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Faces: Life in the Fast Lane

Aug 01st 2013


John Price’s life reads like an action movie script, complete with an escape from Nazis, intrigue in exotic countries and very fast cars.

Originally from Germany, Price (born Hans Joachim Praiss) fled the Holocaust with his family as a child in 1939. “All Jews had to wear yellow stars on our clothing—those are the things you remember,” he says. He also remembers Kristallnacht, when Nazis stormed through Berlin, destroying Jewish-owned shops. “We went to Panama—the only country that would take us in where we could get a visa,” he says. In 1940, the family finally made it to New York.

Price later moved to Salt Lake City to study geology at the University of Utah. After earning his degree in 1956, he started J. Price Construction Company, which led to many other businesses, including Salt Lake Hardware.

In 2002, Price, a friend and supporter of Pres. George W. Bush, became US Ambassador to the African island nations Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros until 2005. He and his wife Marcia helped fund the Utah Museum of Fine Artsbuilding.

Now writing on world issues for the Washington Times and other publications, Price still travels to Africa and is an advisor for his son Steve Price’s Price Realty Group. Through it all, he’s held a passion for vintage cars.

“My first car was a Ford Victoria from 1950, and I cherished that car,” he says. “I bought a new [Chevrolet] Bel Air in 1955, and when I could afford a little more, I bought a 1956 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.”

Now he acquires cars for display at the Price Museum of Speed in Salt Lake City. The museum houses 30 vintage race cars from around the world, including land-speed-record challengers and antique race cars dating back to 1904. The capstone of the museum’s collection is the Mormon Meteor III, which Utah racing pioneer Ab Jenkins drove to set 94 endurance records—12 still stand.

Price says when he first approached Jenkins’ son Marv about buying the Meteor, the car was in the Jenkins’ home. Jenkins and Price became friends and began restoring the car to run on the Salt Flats. “I wanted him to get behind the wheel because he knew more about the car than anyone,” Price says. The motor was finished a year later in September 2008. “It was like music.”

Jenkins, who was 88, died that month. Instead of attending the funeral, Price kept the appointment he’d set with Jenkins to take the car on the Salt Flats. “I drove the car seamlessly,” Price says. “I was daydreaming Marv was with me. I was shifting through the gears, and I felt at one time, Ab was with me.”

Touring the museum on 600 South in Salt Lake City is by appointment only and requests can be made by calling Price’s office. “We always invite people who have something to do with racing and racing history,” he says. Shirley Muldowney, the first woman racer to hold a top fuel dragsters license, was a recent visitor.

Price tells the story behind each vehicle, but he won’t reveal the price tags. “I don’t look at them as value,” Price says. “It’s immaterial.” But he offers a hint: “It’s more than $100 . . . per car.”

Call 801-478-0309 or visit for more info or to request a tour of the museum.

The Rest of the Story

John Price’s autobiography When the White House Calls; Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile, a book featuring race cars exhibited at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts; Boys of Bonneville, a film produced by Price Museum of Speed telling the story of Ab Jenkins and the Mormon Meteor III.

By: Jaime Winston

Even in the exploration boom of the 1800s, nobody dared to explore the terrain flowing through the Green and the Colorado Rivers.⁠

That is, nobody until Major John W. Powell said the 19th Century equivalent of “Hey man, hold my beer while I try this.”⁠

Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division⁠

A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way! ⁠

We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.⁠

A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬

Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! ⁠🎉⁠

These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us.⁠ 🍽⁠

At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm⁠ 💙

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness⁠

Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing⁠

This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries ⁠

As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection⁠

Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @oquirrhslc for Betting the Bottom Dollar⁠

When COVID-19 hit Salt Lake City, Oquirrh co-owners Andrew and Angelena Fullers' dream was seriously damaged. But the Fullers keep trying to follow the rules. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @hearth_and_hill for Opening Doors⁠

As the pandemic ravages independent restaurants, Hearth and Hill has reaffirmed its commitment to small businesses in Park City and used its large dining room as an informal gathering space for the city. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @fisherbrewing for Creative Canning⁠

This year, Fisher found ways to utilize their beer, taproom space and canning capabilities for good. They created special lines of limited edition beers in custom cans to help raise funds for local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. 💙⁠

A wind storm #tbt for your feed today. 🌬️🛹⁠

2020 was a long, long, loooong year, so we asked local photographers to share what the new normal looked like through their eyes. The link is in our bio!

Just hours after being sworn in, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for a review of the boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The monuments—designated by Barack Obama in 2016 and Bill Clinton in 1996—were reduced by roughly 2 million acres by former president Donald Trump, and the executive order is seen as move towards restoring the original boundaries.⁠

Read the full story through the link in bio.⁠

📸Bears Ears National Monument: Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism

What’s your favorite park in Utah? ...