Ab Jenkins set numerous world unlimited automobile speed records on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats between 1932 and 1956. He was born David Abbott Jenkins on 25 January 1883 in Spanish Fork, Utah, to David Abbott Jenkins and Elizabeth Hurlow Jenkins, who were both immigrants from Wales. His parents moved to Salt Lake City in 1887. Following the death of his father in 1907, Ab went to work as a decorator and sign painter for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. He also learned the carpentry and masonry trades and in 1910 became a building contractor. He constructed numerous houses, churches, and school buildings in the Intermountain area.
Jenkins married Pearl Decker in 1903; following her death he married Evelyn Thorstenberg on 1 December 1915. He was the father of three children: Mrs. Elliott (Edna) Anderson, the daughter of Pearl Decker; and Marvin Edward Jenkins and Mrs. Heber J. (Ruth) Player, born to Evelyn Thorstenberg.