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History Hupmobile that Raced at Bonneville Alongside Ab Jenkins

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Cord Blomquist, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. alsancle
    Joined: Nov 30, 2005
    Posts: 1,565

    alsancle
    Member

    Cord, I would definitely talk to the ACD museum. At a minimum they will know where his letters are.

    What sort of modifications were made to the Comet engine and are you making the same to the replacement?
     
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  2. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    I just sent a message to the ACD.

    I'm unsure of the history of the Hupp Comet engine, but Snowberger was famous for using semi-stock cars, rather than custom racers. Snowberger was playing moneyball over 60 years before Billy Bean and the Oakland As. Rather than spending $25,000 on a custom car, Snowberger raced $1500 semi-stock cars. He thought they were more reliable because they weren't custom-engineered with precise tolerances, and he thought they were more economically disposable, which was crucial as race cars do tend to crash.

    So I don't think that Snowberger did intense modifications to the Hupp Comet motor. I know it had four carbs on it, but I'm not sure much else was changed. I believe the block was also cast aluminum, rather than cast Iron, to lighten the car.

    I'll ask my dad about this further. I may also try to contact John Snowberger about it. He should know just about everything since he restored the Hupp Comet using that motor.
     
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  3. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    @alsancle here's a description of the Hupp Comet engine from John Snowberger's book about his father:

    [​IMG]

    So I was wrong about the entire block being aluminum but a lot of other pieces were. The above also explains Dr. Knoch's writing to Bosch regarding a magneto.

    My father's plan to is to keep the Hupp H motor in the car stock, as Dr. Knoch would have had it in the early 1930s. His goal is to make the Bonneville Hupp a drivable car while preserving every bit of history possible.
     
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  4. LOW LID DUDE
    Joined: Aug 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,222

    LOW LID DUDE
    Member
    from Colorado

    Wow what a cool story about a piece of history survivor in Denver.
     
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  5. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News may provide some help.
     
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  6. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,473

    BJR
    Member

    Have you contacted the Hupmobile club for more info on the Comet?
     
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  7. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    @s55mercury66 I followed-up on your suggestion only to be told to go to newspaperarchive.com, which did not yield anything helpful

    However, that inspired me to talk to other people in Salt Lake and in Utah and I found that there is a treasure trove of information at the University of Utah's Marriott Library. I'll be getting in touch with the Salt Flats expert there tomorrow.

    @BJR I'm working on getting in touch with folks at the Hupmobile Club now
     
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  8. You might get in touch with @Nicks Hot Rod Garage. He knows all the old timers in the Denver area which could be of some help to you. Great project!
     
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  9. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    @cactus1 I've just dropped @Nicks Hot Rod Garage a message about the car.

    Does anyone have any idea of how I might get ahold of letters or archival material from Bill Kenz? He's a big deal in Denver customs and supposedly worked on the Bonneville Hupp. I want to prove that somehow. Did the Kenz family donate archives to a library like I'm finding so many other racing families did?
     
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  10. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    Who do you think this is in the mechanic's coveralls posing in front of the Hupp? Is it Ab Jenkins? Maybe looks a little too young? The car is also not that tall, so this would have to be a shorter guy. I think Ab was tall.

    After seeing a couple photos of Bill Kenz from back then, I'm thinking it could be him. I noticed "Ryan" an author at the Jalopy Journal has written about Kenz and posted some photos of him. Does anyone know how to contact the author of a piece on the journal itself?

    [​IMG] d
     
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  11. Hutkikz
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 100

    Hutkikz
    Member

    Ryan is the founder and Big Cheese of this site. Just search @Ryan and click his avatar then start a conversation.
     
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  12. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    The ACD is getting back to me with photos of Augie & Ab at the Salt Flats. I'll see if that gets me anywhere. I've also hired a researcher in Denver who has found a photo of the car in an unfinished state from the Niederhut Carriage Company archives as well as an interview with Al Niederhut from the 1970s that discusses the car. I may also have some Bill Kenz materials soon thanks to a member of the H.A.M.B.

    Another researcher I've hired has convinced me the man leaning against the car above was in Ab Jenkins' pit crew as there's a similar looking man in photos of the Mormon Meteor crew. Ab may be the man behind the car on the left in all white in the photo below. Dr. Knoch is on the right wearing the tie. Is that Marv Jenkins between them?

    [​IMG]

    I've also just scanned two hand-written letters from Mrs. Knoch to Bill Digney who wrote a piece that mentioned the Bonneville Hupp for "Cars & Parts" that appeared as a two-part series in the July and August of 1977 issues. One letter is dated September 25, 1975 and the other is dated November 3, 1975.

    In the September 25 letter, Mrs. Knoch refers to Dr. Knoch as part of Ab Jenkins' racing crew. She also comments that Augie Duesenberg loved their German Shepherd "Jerry" and attempted to buy one of the same lineage.

    In the November 3 letter, she recounts how Dr. Knoch drove the car before they were married in 1932 and that she called it "Doctor's Courtin' Car." She also mentions that if Mr. Digney cannot get in touch with the current owner (Don Crites at the time) that she also spoke to Bill Kenz about Mr. Digney's questions about the car. She says Kenz helped build the Hupp and then says "believe me he is 'a brain.'" I think she was probably right about Kenz.

    Please keep the tips and leads headed my way. I'm finding out a lot of new things the Hupp!
     
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  13. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    I've found an interview with Al Niederhut, who's dad built the body for the Bonneville Hupp. You can see him mention it on pages 22, 23, and 41 of this PDF. He glosses over the subject a bit as this interview as done in 1988 when Al was quite along in years and tends to bounce from topic to topic, but it's nice to hear about the car straight from on of the creators.

    I've also found a few more photos of the Niederhut Carriage Company via archives in Denver, so you can see where this original all-steel body was built:

    1895
    1895-neiderhut.jpg

    1916
    1916-neiderhut.jpg

    1926
    1926-neiderhut.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    I just read the Cars & Parts issues you mentioned with the features on Russell Snowberger, the first racer to use the Hupp Comet engine. I was not familiar with him but WOW what a incredible life he lived. Another example that the legends we have all read about were not the only brainiacs. I would like to read the book on his racing days.

    Edit: Found one on ebay for $400.00 and one other on Amazon for $660.00. I'll keep looking. He is definitely more famous than I realized.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
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  15. corndog
    Joined: Nov 27, 2007
    Posts: 4,421

    corndog
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Indiana

    Very very interesting to read! Thank you!!
     
  16. Nailhead A-V8
    Joined: Jun 11, 2012
    Posts: 1,145

    Nailhead A-V8
    Member

    Absolutely amazing! looks like a little roadster til you see the pic of the man standing next to it and realize it's about the same size as a mini-bus! I once found a '33 Hupp sedan in the woods the owner of the property wouldn't sell sell it claiming it and about 30 other old cars were part of a "rust art project" o_O even sitting completely hemmed in by trees it looked like it was flying.....
     
  17. ARNIE
    Joined: Nov 15, 2004
    Posts: 535

    ARNIE
    Member

    Frank, what is the name of the book you are looking for?
     
  18. Great history/story - the car is really one sweet looking ride ...
     
  19. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    Arnie, RUSSELL SNOWBERGER is a 783 page book.......really a bio written by his son John.
     
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  20. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    Here are photos of the car with the interior complete. I'll be posting some questions about instruments and gauges soon. I'm not sure the best way to go with our 6V system in terms of getting gauges that look great and work great for this awesome custom. 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg 9.jpg 10.jpg 11.jpg 12.jpg 13.jpg
     
  21. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

  22. Cord Blomquist
    Joined: Jan 16, 2017
    Posts: 39

    Cord Blomquist

    Update: Paint has been touched up including removing "Salt Flats Racer" which I thought was anachronistic and the instruments have been installed. I just need to get headlights on her now:

    IMG_6137.JPG IMG_6138.JPG IMG_6139.JPG IMG_6140.JPG IMG_6141.JPG IMG_6142.JPG
     
  23. alsancle
    Joined: Nov 30, 2005
    Posts: 1,565

    alsancle
    Member

  24. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,613

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Very interesting history here. Did he ever get a supercharger, and could there be a connection between this car and Hup's supercharged model of the late 30s?
     
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