Friday, November 29, 2013

Win A Date With "Miss Hurst", Linda Vaughn ! (1967)

In 1967, Pontiac was staring down the four-barrel of the highly-anticipated Camaro, and needed something to draw eyeballs back to their sporty (but six-months behind schedule) Firebird line.
Enter "Miss Hurst".
Linda Vaughn was a curvaceous, vivacious blonde who was the billed as a secondary attraction (but honestly, sometimes she was the main attraction) at circuit races in the late 1960's and early 70's. She was the sexy symbol in the flesh for the Hurst Shifter line, and she always had an easy time drawing men's focus to her products. She congratulated racers in the Winners Circle, and did it in skimpy gold lamé outfits (sewn by her mother).

 How could this car company use this perennial track favorite to get back a little of the spotlight?
 The promotion thought up by Pontiac's Jim Wangers was perfect; it was open to active serviceman only, and not only included a date with the blonde bombshell, but a trip out of the jungles of Vietnam and a ride in the pace car at the Daytona 500. 

The response was a deluge of clipped ads and an avalanche of mail from military bases around the world.
Due to the morality issues of setting up a single serviceman, deprived of female companionship for months, with the bountiful Miss Vaughn, a "conveniently" married man was declared the lucky winner. ADJ3 Leonard Hobbs and his wife partook in the weekend festivities together along with Linda, and it remained a chaste affair with the oft-chased Miss Vaughn.
Still, it kept the hopes and spirits high of a lot of army grunts, dreaming in their cots in that far-off country, of a possible rendezvous with  the "siren of stock cars".
The lovely Linda finally dashed the hopes of the men in uniform when she married racer Bill Tidwell in 1972, but she continued to promote Hurst and others with her incredible charm (and other assets) well into the 1980's.


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    1. Linda has to have been one of the most photographed women in all of sports, if you include amateur pictures. Cool find, Jesse. I bet there are literally tens of thousands of pictures floating around.