Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Bluebird (Campbell)

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1928. From 'Vital to the Life of the Nation'.
1931. From 'Vital to the Life of the Nation'.

Blue Bird or Bluebird is the name of various cars and boats used by Sir Malcolm Campbell, his son Donald and other family members to set land and water speed records.

Malcolm Campbell had a succession of Darracq racing cars in the 1920s, which in the fashion of the day he had named 'Flapper I' , 'Flapper II' and 'Flapper III' . It was 'Flapper III' which he re-named Bluebird, famously and impetuously raising a paint shop owner at night, so as to purchase blue paint before racing at Brooklands the following day.

In 1925, he also raced an Itala at Brooklands with the name 'The Blue Bird' painted on the bonnet.

The hydroplane K4 began life as Malcolm's "Blue Bird", but when Donald decided to use her in 1949, after his father's death, he re-named her "Bluebird".

Sir Malcolm Campbell

  • Sunbeam 350HP 1923 (renamed after Campbell's purchase)
  • Napier-Campbell Blue Bird 1927-1928
  • Campbell-Napier-Railton Blue Bird 1931-1932
  • Campbell-Railton Blue Bird 1933-1935

Donald Campbell

  • Bluebird-Proteus CN7
  • Bluebird CMN-8 never built

Don Wales, grandson of Malcolm Campbell and nephew of Donald Campbell, has contested the world electric powered land speed record.

Bluebird Electric 2


  • Sir Malcolm Campbell
    • Blue Bird K3
    • Blue Bird K4
  • Donald Campbell
    • Bluebird K4 re-named in 1949, destroyed in 1951
    • Bluebird K7 1955 - 1967, an all-metal jet-propelled 3-point hydroplane originally powered by a Metropolitan-Vickers Beryl jet engine producing 3500 lbf of thrust. 1966 A Bristol Orpheus engine from a Folland Gnat was installed.
  • Gina Campbell, daughter of Donald Campbell, has contested the women's world water speed record.
    • Agfa Bluebird

See Also


Sources of Information