I told Ab if he wanted to be the fastest on earth that I would design a jet car for the record, designed around the 4000 lb thrust TG-180 gas turbine that we used on the P-80. When I first saw a print of the engine early in 1944 instead of designing an airplane around it I immediately laid out a land speed record jet car design. Ab wasn't enthusiastic at first. He really thought it best to do it with a wheel driven vehicle. He said: "How about two Curtiss Conquerers?" Not enough power. "Then how about two Allisons?" No Ab, the British will kill us with their two stage Rolls Royce supercharged job and Fred would come back to haunt us the rest of our lives if Rolls Royce ever knocked us off. It had to be an all-American project including the tires. Dunlop had the only 400 MPH capability. Our tires could be no larger O.D. than 36 inches for my design and knowing Dunlop they would probably go 48 inches or more for 600 MPH. Ab said he would look for a sponsor and not to worry about tires that Firestone could do anything in the world.
Early in May Ab called me from Salt Lake City and told me he wanted me to meet with Lou Welch and to meet him at the Indianapolis Speedway during the qualifying trials. I joined Ab at Indy and met Lou Welch and was introduced to the legendary NOVI race cars. I also met Ralph Hepburn who was 54 years old at the time, the same age as Ab. Hepburn and I were to become very close friends when he joined us as Director of Racing at the Tucker Corporation two years later. Lou, Ralph and Ab were ecstatic about the NOVI. Its creators Bud Windfield and Gene Marcenac were wringing an unbelievable 400 HP plus, BG (Before Granatelli, that is). Not to short circuit my good friend, STP Andy, as Andy in later years was to nurture this engineering masterpiece to an awesome 817 HP out of 168 cubic inches.
All I ask is that you let me streamline the vehicle with all four wheels fully enclosed. I had even incorporated the first adjustable aerodynamic wing to stabilize the C/G [center of gravity] on the 10 mile circle.
The Novi-powered Jenkins/Tremulis/Welch streamliner with adjustable winglets. June 1, 1946
and running with it and then being forced to drop it. At any rate, Lou decided to streamline the NOVI. My drawing was given to Frank Kurtis and the car was streamlined, but because of the limited budget the wheels were left exposed.
TG-180: Jets45.com, http://tanks45.tripod.com/Jets45/ListOfEngines/EnginesUSA.htm
Rudy Caraciolla in the record-breaking Mercedez: Mercedez-Benz Museum, Stuttgart, http://eblog.mercedes-benz-passion.com/2010/01/commitment-to-competition-mercedes-benz-record-cars-1934-to-1939/
Ab Jenkins, Lew Welch, Novi streamliner at Bonneville: University of Utah J. Willard Library, http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/UU_Photo_Archives&CISOPTR=25024