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IOTW no.469

By March 4, 2019March 6th, 2019IOTW

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Malcolm Campbell & Bluebird

For a generation of British ‘Baby boomer’ children, those who grew-up in the fifties and sixties, the name Campbell was synonymous with speed and record breaking. It was much the same for an earlier generation, those raised in the two inter-world war decades. The Campbells in question were father Malcolm, and his son, Donald, who over a 44 year period held 21 separate land and water speed records between them. All of the record breaking vehicles carried the name ‘Bluebird‘ as did Malcolm Campbell’s early racing cars. Here, a youngish Malcolm Campbell is pictured at Brooklands alongside such a car. Unfortunately, the image is uncaptioned, although the word ‘Bluebird’ is discernable on the bonnet top, along with the figure five, the car’s racing number. The photo is likely to have been taken in the immediate aftermath of WWI and prior to 1924, which was the year he broke the land speed record for the first time. (The author would appreciate any help in identifying the car and dating the photograph.) Photo courtesy Motor Sport Images (LATplate Black 3961A)

Edited to add: Joe Rayner has identified the car as a 1912 Lorraine Deitrich, ‘Vieux Charles III’ which can currently be seen on long-term loan at the Brooklands Museum. This extract from the museum’s website provides some background to the photograph. “In the ownership of Malcolm Campbell, after the First World War it was brought to Brooklands as one of his famous Blue Bird racing cars and won the first race when the track re-opened in 1920. Apart from a short visit to Hampshire, the car has been based at, or near, Brooklands ever since.”

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