PHOTO: Copyright 2017 General Motors Corp. Used with permission, GM Media Archive
When General Motors Corp. wanted to sell attendees at its 1959 Motorama expo on the power of Chevrolet's "Big Block" 348 CID V-8 engines, it didn't turn to macho astronauts or manly movie stars. Instead, the automaker brought in Betty Skelton. A star aviatrix and race car driver, the svelte Skelton had set multiple land speed records and, as a publicity stunt, had even endured the same physical and psychological tests as the original Mercury 7 astronauts. Known as "The fastest woman on Earth," Skelton wielded her daredevil aura to help Chevrolet seize a 25-percent share of the U.S. auto market in 1959.