A Century of Bluebird Racing Machines


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A hundred years of the iconic Campbell family's record-breaking exploits in a variety of the Bluebird vehicles were celebrated during the unveiling of their latest racing car on Tuesday.


The theatre is a crucial part of the Bluebird story, because it was there 100 years ago that Sir Malcolm Campbell saw Maurice Maeterlinck's play The Blue Bird.


That night he christened his racing car Blue Bird and went on to win his first race at Brooklands race track in Surrey, south-west of London.

[Gina Campbell, Sir Malcolm Campbell's Granddaughter]:
"He thought the story (of the play) was so enchanting and captivating and he hadn't had a lot of luck with his racing cars before that, decided to grab every can of blue paint he could get, mix it all up, paint his racing car blue, drove to Brooklands and won his first race the following day. Hence the name Bluebird has always stayed within the Campbell family, both for my grandfather to my father to myself to my cousin to now my grandfather's great-grandchildren."

Among the cars on display were the first Blue Bird, Sir Malcolm Campbell's 1912 Lorraine-Dietrich Vieux Charles III, as well as the 350 HP Sunbeam in which Sir Malcolm took his first Land Speed Record in 1924, at 146mph.

There was also the Bluebird K3 boat in which he took his first Water Speed record in 1937 at 126mph, which was fired up during the celebrations.

More recent vehicles on display included the Bluebird Electric 2000, Don Wales' UK record-holder for an electric car with 137mph.

[Don Wales, Sir Malcolm Campbell's Grandson]:
"For us to be here -- all of the grandchildren of Sir Malcolm Campbell and great-grandchildren of Sir Malcolm Campbell is a fabulous unique opportunity, this family has been breaking records for 100 years and I hope we can continue."