Bluebird Collection

Scope and Content

Records relating to the various Blue Bird cars with which Malcolm Campbell challenged for the World Land Speed Record; and also the Bluebird cars and boats with which Donald Campbell challenged for the World Land and Water Speed Records. Includes blueprints, press clippings, photographs, reports and other papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Malcolm Campbell

Sir Malcolm Campbell held the Land Speed Record on no fewer than nine occasions. Campbell began motor racing in 1910. In 1912 he began naming his cars ‘Blue Bird’ after a popular West End play. He bought the 350hp Sunbeam in 1923 and broke the Land Speed Record with it in 1924 and 1925. Campbell then turned to the Water Speed Record, which he broke on four occasions between 1937 and 1939.

Donald Campbell

Son of pre-war ‘Speed King’ Sir Malcolm Campbell, Donald Campbell was a Land Speed Record holder and seven times Water Speed Record holder. Initially, Campbell concentrated on the Water Speed Record. His father’s boat Blue Bird 4 was used for testing and racing in 1949 and 1950, until wrecked. A new boat, Bluebird K7, was designed by Ken and Lew Norris. With K7, Campbell became the first to exceed 200mph on water and took seven World Records. He also set his sights on the Land Speed Record with the Norris designed Bluebird CN.7, finally succeeding at Bonneville in 1964. The target was now 300mph on water. An attempt at the record at Coniston on 4th January 1967 ended in tragedy when Bluebird K7 somersaulted at over 300mph.

Access Information

Open to researchers, by appointment. For further information, please see:

Conditions Governing Use

Please apply to the Archivist if you would like to make any copy of the material.

Related Material

A smaller collection of items relating to Bluebird CN.7 is also held in the National Motor Museum Motoring Archives.