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11 pioneering women who built and shaped the automotive industry in the world

signs of astonishment rise on our faces, and many may not know that women have fingerprints in the world of the automotive industry, whether through inventions, technical innovations, leadership, courage or inspiring successes behind the wheel – we present 11 pioneering women who had a huge impact on the attractiveness of the automobile industry.

Throughout the history of motoring, pioneering women have played a key role in the successful development of the driving pleasure we enjoy today. The woman was the inventor of the windshield wiper, as well as the inventor of car heating and Kevlar fibres. Women also made pioneering journeys with the first cars at the dawn of the 20th century.

A woman made the first circumnavigation of the globe in a car in 1929. A woman was the first motorist to complete the 24-hour race around Germany’s legendary Nürburgring – and in doing so she launched into the mainstream, establishing herself as a role model. All these achievements are closely related to the biographies of remarkable women from all over the world. Read on to learn about eleven great personalities who made their mark on the automobile and motor racing industry.

BMW honored 11 leading women globally to record their role and imprint in the world of car manufacturing and driving throughout history. We mention them in these lines.

1 – Wilhelmine Erhard

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Throughout the history of the world’s auto industry, women have been there, and played major roles. However, what we now take for granted was unusual at the beginning of the automobile era. The emerging automobile was considered a male domain. In the spring of 1899, when the Eisenach Automobile Plant in Germany set out on its first major outing with all the cars produced to date, Wilhelmine Erhard, the wife of the factory manager, got behind the wheel of one of the four cars. Manufactured by Wartburg Motors. I enjoyed the faces of passersby who were amazed,

Matthias Dohut, CEO of Automobile World Eisenach and expert in Germany’s first female motorists, revealed to us a leading lady. “Wilhelmine (23 August 1866-23 February 1945) was a very confident person, and it was hard to control or stop her enthusiasm for all things automobile,” he said.

When Gustav Ehrhardt decided to enter the newly developed Wartburg race car in a competition to make the first long journey across the border – from Innsbruck, Austria to Munich, Germany on July 23, 1899 – his wife accompanied him. The mountain road from Innsbruck to Munich was very dangerous, passing through the Kufstein Valley and on to Rosenheim it was a very difficult road, but for Wilhelmine it was a welcome challenge. And their trips were a resounding success.

Pioneering lady Wilhelmine had to wait nearly a year to realize her dream of starting out as a real motor racing driver. She was able to reach that position on August 3, 1901, and wrote her name in the history of motorsports by participating in the Eisenach-Meiningen-Eisenach long-distance car trip through the Hainich mountain range in Germany. Despite its poor engine, it narrowly missed the podium.

2- Stephanie Kwolek wove strong steel threads that developed the tire and automobile industries

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On November 22, 1968, the German Patent Office received a patent application bearing the number DE 1810426 titled “Composite and the fibers or filaments made of them”. It was a pioneering lady with its filaments stronger than steel and thinner than silk, and what was specifically described in the patent was a superior quality fiber that is still used in fields such as the automobile industry, space travel, and in bulletproof vests today, to remain Stephanie is a leading lady to this day.

Chemist Stephanie Kolk was the “mother” of this invention (July 31, 1923 – June 18, 2014). To spend on her medical degree, Stigani accepted a research position at DuPont’s Textile Fiber Laboratory in Buffalo, New York. In the early 1960s, I worked on inventing fibers to strengthen radial tires at the company’s test station there. The work consists of manipulating strands of carbon-based molecules to make larger molecules known as polymers.

One day in 1964, Koolek had some trouble converting a solid polymer into a liquid form. Instead of the transparent mixture, which I expected, the liquid was thin and opaque. Stephanie convinced another scientist to “spin” the liquid in a rotary evaporator, a machine that removes liquid solvents, leaving the fibers behind. This “happy accident”, as I later described it, was the discovery of a new material which proved to be five times stronger than steel, but not nearly as weight and also as fire-resistant.


Known as “Kevlar fibres,” this fiber combines flame resistance, temperature, strength, toughness and other properties that can help make better filters, belts, seals and other components for the auto industry — such as tires. When used in finishing layers or intermediate structures,

Kevlar fibers ensure high dimensional stability, even at high temperatures and speeds, which is important for high-performance tyres. Another advantage is reduced driving noise and reduced rotating weight, which results in less load on the engine. The inventions of female engineers like Stephanie Kollek helped lay the foundations for the development of the automobile industry.

3- Clarinor Staines, the greatest woman in motoring history%D9%83%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1 %D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%8A%D9%86%D8%B2.jpg

Clarenore Stinnes (January 21, 1901 – September 7, 1990), is one of the greatest women in motoring history. Staines was a girl from a good family. She always believed that women could do what men could do and she used to say: “We are not better, but at least we are good.” She was able to emphasize her boldness and courage to make her name known throughout the world, and attached to her name the adjective of a woman’s strength.

She is another leading lady . When she was 26, Clarinor Staines embarked on her greatest adventure: fulfilling her dream of being the first person to circumnavigate the world in a car. Her historic journey took 25 months, and on her world tour she used a 34.5-horsepower Adler Standard 6, traversing icy, hot, mud and rocks for 25 months. Of course today it might be easy to imagine, but at that time it was impossible, there were often no roads, no maps, no gas stations, no workshops. In fact, this expedition was life-threatening because of its dangerous areas, but its success was due in large part to the stubbornness of a woman for whom retreat was not an option.

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Self-confident, strong and stubborn woman

Steins’ odometer showed a total of 29,054 miles (46,758 km) as Steins and her companion, Swedish cinematographer Karl Axel Sodström, crossed the finish line in Berlin on June 24, 1929. The Steins were the first to venture around the world by car – during which they cruised 23 Country. After leaving Frankfurt in Germany, the couple headed east: across the Balkans, across the Caucasus to Siberia, then across the Gobi Desert to China and Japan, across the Andes and across the United States, before finally returning to Europe by ship, carrying with it the most famous car that circumnavigated the whole world.

4- Mary Anderson, inventor of car wipers4. %D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A %D8%A3%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%B3%D9%88%D9%86.jpg

The next name in our series of female role models in the history of the automobile owes its invention to its ability to observe, observe and scrutinize. While navigating the streets of New York City, Mary Anderson noticed that drivers had trouble in bad weather. In the rain and snow, they had to constantly go out to wipe their windshields. For the young woman, an automatic wiper blade was clearly needed.

In 1903, the same year as contemporaries Robert Douglas and John Upjohn, Mary Anderson applied for a patent for her invention. To be the only female inventor who had a working device, she received a patent for her invention. On November 10, 1903, the U.S. Patent Office granted Mary Anderson U.S. Patent No. 74,3801 for a “window cleaner” for automobiles and other vehicles “to remove snow, rain, and frost from the windshield in front of the engine.”

Beauty is not the only ingredient for success

This pioneering lady’s device contained a lever at the height of the steering wheel that the driver could operate manually. If the lever is actuated, a rubber band spring-loaded swing arm will be actuated to wipe the glass, then return to the starting position to wipe again. Upon receiving her patent, Anderson attempted to sell it to a Canadian manufacturer, but the company refused on the grounds that the device would have no practical use. Although mechanical windshield wipers were standard equipment in automobiles by 1913,

Because of that company’s stupidity, Mary Anderson never profited from her idea. However, as the inventor of the windshield wiper, Mary Anderson was one of the women who helped lay the foundations for advances in automotive engineering – and her engineering vision back in the day continues to help every driver today gain a clear view. It gave us all a field of view for a safe ride in any weather.

Despite everything, she remains a pioneering woman , and her patents for car wipers are currently being sold on Amazon for ten and a half dollars.

5- Bertha Benz .. Without her, the Benz brand would not exist

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In the entire history of women in the automobile industry, Bertha Benz is certainly a truly pioneering and pioneering figure. It unlocked the power of light for global Benz cars, and without it Karl Benz’s invention of the automobile would have been neglected – it wasn’t Karl Benz who had the success , but his wife Bertha who ensured the success of the car – it was she who completed the first successful cross-country trip in a car in August 1888. What did she take with her? ? She only took with her a large slice of courage and self-confidence.

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This is the first Mercedes-Benz car and the first to drive a car without horses.. an amazing determination to succeed

Let’s go back a bit to know the full story: German Karl Benz invented the car in Mannheim in 1886, before the car was registered under German Patent No. 37435. However, the response was not as exhilarating as might be expected. In fact, there was mistrust of this new horse-free wagon like the kart and the karoo. What was he to do? At that point he was desperate, but Bertha Benz took the lead, got behind the wheel without further ado and drove the first car 66 miles (106 km) from Mannheim to Pforzheim.

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The road is not smooth throughout the journey.. it was very difficult

This was a brave mission, because this trip was a real adventure at the time. There were only a few paved roads – so was most of the road, and she had to drive on uneven dirt roads. As there were no signs on the road either, rail tracks helped guide it, while the famous “roll up and armour” hat belt and drawstring were taken off to make necessary repairs at various points. Ultimately, this power tour succeeded, further development of the patented car, and Bertha Benz successfully promoted her husband’s vehicle. The horse cars were defeated to present us with a world of distinctive Benz cars throughout the history of cars, and they were truly the pioneers of the pioneers of the automotive world.

Margaret Wilcox, inventor of the car heater

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We stand in front of a new pioneering lady , the fact that even the first cars can be considered a comfort zone owing to the creative spark of an American woman. It’s Margaret A. Wilcox, born in Chicago in 1838, is considered the inventor of automobile heating. Wilcox was one of the first mechanical engineers and was awarded several US patents for her inventions.

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In the fall of 1893, she applied for a patent for her invention of the car heating system, which was registered on November 28, 1893. Its system consisted of a combustion chamber under the car and a piping system under the passenger compartment through which water was fed heating. This important invention for the auto industry killed two birds with one stone: it made driving easier in foggy and cold weather by keeping windows clear of fog and the interior of the car at the desired temperature – making the driving experience both of course more enjoyable and safer.

Danica Patrick .. M Queen of motorsports

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Danica Patrick has impressively demonstrated how fast and successful women can be in the racetrack . Another pioneering lady added to humanity, this female racing driver, who hails from Wisconsin in the US, is one of the most successful women in motorsports in NASCAR and IndyCar. Between 2005 and 2018 she was active in both racing series. Patrick competed in her first IndyCar race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2005. In 2008,

And she celebrated her first and only IndyCar win in Motegi, Japan. Her performance was exceptional. Her best overall result was a ninth place in 2009 – the season in which the female racer finished third in the Indy 500 and eighth in the 24 Hours of Daytona. In total,

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Feb 14, 2018; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Danica Patrick (7) speaks to the media during the Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona 500 Club. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-379977 ORIG FILE ID: 20180214_jdm_ad4_111.jpg

Patrick ran 116 races in the American Racing Series over eight years. Thus, reaching the final seven times, and climbing on the podium three times, achieving three first places, Patrick continued to lead the IndyCar series until 2011,

Not only that , but she also ventured onto the NASCAR schedule at the same time. After two years part-time in the Xfinity Series, Patrick led her first full-time season in the #2 American Auto League in 2012, before taking home the NASCAR Cup in 2013.

And over the course of seven years, Patrick ran 191 races. Unfortunately, she never managed to climb to the podium, but Patrick managed to complete seven places in the top 10. In 2013, she also became the first woman to take first place in the prestigious Daytona 500. Her courageous decision in 2018 to resign in time was another example of her work as a role model.

8. Susan Vanderbilt , GM’s design pioneer

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A pioneer of a special model, and one of the most famous car designers in the world, in the mid-1950s, General Motors launched its famous “Damsels of Design” group, a group of ten women that the automaker brought on board in an attempt to better reach the New consumables.

Unfortunately, she was among America’s first short-lived all-female design team. Most designers left in the early 1960s after they were taken over by Bill Mitchell, who allegedly said, “No woman will stand next to any of my great designers.” Despite this statement, and although the auto industry was male-dominated at the time, Susan Vanderbilt, one of the original Dumsels designers, remained persistent and worked her way up the career ladder until she was appointed chief designer of Chevrolet’s in-house studio in 1972.

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Vanderbilt has also worked as an executive on small cars such as the Nova, Camaro and Chevette. Unfortunately, at the height of her career and notable success in the design world, illness forced her to downsize and early retirement from General Motors in 1977. She died eleven years later at the age of fifty-five. What prompted her to stay in such a difficult field? “It is a difficult question as the designer continues to work because he is never satisfied, and you are constantly looking for perfection, and for new and innovative answers.”

9- Charlie Martinen , the legendary BMW driver

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Charlie Martin made history in the 24-hour race around the legendary Nürburgring in Germany. With her BMW M240i Racing, she finished fourth in her class in the Nordschleife (or North Loop) section of the track. Her final position was secondary to the 39-year-old race car driver, as she was driving towards a bigger goal. What drives her is establishing herself as a woman in a male-dominated sport. Which is a very special goal, because Charlie Martin was born as a boy in Leicester, England in 1981.

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Success does not come in vain.. this is how she succeeded in becoming a legend in the races of this classic sport

As the first transgender racing driver to finish the classic sport, the daring driver has not only fulfilled the dream but has also made herself a role model. Making a tough decision and staying true to the course requires you to learn courage. She aims to share her courage to foster greater diversity and change in motorsport, thus paving the way for the increased numbers of motorsports racers: “If we have sport ambassadors who are passionate about their values ​​and convey the feeling that we should all be active in our own lives, then we can make a huge difference in society. . (➜ Click here to read the full report on Charlie Martin at the Nürburgring and to hear the race driver on the BMW podcast: Changing lanes)

10- Leila Lombardi..First in the world in Formula One

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The impact of women in the motoring fields can also be seen in the history of the world’s #1 motorsport competition. In Formula 1 statistics, Lilla Lombardi (March 26, 1941 – March 3, 1992) is the only woman to score championship points. The road to becoming a racing car driver

For the daughter of this butcher from Piedmont, Italy, who can certainly be described as athletic to the core , after a serious injury while playing handball, Lombardi was taken to hospital by ambulance. She was so intrigued by her speed on that trip that she decided to try motor racing instead of indoor sports.

Between 1974 and 1976, Lombardi competed in twelve Formula 1 World Championship races, finishing seven of them. She made her Formula 1 debut for the Allied Polymer Group at the 1974 British Grand Prix at Brand Hatch, but failed to qualify for the race. Formula 1 debuted the following year: the 1975 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, driving for the March team.


On April 27, 1975, the 34-year-old finished sixth at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, ​​taking half a point at the World Championships. To date, she remains the only woman to score points in the World Championships. She only got half a point (instead of the usual one) for finishing sixth, as the race at the narrow St Montjuïc circuit was prematurely ended after a serious accident involving German Rolf Stomlin, who was leading the race at the time. Besides half a point in the world championship,

Lella Lombardi also holds the record for the highest starting number in Formula 1 history. The number “208” on her car at Brands Hatch in 1974 was a reference to her sponsor Radio Luxembourg, which at the time was broadcasting on an average wave of 208 metres. This record for the reserved but ambitious Italian, who died of breast cancer just days before her 51st birthday in March 1992, will not be beaten – Formula 1 raw numbers are no longer allowed to go beyond the ’99’.

11- Jota Kleinschmidt

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Jutta Kleinschmidt took any clichés about women in car parks and confidently banished them to one of the most remote and inhospitable places you can imagine – the Sahara. she was there,

It made its way into the history books behind the wheel of a rally car. In 1988 she participated in the first Paris-Dakar Rally on a motorcycle, while in 2001 she became the first woman and first German to win the toughest desert rally in the world . Over a race distance of 6,600 miles (10,000 km), the Bavarian took the field by 159 seconds in a Mitsubishi Pajero. Jutta Kleinschmidt later competed in the rigorous cross-desert race several times in a Volkswagen, before starting the 2007 Dakar Rally in a BMW X3 CC for Team X-Raid BMW.

Repairing a Jetta in the middle of the desert

With her combination of bravery and technical know-how , B has repeatedly made her mark on racing over the course of nearly 20 years. As a starting guest in road racing and as a coach, the avid helicopter pilot has remained loyal to motorsports to this day. In addition, the car racer now works as a motivational coach, giving lectures and corporate seminars. A strong woman is a role model, whatever the situation.

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