Brains, Beauty & Breeches

Aloha Wanderwell was a pioneer, author, explorer, travel lecturer, Queen of Adventure, filmmaker, aviatrix, called a female Indiana Jones. She visited places no western man or woman had seen before. She was a figure of controversy, self-invention and marketing. The romance that informs her legend is both real and contrived.

Aloha was born on October 13, 1906. Inspired by the fantastic tales she read in her father’s beloved collection of boyhood books, she dreamed of travel, adventure, and intrigue in far-flung corners of the globe. In 1922, when she was 16, she embarked in a Model T Ford on an ambitious around-the–world expedition led by Captain Walter Wanderwell…Aloha Wanderwell

Expedition Wanderwell Postcard
Expedition Wanderwell Postcard
Wanderwell Around the World Postcard
Wanderwell Around the World Postcard

Driving Around the World

Aloha responded to an ad declaring “Brains, Beauty & Breeches – World Tour Offer For Lucky Young Woman… Wanted to join an expedition!”, meeting Captain Wanderwell in Paris and securing a seat on this daring world adventure.

On their African trip they sometimes used kerosene for gasoline, crushed bananas for grease in the differential and water and elephant fat for oil in the engine. In India on their round-the-world trip oxen were frequently required to tow the Ford Model-T’s across mud flats, sand and rivers. In China in 1924, when civil warfare made it impossible to purchase fuel, laborers pulled the car for some eighty miles…


  • First Woman to Drive Around the World by Auto 1922-1927. (Wikipedia)
  • Drove 75 countries on 6 continents in a Ford. Starting at age 16 in a Model T.
  • Earliest films of the Bororos people of Brazil.
  • Traveled 580,000 miles 1922-1950
  • First woman to drive across India and from Cape Town to the Nile.
  • First woman to fly Brazil’s Mato Grosso.
  • Filmed American pilots and the “First Flight Around the World”.
  • Member of the French Foreign Legion.
  • Films at Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Bishop Museum in Hawaii, The American Heritage Center in Laramie, Wyoming, The Smithsonian D.C. & The Library of Congress.
  • Women’s International Association of Aviators.
Wanderwell II France Postcard
Wanderwell II Ford World Record

Guinness World Record Holder
Guinness World Record Holder