Bill Jenks (1930 - October 3, 2009) of Anaheim, California was introduced to the world of hot rodding in 1946, when he turned 16 and could barely legally drive his 1932 Ford highboy roadster. The same year he became a member of the Lancers and entered the lakes for the first time in November, pushing his roadster up to 102 mph. The 16 year old teenager was not just only a first-timer, but he was also the youngest driver as well. Bill lived close of Chuck Potvin's Potvin Automotive and would often drop by. One day in 1949, Bill pulled up at the parking lot of Chuck's shop in a 1937 Oldsmobile Coupe, saving his roadster for lake racing, he hit the brakes but the car kept rolling smashing through a cement wall pushing the wall back Chuck's desk and Chuck himself several feet back. Bill had not the funds to recover the damages so Chuck gave him an offer to work of the expenses. Chuck told him "It will be safer for all to hire you and get you off the streets." Bill had become Potvin Automotive's first employee, he was also the longest serving in the shop as well. Chuck had 5 full-time employees during the busiest years. Bill learned to convert Stromberg 97 carburetors to alcohol and rebuild Zephyr ignitions, giving Chuck more time to grinding cams and making improvements to the dynamometer. July 1950, Bill was shipped overseas to serve the American army during the Korea war. When his military stint was completed two years later, Bill stopped by Chuck's shop for a visit and Chuck asked "Ready to go back to work?" Bill had not planned to go back to Potvin's shop to continue work, but he figured it would do until he found himself something better to do. Bill's mechanical abilities improved and Chuck had enough faith to let him operate the cam grinder. Bill worked for Chuck until Dean Moon bought the shop in 1960, he continued working from the old Potvin Cam facility in Anaheim, managing the company for Dean. Bill was still grinding cams on the original Potvin grinders, making both Potvin's and his own designs. When Dean built the machine shop at Mooneyes in Santa Fe Springs in 1962, Bill moved to this new facility. He worked at this location for the next 40+ years until his retirement last month. He came to work with his signature lunchbox every single day like clockwork, without fail. Mooneyes was his second home. All this thanks to a 1937 Oldsmobile with faulty brakes. Bill passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 3, 2009.
Bill Jenks' Cars
Bill Jenks' 1932 Ford Roadster
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