Tagged With women who like cars

When you come from a family with a name like Moss and you decide to get behind the wheel of a car, you better be good. If your dad drove at Indianapolis, your mum competed in rallies, and your brother is considered the best Formula One driver to never win a World Championship, though, it's not like you really have any other choice. It's a damn good thing Pat Moss had plenty of talent.

They say that all it takes to achieve something it so speak it into existence. Name it, and suddenly you can wrap your fingers around it; the mysterious it moves into the tangible realm. When Ethel Flock Mobley's father named her after the gasoline he used in his taxi, then it really only makes sense that this Alabama baby would grow up aching to feel the control that only comes from careening a car around a race track at impossible speeds.

Imagine: you're walking down the streets of west London when, suddenly, a Matchless motorcycle comes screaming past. At the helm is a teenage girl, her hair flying wildly behind her. If you didn't see it with your own eyes, you might have doubted the passenger in the sidecar: but it is most definitely a collie seated beside its owner. You would have just witnessed a young Mildred Petre falling madly in love with speed.

Aloha Wanderwell. The name itself sounds destined for adventure, and there was adventure aplenty in the 1920s for a young woman eager to see the world. Back then, before the jet age, the world outside your front door was still shrouded in mystery, more than reason enough for the Winnipeg-born Wanderwell to sign up, at the age of sixteen, for an expedition around the world.

It's 1934. The driver that has just set the fastest Women's Outer Circuit record at Brooklands parks her car and emerges, triumphant. At only 4'10", she's dwarfed next to her 10.5 litre V12 Delage, a vehicle that she has almost effortlessly mastered. The adoring press captures her radiant smile as she removes her helmet and smooths a hand over her immaculate baby blue overalls. Her name is Kay Petre, and she is the first woman to go 209km/h around England's famous banked circuit.

The first time Betty Skelton piloted an aircraft solo, it was the year 1938 and she was a mere 12 years old. Yeah, sure, it was technically illegal, but she'd been hopping in open seats of aircrafts in her spare time for as long as she could remember. She was probably more prepared to be a pilot at age 12 than most of us are to do, like, anything. Ever.

War had a habit of making women into racers. With the men occupied on the battlefield, someone had to manoeuvre ambulances through shell-cratered roads at high speed, rushing to and from emergencies. Some women became absolutely infatuated with the challenge and the adrenaline and looked to find ways to get that same heady rush after the war. One of those women was England's Gwenda Hawkes.

What do you do when your husband dies, leaving you a widow at age 27? Do you go racing, compete in motor boating, travel around the world, become a published author, and get involved in a scandal over a nude photograph? If you're Camille du Gast, you'll be doing all of those and still find time to go ballooning, become a concert pianist, and become the only woman in the Automobile Club de France.

Mastering rough roads shelled into near-oblivion, Violette Morris sidestepped the artillery craters on her motorcycle. It was 1916 on the slopes of the Somme in the midst World War I, and Morris, a field nurse, was on her way to the battlefield. The soldiers who righted her bike when she fell weren't aware that they were helping a woman. With a shapeless outfit and close-cropped hair, Morris could easily pass for a man on the battlefield.