No racing website would be complete without the inclusion of Miss Linda Vaughn. Her venerable, sparkling personality has graced many a racing magazine, race track, parade and trade show. Prominently "Miss Hurst" forever, she was the first to merge Hollywood, sex and women into the ranks of NASCAR. There has been no one like her before of since. Her sparkling smile always makes you feel welcome and she is always ready to listen to or tell and old racing story.
The Linda Vaughn Story
Linda Vaughn. Miss Hurst Golden Shifter. The First Lady of Drag Racing. Trophy queen at just about every type of automotive competition including NASCAR, Indy, Formula One, etc. Linda was the sweetheart of many a race fan from the mid-60's to the early 1980's when she relinquished her titled as Miss Hurst Golden Shifter.
Linda began her career, strangely enough, as a dental technician, a part-time job she obtained while in high school. After graduating high school she began working full time as a dental technician. She soon got tired of looking into other people's mouths and decided to enter a beauty contest and to her surprise, won. Soon afterwards, in 1961, she entered another contest, this one put on by Atlanta Raceway and won that title too.
Along with her new title of Miss Atlanta Raceway (which lasted one year), Linda's job was to visit various race tracks in the south such as Charlotte, Darlington and Daytona in the pace car representing Atlanta Raceway, displaying her anatomical charms amongst her other duties as race queen.
After her reign as Miss Atlanta Raceway was up, Linda entered another beauty contest, this time sponsored by Pure Oil Company. She won that title as well, and assumed the role of Miss Pure Firebird a position she retained for 3 1/2 years 'til Pure Oil merged with Union Oil Company.
That merger signaled the end of her career as Miss Firebird and Linda was suddenly out of a job. She thought her career as race queen was over. All was not lost, though. Linda being the automotive oriented gal that she is, opened up an issue of Hot Rod Magazine and noticed an ad from Hurst who were looking for a new Miss Hurst Golden Shifter.
Linda decided to enter and won the preliminary at Atlanta, then the title overall amongst 200 other entries. Thus began Linda's long career as Miss Hurst and her association with Hurst Industries.
Linda quickly became a prominent figure [pun intended] in the drag racing world and to a lesser extent in other forms of automotive competition.
In the mid-60's, she along with Don Garlits and Richard Petty, toured military bases in Vietnam, giving our boys moral support and briefly taking their minds off the hell of war.
Towards the late 1960's, Linda's services became in such demand that Hurst had to hire additional blonde beauties - dubbed the Hurstettes, to fill in for Linda at various racing events across the USA.
At more prestigious events, Linda alongside the other two or three Hurstettes, made their appearance. Yes, a sight for sore eyes indeed!
In addition to her duties as Miss Hurst, in the mid-1970's Linda also was the spokes model for Gratiot Auto Supply appearing in their ads featured in the many car magazines of the day. She also starred in Gratiot's television commercials, which aired in the Detroit area.
Linda's other TV appearances include a couple of Hollywood films namely, Gumball Rally and Stroker Ace, starring Burt Reynolds. Later, she was the host of The Exciting World of Speed and Beauty, which aired on ESPN in the 1990's.
Not all of Linda's time at the races was spent as a trophy queen but as a competitor, as she got behind the wheel and competed (albeit briefly) in sports car competition after receiving her competition drivers license from the SCCA after successfully completing the driving course offered at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
After semi-retiring from the automotive scene during the years of 1983-87, Linda returned to her first love. She teamed up with Mr. Gasket Performance Group, a conglomerate of automotive companies, who now owned Hurst Industries, and was promoted to Vice President, Public Relations.
Today, Linda still makes appearances at many car shows and automotive races, no longer as race queen but as a guest of honor, signing autographs and greeting legions of her fans, many dating back to the 1960's.
In recent history, Linda was elected to the Drag Racing Hall of Fame and was chosen the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's (SEMA) Person of the Year.
Presently, Linda is associated with Prolong Super Lubricants in the capacity as consultant and spokesperson.
How Linda Vaughn Got Her Start By Jon Lundberg
In 1965, Hurst Performance Records recorded the Motor Trend 500 at Riverside. The next weekend was Daytona. We drove around the clock to be there and arrived Thursday morning.
Friday evening, after dinner, we all gathered in George Hurst's suite for a pre-event meeting. George -- as always -- had a million things going on and one of them was a meeting with the current "Miss Union 76," a young girl from Georgia.
When she walked in the room, you could feel the earth move. Even then, Linda Vaughn had a presence that made her very special. The moment her contract with Union 76 was up, she was "Miss Hurst Golden Shifter."
I've known her for over 35 years and still consider her one of the neatest people I've ever met.
Linda Vaughn Gallery
With Dick Smothers
Very RARE and hard to find original 1970 magazine titled Here's Linda, Auto Racing's Golden Girl, with great cover color bikini photo of Miss Hurst Golden Shifter, Linda Vaughn. If you were a racing fan of any type in the 1960s - 1970s, you no doubt know who Linda Vaughn is, and you probably were in love with her like everyone else!
This Magazine Was Dedicated To Only One Topic - The Great Queen Of The Racing World, Linda Vaughn. There Is hardly any advertising inside, as the entire magazine is dedicated providing a photo pictorial and biography of Linda Vaughn.
This magazine was produced by Drag Racing USA magazine. Although not as well known as the more popular Hot Rod, Popular Hot Rodding, Super Stock, Car Life, Autoweek, etc., this very hard to find magazine is packed with over 160 great color and B&W photos of Linda, and narrative text articles about all parts of her life, including the following main features:
The Amazing Young Years: 8 pages detailing her life growing up with narrative text and 24 color and B&W photos.
Queen of the Racing Realm: 29 pages on text and a great photo portfolio of Linda at the races and doing promotional work for Hurst; including 72 B&W and 4 color photos of Linda at NASCAR, USAC, SCCA, Trans-Am, Drag Racing, and other automotive events.
Fun and Games: A great collection of photos of Linda away from the track and the racing world. This includes 21 B&W and 7 color photos including the famous see through t-shirt photos of Linda standing in a lake.
Color foldout centerfold: the famous topless photo of Linda in a checkered flag bikini bottom and checkered flag mink
Her Famous Friends: Narrative text with 21 B&W and 7 color photos of Linda with the famous people she met during her career.
The Men in Her Life: The story behind the men in the racing and sports world that Linda was linked to romantically (or as friends) including 10 B&W photos of Linda with Fireball Roberts, Jim Clark, Fred Lorenzen, Danny Ongais, Joe Namath, Craig Morton, Bill Tidwell, and more.
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