1933: Rolls-Royce Campbell driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell

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Rolls-Royce Campbell

United Kingdom
12 cyl. Rolls-Royce "R" Supercharged Aero
36,523 cc
Bore x Stroke:
152.4 x 167.6 mm
2500 bhp @ 3200 rpm
4 Tons
27 ft
Top Speed:

272.46 mph

Irving Special

Campbell had twice re-taken the record from Segrave in arguably the most exciting days of the world land speed record, those during the 1930’s. But even though he remained the current record holder, he was not satisfied.

Always the perfectionist, Campbell decided his car must go even faster. The great designer Reid Railton was called in and hit upon the idea of using one of the Rolls-Royce R-type racing aero engines giving 2,500 horse-power-five times the power of the original Lion engine.

The adoption of a Rolls Royce engine however was not without problems. First the Bluebird’s chassis was "stretched" to 27 feet by the insertion of gussets in the side-members, and these were also taken further forward to carry a new radiator.

The clutch was also improved to take the extra power, and room made for an outsize supercharger at the front of the car.

It was estimated the engine would last for three minutes at full boost, and Campbell thought this long enough to reach his new goal of 300 miles an hour.

Many changes had been made to the Lion-engined Bluebird before the Rolls engine was fitted.

The coachbuilders Gurney Nutting reshaped the car to take the new engine. Campbell came close, but in the end had to be satisfied with a record of 272.46 mph.

Also See:

Land Speed Record Drivers
Herbert Austin LSR Attempt
History Of The Land Speed Record
Unique Cars and Parts USA - The Ultimate Classic Car Resource