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A Meteor leaves UMFA, and a Lakester takes its place

Published July 16, 2012 1:42 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

One of the Mormon Meteors is leaving the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

The Mormon Meteor I, the 1935 Duesenberg SJ speedster that Ab Jenkins first ran on the Bonneville Salt Flats, is leaving the exhibit at UMFA, "Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile." It's heading for the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles, a prestigious event set for September near Canton, Ohio.

The Mormon Meteor I had been paired in the UMFA exhibit with its younger brother, the Mormon Meteor III, on which Jenkins set several speed and endurance records at Bonneville — some of which still stand.

But the Meteor's berth won't stay empty. The 1950 Eddie Miller Jr. Lakester will make its debut at the exhibit on Tuesday.

The Lakester was originally sketched by Eddie Miller Sr. in the 1930s, meant as a challenge to the Mormon Meteor I. Miller's son, Eddie Jr., built the car in 1950 from various recycled car parts — making the tubular steel chassis by hand, drilled it to make it lighter, and wrapping it in a sleek aluminum body he designed.

On its first run in Los Angeles' dry lakes in 1950, the Lakester hit 139 mph. Two years later, it reached 156 mph at Bonneville.

The car is now owned by Don Ferguson Sr., and was restored in 2010 by Don Ferguson Jr.

The "Speed" exhibit remains at UMFA through Sept. 16.