Cult heroes -- Linda Vaughn

Resembling an escapee from a Russ Meyer exploitation epic, Linda Vaughn remains the greatest trophy queen of them all. This pneumatic blonde began her career in 1961 while still in her teens: persuaded to enter a beauty contest, she was crowned Miss Atlanta Raceway.

Before long, The First Lady of Drag Racing was appearing at race meetings the length and breadth of the States and, in '65, the personable pin-up beat 200 rivals to become Miss Hurst Golden Shifter for Hurst Performance, a role she retained until the early 1980s, warmly greeting fans at NASCAR, Indycar and F1 races. She really was among the most prominent (cough) figures in US motor racing, competing herself after tuition from Bob Bondurant.

Never far away from cameras, Ms Vaughn took time to appear in The Gumball Rally and that crime against celluloid, Stroker Ace, when not fronting ESPN's The Exciting World of Speed and Beauty. Though now semi-retired, Ms Vaughn still makes occasional appearances at race meetings and is also spokeswoman for (cough) Prolong Super Lubricants.-- RH