Does it bother you that she has gotten more credit as being like the barrier breaker?

MURPHY: I've done more than she's ever done. I've done other things - I started with sports cars, and then I got into drag racing and I did off-road racing, and twice set the Women's Land Speed Record, twice set the NASCAR Women's' Sports Car record...

Where was that?

MURPHY: At Talladega.

That had to be a thrill. So, the LSR, off road, sports cars -

MURPHY: I drove around the world in 1976 for a record. That was really a once in a lifetime experience. I got to do a lot of things that nobody will ever get to do.

How did it all start?

MURPHY: I worked at an aircraft company in Van Nuys, and they had a very active sports car club at work. I met a couple that had an MG and I thought it was a cute little car. I found one that was for sale; I had never driven a manual-shift five speed,. I bought one and I had to go to Pasadena to get the thing and it was freezing cold. They took the top down and drove the thing home on the Pasadena Freeway back up there to Granada Hills, and I said what have I got myself into? I joined the Sports Car club at work and my friend at work was very active at the Women's Sports Car Club, which was an affiliate of Sports Car Club of America. She said, "Come on out to the sports car races with us." She said it would be a lot of fun, make new friends and all. I met a fellow who had an Alfa and he said, "Why don't you drive my car in the ladies race?" "No, no, no, no, no." They finally talked me into it, and they almost had to pick me up and put me in the car I was shaking so bad, and I won.

So one ride leads to another, and I ended up in a Ferrari and a Maserati. I got some really good rides in the ladies race, and then I raced a little bit in the men's race, but mostly just the ladies race.

Then I got a call from the automotive editor of the L.A. Times, and he asked me if that time I would be interested in driving a car coast-to-coast, border-to-border to try to set a transcontinental speed record. I said sure. Andy Granatelli was preparing the cars, and we had a Studebaker. Bill Carroll, who was at that time editor of Automotive News, came along with us. And we drove coast-to-coast and border-to-border. One of us would get in the station wagon and sleep just a little bit, but we drove non-stop from L.A. to New York and from New York to San Diego; and then the Tijuana border to Vancouver and then back to San Diego.


MURPHY: Yeah, well, we stopped in New York; we spent a couple of days in New York and a couple of days in San Diego and then a couple of days in the Seattle area and came back down, and shortly after that Granatelli prepared twelve Studebakers to go to Bonneville to set records. So then Granatelli said, "Why don't you go for a Women's Land Speed record?" So he put me in an 8-cylinder Hawk and I went 151 (mph); I think it was something and then he said "How would you like me to go a little faster?" And I said sure and he put me in an Avanti and I went 171. A year later I went back and did the jet car.



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