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Petersen Opens Exhibit Honoring Motorsports Icon Jessi Combs

Published on Thu, Sep 19, 2019

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Motorsports Icon Jessi Combs to be Honored with Tribute and Special Exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum Beginning Sunday, September 22, 2019

Combs’ family and friends have worked in conjunction with the Petersen to curate a temporary exhibit that will highlight her career as a fabricator, racecar driver and television presenter. 

Exhibit proceeds will benefit The Jessi Combs Foundation, a new organization dedicated to educating, inspiring and empowering the next generation of female trailblazers and stereotype-breakers.

On Sunday, September 22, 2019, the Petersen Automotive Museum will open a temporary exhibit, located in the William E. Connor Penthouse. This is honoring the life and accomplishments of Combs, also known as “The Fastest Woman on Four Wheels.” Jessi tragically passed on August 27, 2019, while attempting to set a land speed record. Admission to the temporary exhibition is by suggested donation with proceeds benefitting The Jessi Combs Foundation.

Jessi Combs
Jessi Combs

The “Jessi Combs: Life at Full Speed” exhibition will feature objects from Combs’ workshop and studio in Long Beach, California. Items on display will include several of her motorcycles, personal notebooks and memorabilia. As featured are original Chip Foose drawings from her time on “Overhaulin’,” welding jackets and racing helmets, as well as various accolades including her Baja and Great Race medals.

Jessi Combs was an inspiration to the entire automotive community

“Jessi Combs was an inspiration to the entire automotive community,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “This exhibit is an opportunity to move people, especially the future generation of women builders and enthusiasts, through Jessi’s incredible life story.”

Throughout her life, Combs sought to explore the relationship between women and machine, as a means to continually push and break stereotypical boundaries. As one of the few prominent female fabricators of her era, she endeavored to create programs and safe spaces that encouraged education and dialog about the industrial arts for women. “Jessi Combs: Life at Full Speed” seeks to further that effort, establishing a base for which The Jessi Combs Foundation can grow. The mission of the foundation is to educate, inspire and empower the next generation of female trailblazers and stereotype-breakers. Its guiding principle is the simple question, “What Would Jessi Do?”

“Her appetite for living life on the edge and pursuing her dreams to the fullest is an inspiration to me and all who knew her.” – Terry Madden

“Jessi was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know,” said Jessi Combs’ long-term partner Terry Madden. “Her appetite for living life on the edge and pursuing her dreams to the fullest is an inspiration to me and all who knew her. The Jessi Combs Foundation will motivate young women who looked up to Jessi, empowering them to uncover their inner confidence and abilities so they, too, can achieve their dreams.”

“Jessi Combs: Life at Full Speed” will run through Wednesday, September 25, 2019, and is free to the general public. Visitors are still required to pay standard general admission prices if they would like to view other Petersen Museum exhibitions. For more information, please visit

The Petersen also offers some unexpected opportunities.

post by John Grafman

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