The Complete Car: "Balance" 1935 Chevrolet, with Campbell-Railton Blue Bird

The Complete Car: “Balance” 1935 Chevrolet, with Campbell-Railton Blue Bird
(Jeff Quitney)


[B]Published on Nov 20, 2015[/B]
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Includes footage of the Campbell-Railton Blue Bird land speed record car at Daytona Beach. This was the first car to break 300 miles per hour, setting a new world’s record of 301 mph.


Onscreen footage: horse-drawn Borden’s milk wagon (excellent), milkman delivering milk bottles

MCU milk bottle placed on front porch; baby playing with ribbon in baby carriage; middle aged man bouncing young child on his knee (grandson or granddaughter); Brinks armored car / truck, man with money bag steps into truck accompanied by armed guard; Brinks truck on urban street; man and woman riding on motorcycle; racing cars on speedway oval, wipeout: racing car crashes over guard rail into woods; great shot: tanks demolish old barn

VS 1935 General Motors car on beautiful concrete highway; late 1920s ambulance on suburban road (“Herman Kiefer Hospital”)

ca. early 1930s passenger bus (“The Carcajou Special Coach”), EXT and INT shots (passengers playing cards on bus), very good; Sir Malcolm Campbell’s “Bluebird” streamlined racing car (which broke speed records in the mid 1930s), shot of the “Bluebird” speeding on Daytona Beach, FL

British “pygmy” car (miniature automobile), being filled with gasoline (petrol); sturdy dump truck (“U.S. T.V.A”) on gravel road, CU huge truck tires; grandmother with young boy and young girl in back seat of car; mid 1930s General Motors car on paved and dirt roads.’

Reupload of a previously uploaded film with improved video & sound.

Public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).……

The Campbell-Railton Blue Bird was Sir Malcolm Campbell’s final land speed record car.

His previous Campbell-Napier-Railton Blue Bird 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.[1] This required two prominent “knuckles” atop the bodywork, to cover the V12 engine’s camboxes…

Blue Bird’s first run was back at Daytona, setting a record of 272 miles per hour (438 km/h) on 22 February 1933…


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. This Blue Bird was clearly a design of the Modernist '30s, not the brute heroism of the '20s.

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. 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"(37 mm). 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.

Blue Bird made its first record runs back on Daytona Beach in early 1935. On 7 March 1935 Campbell improved his record to 276.82 mph (445.5 kph), but the unevenness of the sand caused a loss of grip and he knew the car was capable of more.

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 3 September 1935, the 300 mph barrier fell by a bare mile-per-hour, crowning Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record-breaking career.

Survival today

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