Ford has created a one-off Mustang Mach-E that honors a heroic group of women pilots in World War II. The car will be sold in a charity auction at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were a group of female airplane pilots who flew warplanes, typically delivering them from factories to U.S. bases between 1942 and 1944. The all-volunteer force numbered just over 1,100. The pilots flew all types of planes, including B-26 and B-29 bombers. Of the total, 38 died in service to their country, but they were not considered military personnel. The WASPs were granted military status retroactively in 1977. And the pilots were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.
The custom Mach-E features a special livery of silver with black and yellow accents. It carries the group’s winged logo on the hood, the rear fenders and embroidered into the headrests. The number 38 appears on the front fascia, rear bumper, and the center console. And there’s a U.S. Army Air Force star on both sides of the vehicle.
The car is being auctioned with the proceeds benefiting the EAA’s initiatives to help get more young women and underserved youth into the aviation industry. The women who became Women Airforce Service Pilots had to get their own pilot’s licenses in order to be a WASP, but when the program was suddenly canceled, most were not able to remain in the aviation industry. This despite the words of the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces, who said, “Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men.”