Heidi Hetzer World Tour - The Inspiration

When we first learned about Heidi Hetzer's plans to encircle the globe in a 1930's Hudson, all we knew was she was going and her vision came from an old photograph. Our efforts to dig through the web so you don't have to seems to have uncovered the missing inspiration. Maybe we don't need to guess at it any longer.

After translating the all German website, we learned Heidi's journey was undoubtedly inspired by a previous explorer, Clärenore Stinnes, the daughter of a German industrialist. On May 25, 1927 she and her team set out in an Adler Standard 6 to start the expedition that took them through 23 countries, ending 24 June 1929 with the arrival in Berlin. 
Even looks like Heidi's Hudson
Additional facts reflected that after the death of her Father, Stinnes moved from her company position in South America back to Berlin, where she impressed the company with her rugged charm and iron will, much in the same way Heidi took over the family business after the death of her father.
Stinnes, like Hetzer, had become an experienced winning Rally driver, mechanic and business person. Unfortunately under a heavy burden of debit, mismanagement by her six brothers quickly drove the multinational business into the ground to be sold shortly thereafter.


As written on the website...was one of the most unusual adventure stories of the 20th century: the world tour of the Industrial daughter Clärenore Stinnes, the first woman to circle the earth with a car. In 1927 she started her expedition along with two technicians and Swedish cameraman Carl-Axel Söderström with 48,000 kilometers in front of them.

From the beginning, the daring circumnavigation of problems is overshadowed by wars, raids, engine damage and diseases. (Sound familiar?) The team eventually fell apart leaving only cameraman Söderström at the side of Clärenore Stinnes remained to finish the two year trip (supposedly including some extra-martial hanky-panky).


OK, now some mild "controversy". Based on everything we could find, Ms. Stinnes was the "first female to DRIVE a car around the world". This point has apparently been confused with "the first female to TRAVEL around the world...in a car" and by more than one source. While the points seem easily separable for us, both stories are pretty incredible. 
Who is the other? It was Aloha "Wanderwell" Baker. At the age of 16, she joined a team determined to circumvent the globe by car. The blue-eyed blonde, standing a scant six feet tall (the "Taylor Swift of the twenties?") Aloha quickly became the focal point as the star of the Wanderwell Expedition. 

Adapting easily to the rigors of life on the road, Aloha found herself filling a dizzying array of job descriptions: actress, photographer, cinematographer, driver, seamstress, laundress, film editor, vaudeville performer, salesperson, interpreter, negotiator, mechanic and any other chores that might be assigned by the often tyrannical Captain Wanderwell. Her detailed memoir, "Call to Adventure" first published in 1939, was republished in 2013.


The movie "Miss Stinnes Travels the World" was released in 2009. Based on (translated) details from the film's website, it includes much of the preserved film and imagery taken by cameraman Carl-Axel Söderström during the journey. Too bad it's only in German. We did find some info about the movie at IMDb. It might be available to watch online.

We also found this video of the Adler Standard 6 used in the movie during the restoration.

Additionally and according to available details, "Call to Adventure" is now in production. Both films have been described as combining adventure, danger, intrigue and romance. Does that mean these are "car guy movies" even chicks will like or are they "chick movies" even car guys will like? (Cars, check. Guns, check. Adventure, check. Romance, check...hey, who said that?)