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Car driven by the Scot known as Britain’s fastest lady sold at auction

A racing car driven in the 1950s by the legendary Scot known as “Britain’s fastest lady” has fetched £18,000 at auction.

British racing driver Betty Haig (1906 - 1987) at the wheel of her car before the German Olympic nine-day car rally through the Alps and the Balkans, 3rd July 1936.
British racing driver Betty Haig (1906 – 1987) at the wheel of her car before the German Olympic nine-day car rally through the Alps and the Balkans, 3rd July 1936.

The 1957 Turner 803 was raced by Betty Haig, the country’s most successful female racing driver, for three years at locations including Goodwood and across Europe.

Restored in the 1990s, it was later exported to the US before returning to the UK in 2004, and still has “the potential to be right up there in the thick of it” on the racing circuit.

The 948cc-engined car went under the hammer at Silverstone Auctions in Birmingham, where it was bought by a private UK collector bidding on the phone.

Howard Hill-Lines, of Silverstone Auctions, said: “Betty Haig was a great character, and highly successful with wins including the Monte Carlo Rally and Le Mans as well as the gold medal from the 1936 Olympic Games.

“There was international interest in this charismatic little racing car, which she owned and raced from 1957. It promises to be a lot of fun for its new owner”.

Haig, born in 1905, was grand-niece of Field Marshal Douglas Haig and a member of the Scotch whisky-distilling Haig family.

A lifelong motoring enthusiast, she bought her first car, a 1922 A.B.C roadster, at the age of 16 with a gift of £50 from a great aunt.

When the car was destroyed in a fire, she bought an Austin 7 Sports with money she earned by selling the story to newspapers for £10 each.

She spent her earliest years in the family home in the Ramornie estate in Fife before moving to West Sussex in her mid teens.

She won a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Germany, in the Olympic Rally — the last time the event was part of the Summer Games — launching a string of racing successes including her victories in the Monte Carlo Rally and Le Mans 24 Hour race.

Haig bought the Turner 803 through Swanden Motor Sales in Worthing on 13 March 1957 and kept it for three years.

Eligible for a wide range of events, it is said to have the potential to be “right up there in the thick of it, thanks to the ever increasing power outputs from its A-Series engine, superb handling characteristics and the car’s light weight”.

Haig died in 1987, but is memorialised in the Triple-M Register’s Betty Haig Cup for best racing performance of the year, the Betty Haig Memorial Trophy for the fastest time by a female competitor in a racing car at Prescott, and the AC Owners’ Club’s Betty Haig Trophy for fastest lady member on handicap at Goodwood.

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