At age 77, rally car driver, automotive mechanic, and businesswoman Heidi Hetzer decided to drive around the world in a 1930 Hudson Great Eight. Over 31 months, she traveled through Eastern Europe, across China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Mexico, Central, and South America. She then sailed to Africa and drove north to Germany. The journey was not uneventful: the Hudson Great broke down more than she anticipated, she lost part of a finger and a molar, and was diagnosed with cancer. Despite the delay, she arrived in Berlin on March 12, 2017, happy and healthy, having successfully completed her round-the-world trip.
Hetzer was no stranger to overland travel, completing a trip from Berlin to China in 2007 and participating in numerous car rallies around the globe. She died on April 21, 2019, at age 81.
This video by Petrolicious captures the essence of Hetzer and her journey. Inspired by German auto racer Clärenore Stinnes (the first European woman to circumnavigate the globe by car), Hetzer simply loved to drive. Perhaps one of the most captivating moments of the video occurs near the end when Hetzer’s emotions nearly get the best of her:
“Yes, the driving is essentially why I chose to make this journey. I just wanted to drive, drive, drive, drive, drive. That’s the only thing I wanted. I asked myself whether I would be fed up or not once I returned home or would I still enjoy driving? I just can’t stop. I still love driving. I could happily do the whole trip all over again.”
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