There isn't any solid evidence to suggest that William E. Carter dressed as a woman to board collapsible C and that rumor may have stemmed from an incident that occurred with Carter's 11-year old son William while trying to board boat 4 with his mother and sister. As boat 4 was loading, Chief 2nd steward George Dodd and 2nd officer Charles Lightoller had announced "no more boys in the boat." It was alleged that John Jacob Astor had placed a woman's hat on young William's head and explained that he was a girl and should be allowed into the boat. (where would he have gotten a woman's hat?) 3rd class passenger Latifa Baclini a passenger in boat 4 later stated that it was Lucille Carter, the boys mother, not Astor that put the hat on young William.
Carter's wife, Lucille, testified under oath at the inquiry that she never saw Carter after he told them to get dressed, that he never went to lifeboat 4's loading area with her and their children, and he had left them to fend for themselves. She testified: "When the Titanic struck, my husband came to me and said, 'Get up and dress yourself and the children.' I never saw him again until I arrived on the Carpathia at 8 o'clock the next morning when I saw him leaning on the rail. All he said was that he had had a jolly good breakfast and that he thought I wouldn't make it."
Another passenger, Emily Goldsmith, who had boarded boat 4 prior to Lucille Carter and her children stated that she never saw William Carter with his wife and children on the deck as they boarded the lifeboat. Carter defended his actions and said that he had entered collapsible C to help with the rowing, but he never publically explained the discrepancies in his story about seeing his wife and children off in lifeboat 4.
When filing for divorce in 1914 Lucille Carter accused him of "cruel and barbarous treatment and indignities."
William E Carter died in 1940, his daughter, (13 at the time of the sinking) Lucille Polk Carter, died in 1962, and his son, William T. Carter died in 1985. Carter's wife Lucille, (died 1934) remarried after their 1914 divorce and she and her 2nd husband had a daughter, Elisabeth. As of this writing, Elisabeth is living in Dallas, TX and just turned 99 years old.
United States Senate Inquiry into the sinking of the RMS Titanic
British Wreck Commissioner's inquiry into the sinking of the RMS Titanic
The Night Lives On, 1998, Lord, Walter
The Baltimore Sun
The Dallas Morning News
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Has Carter's Car Been Found?
In 2003, Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media released a Titanic documentary called Ghosts of the Abyss. It was directed by filmmaker James Cameron after his 1997 Oscar-winning film Titanic during August and September of 2001. Cameron and a group of scientists conducted 12 dives to Titanic's wreck site in the Russian deep-submersible's, Mir 1 and Mir 2. With the help of two small, purpose-built remotely operated camera vehicles, they were able to penetrate deep inside Titanic and film areas of the ship never before seen after her sinking.
They had pre-planned areas of the ship they were especially curious about. When penetrating the bow section (going through the forward hatch in the well deck) William Carter's car was one item they particularly wanted to see if they could find in the cargo hold. They couldn't make an absolute confirmation of finding the automobile (the remote camera doesn't have manipulator arms) but some items found in the hold did raise some curiosity and suspicion.
In the above photo (left) the object pictured is believed to be the Renault's left front wheel and fender as seen in the photo above right. On close examination of the photo on what's suspected to be the fender, appears to be traces of reddish/brown paint. (although this could be rust as well)
Over one hundred years underwater on the sea floor has taken it's toll on the wreck site and its contents. As mentioned previously, there was no way of positioning the robot camera to see the rest of the car without risking getting the expensive camera stuck in debris. It would be nice on future dives if we could see the remains of the entire car