville to pursue their own speed goals. This they did, and proceeded to break most of Ab's early records...until he broke them back with his own series of cars dubbed "Mormon Meteors," built in association with Augie Duesenberg.
It's all related via wonderful archival footage and interviews, with actor/racer Patrick Dempsey bringing Jenkins' memories to evocative life in voiceover. But the story transcends history by becoming a tale of family legacies, as Jenkins' son Marv, who served on the crew of his dad's racecars, oversees the restoration of the V12-powered “Mormon Meteor III” from decades of neglect to running condition for a ceremonial lap on the salt (BELOW).
The story is interwoven with HD interviews with car and racing aficionados including Jay Leno and Col. Andy Green, the current land speed holder, who gets to take the restored MMIII
out onto the salt. The car now resides in Salt Lake City's Price Museum of Speed (www.pricemuseumofspeed.org
), which also produced this film.
Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt is available on DVD for $19.95 directly from www.boysofbonneville.com, or for instant rental or purchase via Amazon.com.