December 6, 1976 – Kitty O’Neil sets a land speed record

Alvord Desert in the state of Oregon hosted Kitty O’Neil and her team as she chased the women’s land speed record on this day in 1976. Kitty was working a stuntwoman when she met Bill Fredrick, a stunt technology maker, who built the SMI Motivator, the car which she would eventually pilot in her quest to conquer the existing women’s land speed record of 308.506 mph (496.492 km/h) set in 1965 by Lee Breedlove in the Spirit of America – Sonic 1. 

SMI Motivator

Kitty landed a $20,000 contract to pilot the vehicle, under the stipulation that she could not pursue the broader land speed record of 630.478 mph (1014.656 km/h), as it was to be broke by stuntman Hal Needham in the same car. When the dust settled during her run she found she had smashed the women’s record with an official speed of 512.710 mph (825.127 km/h).

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