1930 Hupmobile Custom Bonneville Salt Flats Racer
A One-of-Kind Piece of History that Raced the Ab Jenkins’ Mormon Meteor
Artist rendering of the restored Hupmobile back at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Upper right shows Ab Jenkins with the car c. 1933.
History of the Hupmobile Bonneville Roadster
The 1930 Bonneville Hupp was built by Dr. Norbert Knoch of Denver, Colorado. He was a friend and the personal physician to Ab Jenkins, the famous race care driver who the Duesenberg “Mormon Meteor” to a 24-hour average land speed record of 135 miles-per-hour in 1935.
Dr. Knoch’s roadster raced the Bonneville for at least seven years. It is said to have reached 145.6 miles-per-hour.
The Bonneville Hup was originally a 1930 Model H 4-door touring car. Dr. Knoch bought right off the showroom floor at the Hupmobile dealership in Denver, Colorado. He then brought the car to the Niederhut Carriage Company for the construction of a custom boat-tailed body.
The body was designed by Ernest H. “Ernie” Niederhut, son of Henry E. Niederhut, who founded the company (originally Niederhut Bros.), with his brother William G. Niederhut, in 1892.
In 1931 Russell Snowberger entered his own Studebaker Indy car into the Indianapolis 500 and started on the pole and he finished 5th. Hupmobile at that time wanted to get into the Indianapolis 500 and coaxed Russell to pull the Studebaker motor out of his race car and install a Hupmobile H engine, of his design, to race at Indy for the Hupp Corporation. His car was then dubbed the “Hupp Comet.”
Bu with the deepening of the Great Depression, Hupmobile’s Indianapolis racing endeavors were short-lived. At the end of the 1932 season Russell Snowberger decided to go his own way and returned the engine and all Hupmobile-related parts back to the company.
The Hupmobile Bonneville Roadster is pictured here with Dr. N. H. Knoch, the owner, on the right wearing a tie. Augie Duesenberg is on the left and Augie’s dog occupies the driver’s seat.
The motor was then purchased by Dr. Norbert Knoch and installed in the Bonneville Hupp as he was still on his quest for speed. The engine out of the Hupmobile Comet stayed in the Bonneville for 44 years in the Frank Kleptz collection. The car was then acquired by John Snowberger, the son Russell Snowberger, and the engine was removed as John was building his father’s race car exactly as the Hupmobile Comet was originally.
White Glove Collection acquired the body and chassis of the 1930 Hupmobile Bonneville from John Snowberger and we are currently restoring it and returning it to its original condition of 1930. We have installed the correct engine that would have originally been sold with the car.