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Home / History / Female Land Speed Record Set 36 Years Ago

 

Kitty O'Neil MotivatorKitty O’Neil is one cool woman. In the late 1970’s, she may have been the most famous stunt person, male or female, on the planet, despite being deaf since childhood due to having smallpox, measles, and the mumps. She played Wonder Woman from time to time, even one time taking a leap of 127 feet, which was stunt record at that time for both men and women.

She was also a skilled driver, and was the driver of the Bandit in “Smokey and the Bandit II.” Perhaps her greatest claim to fame was setting the female land speed record on December 6, 1976 when she drove the Motivator, a rocket-powered dragster 512 miles per her. Today, 36 years later, her record still stands.

 

About the author: Andrew Greene

 

Now playing the role of grumpy old man in the foothills of Northern California’s Gold Country, Andrew has had a life-long love affair with vehicles of all sorts, from the bicycle he pedaled across the continent in 1991 to the armored personnel carriers he drove in the Army to the bamboo rafts, elephants, motorcycle taxis, ferries and buses he traveled by during the 13 years he lived and worked in South East Asia. Always eager to learn more about how the people of the world get from here to there in their day-today lives, he, a professional journalist, has been covering the vehicle industry for years.

 

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