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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

Record breakers Part 2

The car which we featured last week, which broke through the '300 mph barrier' with Malcolm Campbell (later Sir Malcolm) at the wheel, can now be viewed in the Dayton Speedway Circuit Museum. There is a replica in the Campbell Gallery at the Lakeland Museum, Cumbria. UK.

Malcolm's son Donald, following in his father's footsteps, took up the record breaking challenge on both land and water. Again there is a 'Siddeley' connection in the choice of the Bristol Siddeley Proteus engine.

The record breaking car in the picture is the Bluebird- Proteus CN7. Perhaps the best remembered of all the bluebird cars. Powered by the Bristol Siddeley Proteus engine which we keep discovering was used in many applications beyond the initial design concept. The Proteus was a reverse - flow gas turbine which having no second stage compressor was cleverly adapted by the Norris brothers to allow drive to all wheels, making the CN7 what we recognise today as a four wheel drive vehicle,

The 1962 Bluebird - Campbell CN7, here seen at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, shows Bluebird in her final form, as used in Australia in 1963 and 1964, with the tall rear fin. The cockpit canopy has also been replaced by a strengthened aluminium canopy with a small flat windscreen. The original Perspex bubble canopy used in 1960 can be seen on the floor to the left.

Our second picture is one of two found when scanning the Heritage negatives, dated as taken in 1964, it is of the cockpit layout and the strengthened canopy fitted to the car. It was this car which would allow Donald Campbell to achieve his dream of breaking the '400 mph barrier' in his land speed record quest.


Donald Campbell, like his father also sought to be the fastest man on water and to this end the Bluebird K7 boat was also fitted with the Bristol Siddeley Proteus engine and would later sport the even more powerful Bristol Siddeley Orpheus engine.


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