Campbell-Railton Bluebird


Campbell-Railton Bluebird

Infobox Automobile generation
name = Campbell-Railton Bluebird
related = Campbell-Napier-Railton Bluebird
production = one-off (1933)
body_style = front-engined land speed record car.
engine = 2,300hp 36.7litre supercharged Rolls-Royce R V12
designer=Reid Railton
wheelbase=13ft 8in, Track front 5ft 3in, rear 5ft
length =27ft
weight=95cwt (4.75tons)
fuel_tank _capacity=28 gallons
manufacturer= bodywork by Gurney Nutting
The Campbell-Railton Bluebird was Sir Malcolm Campbell's final land speed record car.

His previous Campbell-Napier-Railton Bluebird of 1931 was rebuilt significantly. The overall layout and the simple twin deep chassis rails remained, but little else. The bodywork remained similar, with the narrow body, the tombstone radiator grille and the semi-spatted wheels, but the mechanics were new. Most significantly, a larger, heavier and considerably more powerful Rolls-Royce R V12 engine replaced the old Napier Lion, again with supercharger.cite web
url=http://www.bluebirdteamracing.net/bluebirdsupportersclub/car/1933.html
title=Bluebird 1933
publisher=Bluebird team racing
] This required two prominent "knuckles" atop the bodywork, to cover the V-12 engine's camboxes.cite web
title=1933 Bluebird
url=http://www.brooklandsarchives.com/Gallery_C3/target18.html
publisher=Brooklands photo archive
] cite web
title=1933 Bluebird from the rear
url=http://www.brooklandsarchives.com/Gallery_C3/target8.html
publisher=Brooklands photo archive
] cite web
title=Bluebird, 1933
url=http://www.sirmalcolmcampbell.com/sir33.html
many period photos]

Bluebird's first run was back at Daytona, setting a record of 272mph on 22nd February 1933.

Campbell now had a car with all the power that he could want, but no way to use all of it. Wheelspin was a problem, losing perhaps 50mph from the top speed.

1935

Visually the car was quite different. The bodywork was now rectangular in cross section and spanned the full width over the wheels. Although actually higher, this increased width gave the impression of a much lower and sleeker car, accentuated by the long stabilising tailfin and the purposeful raised ridges over the engine camboxes.cite web
url=http://www.bluebirdteamracing.net/bluebirdsupportersclub/car/1935.html
title=Bluebird 1935
publisher=Bluebird team racing
] This Bluebird was clearly a design of the Modernist '30s, not the brute heroism of the '20s.cite web
title=On the banking at Brooklands
url=http://www.brooklandsarchives.com/Gallery_C3/target13.html
publisher=Brooklands photo archive
format=photo
] cite web
title=Running at Brooklands
url=http://www.brooklandsarchives.com/Gallery_C3/target31.html
publisher=Brooklands photo archive
format=photo
]

Mechanically the changes to the car had focussed on improving the traction, rather than increasing the already generous power. Double wheels and tyres were fitted to the rear axle, to improve grip.cite web
title=Cockpit, showing the double wheels and also the airbrake flaps
url=http://www.brooklandsarchives.com/Gallery_C3/target10.html
publisher=Brooklands photo archive
format=photo
] The final drive was also split into separate drives to each side. This reduced the load on each drive, allowed the driver position to be lowered, but required the wheelbase to be shortened asymmetrically on one side by 1½".cite web
title=Engine and chassis in the workshops, bodywork removed. Note the airbrake actuating cylinder.
url=http://www.brooklandsarchives.com/Gallery_C5/target0.html
publisher=Brooklands photo archive
format=photo
] Airbrakes were fitted, actuated by a large air cylinder. For extra streamlining the radiator air intake could be closed by a movable flap, for a brief period during the record itself. cite web
title=Bluebird, 1935
url=http://www.racingcampbells.com/content/cars.asp#1935
publisher=Racing Campbells
]

'Bluebird' made its first record runs back on Daytona Beach in early 1935. On 7 March 1935 Campbell improved his record to 276.82 mph, but the unevenness of the beach sand still caused a loss of grip and he knew the car was capable of more.cite web
title=Bluebird at Daytona, 1935
url=http://www.sirmalcolmcampbell.com/sir35d.html
many period photos]

The faster car needed a bigger and smoother arena, and this led to the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. This time the young Donald Campbell accompanied his father. On 3rd September 1935, the 300mph barrier fell by a bare mile-per-hour, crowning Sir Malcolm Campbell's record-breaking career. cite book
title=The Land Speed Record
last=Holthusen
first=Peter J.R.
isbn=0854294996
date=1986
] cite web
title=Bluebird at Bonneville, 1935
url=http://www.sirmalcolmcampbell.com/sir35.html
many period photos]

Survival today

Alabama Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, Talladega, Alabama, USA

References

* cite web
title=record-breaking Pendine Sands
url=http://www.sandspeedwales.co.uk/5907.html
publisher=Sand Speed Wales
format=photos
Many rare period photos.


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