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Anyone been up Mt Mitchell (NC) lately? If so what was your time? (Ab Jenkins record run)

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  • Anyone been up Mt Mitchell (NC) lately? If so what was your time? (Ab Jenkins record run)

    Ab Jenkins accomplished it in 45 minutes back in 1931. That compared to an average time of 11/2 hours. Of course the road was gravel. In any event it was but one of dozens of records set by Jenkins (and others) in the '31 Four Season convertible roadster in the 1930-31 time frame.

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    Richard Quinn
    Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

  • #2
    He must have had one flat tire on the way to the top! (Unless he removed one spare to reduce weight.)



    • #3
      He may have stopped to take pictures. George Williams and Ken Mooney drove a 31 Four Seasons to the top of Pikes Peak. When he started a bunch of lead foots got behind him and George was keeping the pace 2/3rds the way up when he let them by. When he got to the top, the racers asked him what took so long and George said he stopped to take pictures.

      We had 2 Four Seasons Roadsters in Tucson at one time but sadly both owners and cars are gone.

      Bob Miles
      Tucson AZ
      Home of 6 Volt Paradise.


      • #4
        Interesting. Try to find a road designated Hwy 10 near Mt. Mitchell today. I tried to do a bit of historical research, and found a 1938 map of Yancey county. The two main roads through nearby Burnsville, and Micahville, were Hwy 19E and Hwy 104. The road up to Mt. Mitchell shows on the map as a toll road. I'm not surprised that the road numbers are sketchy for the period. Even to this day, in the region, there are still some pretty scary dirt roads that are designated State Highways. Roads that go through historic mountain villages like Edgemont, and Mortimer.

        It is possible to drive from Colletsville, NC by Mortimer, and through Edgemont, NC and emerge onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, on unpaved NC hwy 90. That's nearly 30 miles and will take about an hour and fifteen minutes on a good day. If you really want some white knuckle excitement, try it pulling a four horse trailer.

        By the way...the closest thing I can find for a NC Hwy 10 today, is a rather meandering two lane road designated Western NC 10. It runs from Polkville, NC over to Catawba, NC. Quite a few miles east of Mt. Mitchell.

        Thanks for posting the article with the picture Richard. Makes me think of a famous movie line..."Once upon a time...on a planet...far far away..."
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975


        • #5
          John, my friend Brian Leblanc operates, which offers the history of old roads throughout NC and beyond. Old NC10 was known as "The Central Highway" of North Carolina before it was redesignated at US70. It indeed passed nearby Mt. Mitchell in Buncombe County. You can read the history here. Some of the old NC10 pavement is apparently still passable, at least on foot.
          Mike Davis
          Regional Manager, North Carolina
          1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"


          • #6
            Yeah Mike, I'm very familiar with Hwy 70. Actually, I have been on a lot of those roads. Mostly in vehicles, but many of the dirt roads and mountain trails on horseback. I enjoy the paved mountain roads by motorcycle. While the popular bike roads are Highway's 70, 74, 64, 18, 321, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most challenging is hwy 221 all the way from Marion to Twin Oaks, NC. It is a grueling journey with all the mountain experience of the Blue Ridge Parkway without the maintenance and manicured overlooks. It is one of those roads that will give you a years worth of mountain experience in a few white knuckle hours.

            I drove it in my Lark once. By the time I got home, I was not only tired of the mountains, but didn't get back in the Lark for several days.

            AS I tried to imply in my first post...thinking of the era in which Ab Jenkins made that epic was truly an amazing feat. I'm not familiar with the Franklin cars, but understand that they were a beast of an automobile for their time. Not a cheap machine either. Besting the Franklin's record, driving on rutted, washboard dirt, steep hills, terrifying down hill grades, with hairpin switchback curves, 1930 brakes...not a journey for the timid.

            Richard asked if anyone has been up Mt. MIchell lately. Well, I did last year. I was with a couple of buddies on our motorcycles. We were in no hurry, so I didn't pay attention to how long it took. Today, I finally got around to putting my new license plate on my motorcycle. I've had the plate since April. So, that tells you how much time I've had to ride lately. Didn't ride it today either. Now I'm thinking about a ride up to Mitchell. How long will it take? Again...I'll be in no hurry.
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975


            • #7
              Last time I was up on the top of Mount Mitchell it was disconcerting to see the blight that had killed off a lot of the trees on the mountain.
              HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


              Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

              Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)


              • #8
                Never heard of Cannonball Baker, so i Googled it.
                Erwin "Cannonball" Baker in New York with his Indian motorcycle after his 1912 international journey. Erwin George "Cannon Ball" Baker (March 12, 1882 – May 10, 1960) was an American motorcycle and automobile racing driver and organizer in the first half of the 20th century.

                Erwin Baker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


                101st Airborne Div. 326 Engineers Ft Campbell Ky.