Jessi Combs, Fastest Woman on Four Wheels, May Get into Guinness Record Books

Connor Hoffman
Photo credit: North American Eagle

From Car and Driver

  • Jessi Combs died on August 28 while trying to beat a longstanding 512.7-mph record. Now her speed on that day may be immortalized in the Guinness record books.
  • Combs, who was part of the North American Eagle land-speed-record team, was also a successful off-road racer, a custom automotive fabricator, and TV host.
  • The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles opened an exhibit on Sunday about Combs's life and accomplishments that runs through Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Jessi Combs was trying to become the fastest woman on earth, and she died in the attempt on August 28, at the wheel of a North American Eagle land-speed-record vehicle on a dry lake bed in Oregon. Now her speed on that day could be immortalized in the Guinness world-record books. Her average speed of 531.889 mph, if accepted, beats the previous record by 19.2 mph.

The Guinness news was announced during an event held in Combs's honor at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Saturday.

The previous speed record for a woman was held by Kitty O'Neil, who set the record in 1976 with a speed of 512.7 mph. Combs hit 515.346 mph and 548.432 mph during her two runs, but the average speed (531.889 mph) will be the one submitted for the world record.

Photo credit: North American Eagle

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is hosting "Jessi Combs: Life at Full Speed," a four-day exhibition honoring the late driver. Her Jeep Wrangler and some of her motorcycles, helmets, racing medals, notebooks, and memorabilia from her time on the reality show Overhaulin', are all on display until September 25.

"Jessi Combs was an inspiration to the entire automotive community,” the director of the Petersen Museum said in a statement. “This exhibit is an opportunity to move people, especially the future generation of women builders and enthusiasts, through Jessi’s incredible life story.”

Standard admission to the museum and donations will benefit the Jessi Combs Foundation, an organization announced on Thursday dedicated to "educating, inspiring, and empowering the next generation of female trailblazers and stereotype breakers."

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