Speed Girls: the Bugatti Queen

23 Jul

Hellé Nice was born as Helene Delangle near Chartres as daughter of a postmaster, moved to Paris as teenager, posed for naughty photographs sold to tourists, and soon became one of the most popular and best known dancing acts in Paris in the mid 1920s.

She started racing through contacts with members of the French motorsport world, like Baron Philippe de Rothschild, and Le Mans winner Henri de Courcelles. Hellé Nice successfully competed in Grand Prix and set multiple speed records in the 1930s in Bugatti’s and Alfa Romeo’s.

Hellé Nice in an undated photograph (Jean-Pierre Poiter, Chelles, France/Random House)

Hellé Nice after her victory in the 1929 Grand Prix Féminin which secured her a sleek Bugatti and the nickname ”The Speed Queen.”

Hellé Nice in Rio de Janeiro leading the field in her Alfa Romeo with No. 2.

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