The Bluebird rides again
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Sir Malcolm Campbell's grandson returns to the sands where he broke the land speed record 90 years ago this week.
The Bluebird racing car which set a land speed record for Sir Malcolm Campbell 90 years ago was yesterday brought back to the scene of the triumph by his grandson.
Don Wales recreated his grandfather’s historic moment as he drove the car at a more sedate walking speed on Pendine Sands in Wales where it hit more than 150mph in 1925.
The Bluebird - now kept at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire - was fired up for the first time in 50 years following a rebuild last year.
Mr Wales said: ‘It is marvellous to be back at Pendine with Bluebird. We always get a marvellous reception.’
The 350hp Sunbeam Bluebird, built in 1919, was given a commemorative low-speed demonstration run on the seven-mile long sands of the Carmarthenshire beach.
Sir Malcolm bought the car to paint it in its famous colour scheme - and in September 1924 set a new record speed of 146mph, raising it the following year to 150.76mph.
After Campbell sold it, the car had a number of owners before being bought in poor condition in 1957 by Lord Montagu who restored it at his Beaulieu home.
Mr Wales, 54, said yesterday: ‘The car gave my grandfather his first Land Speed Record.
‘I cannot believe that I have get this fantastic opportunity to drive this iconic machine on Pendine.
‘It is also be fun to dress in costume to look as my grandfather did in the pictures taken 90 years ago.’
The run took place next to the Pendine Museum of Speed with hundreds of fans ready to cheer it on.
Sir Malcolm Campbell gained the world speed record on land and on water at various times during the 1920s and 1930s - and all his vehicles were called Bluebird.
His son, Donald Campbell, carried on the family tradition - breaking eight absolute world speed records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s. He was killed in another attempt in the Lake District in 4 January 1967 when his boat somersaulted at more than 300mph.
Mr Wales – Donald Campbell’s nephew - has been maintaining the family record-breaking tradition since setting the UK National Land Speed Record for an electric car at 116mph in 1998.
In 2009 he set a World Land Speed Record for a steam powered car of 148mph, and in 2010 he returned to Pendine Sands and set the World Lawn Mower Record with a speed of 87mph.