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FAMILY DECRIES PROPOSAL FOR RACE CAR

SHARE FAMILY DECRIES PROPOSAL FOR RACE CAR

The family of famous racing driver and former Salt Lake City Mayor Ab Jenkins is hopping mad over a proposal the state of Utah has made to them on handling the late speedster's car, the Mormon Meteor III, and is moving to take back control of the vehicle.

Ab Jenkins' son, Marvin, St. George, said in a telephone interview Sunday night that appointment of a consulting committee to advise the state on handling the car was "a joke, insulting and totally unacceptable" to the family.Jenkins wants the car back and said he will display it where and when the family desires. He told the Deseret News that in his opinion the state has violated terms of a 1956 deed of gift for the Meteor and has treated the car "disgracefully."

"I think Dad would like to keep it in Utah, and we would like to see it displayed some of the time at the Union Pacific Depot, but under our control," Marvin Jenkins told the Deseret News.

The vehicle is being taken out of its longtime display area in the Utah State Capitol, and Jenkins plans to take the Meteor to Dixie College in St. George to be renovated. He said it was dented and scratched, people have carved initials in the no-longer-made 8.25-18 Firestone high-speed tires, parts have been stolen and trash stuffed up the exhaust pipe.

The engine and hydraulic systems have not been maintained to museum standards and may have sustained serious damage through neglect, he added.

He said that after the car last ran at the Bonneville Salt Flats he and his father tore down the chassis to clean out salt residues and ran the engine on non-leaded fuel to clean it. But the car has clearly not had the care that a museum should give it, he said.

William Spoerle, restoration chief of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, told the Deseret News on May 14 that his institution preserves racing cars with special non-acidic preservative oil throughout and turns over each engine on a six-month schedule to prevent pistons and bearings from seizing.

"They haven't done that for the Meteor," Jenkins said. "The piston rings may have etched themselves into the cylinder walls."

He said the state moved to protect the car from vandals last year after he complained, but "the horses are gone from the stable. They let it be badly treated and the damage has been done. We want it back."

The Jenkins family and the state have spent 14 months trying to reach an agreement on the Meteor, and Jenkins said, "It's a joke. I've never received a direct answer to my letter to the governor last May, and I'm sick of it.