Debut: May 2016



.: Bob Williams' "Bluebird" from Sir Donald Campbell's World Land Speed Record





Modelling Time:

~ hrs

PE/Resin Detail:



"re-painted for a friend"

Donald Campbell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people named Donald Campbell, see Donald Campbell (disambiguation).
Donald Campbell
Donald Campbell.jpg
Born Donald Malcolm Campbell
23 March 1921
Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-ThamesSurrey, England
Died 4 January 1967 (aged 45)
Coniston WaterCumbria, England
Cause of death High speed crash during WSR attempt
Resting place Parish Cemetery, Hawkshead Old Road, Coniston
Nationality British
Other names 'The Skipper'
Occupation Speed record breaker
Known for Most prolific WSR breaker of all time
Spouse(s) Daphne Harvey (1945-51)
Dorothy McKegg (1952-57)
Tonia Bern (1958-)
Children Georgina (Gina) (1946-)
Parent(s) Malcolm Campbell
Dorothy Evelyn Whittall
Awards Segrave Trophy (1955)
DMC Signature.jpg

Donald Malcolm Campbell CBE (23 March 1921 – 4 January 1967) was a British speed record breaker who broke eight absolute world speed records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s. He remains the only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year (1964).

Family and personal life

Donald Campbell was born at Canbury HouseKingston upon ThamesSurrey,[1][2][3][4] the son of Malcolm, later Sir Malcolm Campbell, holder of 13 world speed records in the 1920s and 30s in the Bluebird cars and boats, and his second wife, Dorothy Evelyn née Whittall.[3]

Campbell attended St Peter's School, Seaford and Uppingham School. At the outbreak of the Second World War he volunteered for the Royal Air Force, but was unable to serve because of a case of childhood rheumatic fever. He joined Briggs Motor Bodies Ltd in West Thurrock, where he became a maintenance engineer. Subsequently, he was a shareholder in a small engineering company called Kine engineering, producing machine tools. Following his father's death on New Year's Eve, 31 December 1948 and aided by Malcolm's chief engineer, Leo Villa, the younger Campbell strove to set speed records first on water and then land.

He married three times: to Daphne Harvey in 1945, producing daughter Georgina (Gina) Campbell, born on 19 September 1949; to Dorothy McKegg in 1952; and to Tonia Bern in December 1958, which lasted until his death in 1967.[5] Campbell was intensely superstitious, hating the colour green, the number thirteen and believing nothing good ever happened on a Friday. He also had some interest in the paranormal, which he nurtured as a member of the Ghost Club.[6]

Campbell was a restless man and seemed driven to emulate, if not surpass, his father's achievements.[citation needed] He was generally light-hearted and was generally, at least until his 1960 crash at the Bonneville Salt Flats, optimistic in his outlook.[citation needed]

Behind the public façade of speed king, he was a complex character – proud and vulnerable, increasingly anxious about his place in the world. Campbell was a great patriot and saw his achievements as being for the greater good of Britain.[4]


Land speed record attempt

Bluebird CN7 on display at theNational Motor Museum in Beaulieu.

It was after the Lake Mead WSR success in 1955 that the seeds of Campbell's ambition to hold the Land Speed Record as well were planted. The following year, the serious planning was under way - to build a car to break the land speed record, which then stood at 394 mph (634 km/h) set by John Cobb in 1947. The Norris brothers designed Bluebird-Proteus CN7 with 500 mph (800 km/h) in mind.

The brothers were even more enthusiastic about the car than the boat and like all of his projects, Campbell wanted Bluebird CN7, to be the best of its type, a showcase of British engineering skills. The British motor industry in the guise of DunlopBPSmiths Industries and Lucas Automotive, as well as many others, became heavily involved in the project to build the most advanced car the world had yet seen. CN7 was powered by a specially modified Bristol-Siddeley Proteus free-turbine engine of 4,450 shp (3,320 kW) driving all four wheels. Bluebird CN7 was designed to achieve 475–500 mph and was completed by the spring of 1960.

Following low-speed tests conducted at the Goodwood motor racing circuit in Sussex, in July, the CN7 was taken to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA, scene of his father's last LSR triumph, some 25 years earlier in September 1935. The trials initially went well, and various adjustments were made to the car. On the sixth run in CN7, Campbell lost control at over 360 mph and crashed. It was the car's tremendous structural integrity that saved his life. He was hospitalised with a fractured skull and a burst eardrum, as well as minor cuts and bruises but CN7 was a write off. Almost immediately, Campbell announced he was determined to have another go. Sir Alfred Owen, whose Rubery Owen industrial group had built CN7, offered to rebuild it for him. That single decision was to have a profound influence on the rest of Campbell's life. His original plan had been to break the LSR at over 400 mph in 1960, return to Bonneville the following year to really bump up the speed to something near to 500 mph, get his seventh WSR with K7 and then retire, as undisputed champion of speed and perhaps just as important, secure in the knowledge that he was worthy of his father's legacy.


Box art:

I believe that this was more of a "Commemorative Model", than a kit - the underside of the car showed raised print detailing the subject.

Click on each image for a closer look

Campbell decided not to go back to Utah for the new trials. He felt the Bonneville course was too short at 11-mile (18 km) and the salt surface was in poor condition. BP offered to find another venue and eventually after a long search, Lake Eyre, in South Australia, was chosen. It hadn't rained there for nine years and the vast dry bed of the salt lake offered a course of up to 20-mile (32 km). By the summer of 1962, Bluebird CN7 was rebuilt, some nine months later than Campbell had hoped. It was essentially the same car, but with the addition of a large stabilising tail fin and a reinforced fibreglass cockpit cover. At the end of 1962, CN7 was shipped out to Australia ready for the new attempt. Low-speed runs had just started when the rains came. The course was compromised and further rain meant, that by May 1963, Lake Eyre was flooded to a depth of 3 inches, causing the attempt to be abandoned. Campbell was heavily criticised in the press for alleged time wasting and mismanagement of the project, despite the fact that he could hardly be held responsible for the unprecedented weather.

To make matters worse for Campbell, American Craig Breedlove drove his pure thrust jet car 'Spirit of America' to a speed of 407.45 miles per hour (655.73 km/h) at Bonneville in July 1963. Although the 'car' did not conform to FIA (Federation Internationale de L'Automobile) regulations, that stipulated it had to be wheel-driven and have a minimum of four wheels, in the eyes of the world, Breedlove was now the fastest man on earth.

Campbell returned to Australia in early spring 1964, but the Lake Eyre course failed to fulfil the early promise it had shown in 1962 and there were further spells of rain. BP pulled out as his main sponsor after a dispute, but he was able to secure backing from Australian oil company Ampol.

The track never properly dried out and Campbell was forced to make the best of the conditions. Finally, in July 1964, he was able to post some speeds that approached the record. On the 17th of that month, he took advantage of a break in the weather and made two courageous runs along the shortened and still damp track, posting a new LSR of 403.10 mph (648.73 km/h). The surreal moment was captured in a number of well-known images by photographers, including Australia's Jeff Carter.[7] Campbell was bitterly disappointed with the record as the vehicle had been designed for much higher speeds. CN7 covered the final third of the measured mile at an average of 429 mph (690 km/h), peaking as it left the measured distance at over 440 mph (710 km/h). He resented the fact that it had all been so difficult. 'We've made it – we got the bastard at last,' was his reaction to the success. Campbell's 403.1 mph represented the official Land Speed Record.

In 1969, after Campbell's fatal accident, his widow, Tonia Bern-Campbell negotiated a deal with Lynn Garrison, President of Craig Breedlove and Associates, that would see Craig Breedlove run Bluebird on Bonneville's Salt Flats. This concept was cancelled when the parallel Spirit of America supersonic car project failed to find support.


Thanks Wikipedia!

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