Last year on July 17th marked the 50 year anniversary of Donald Campbell setting the new land speed record back in 1964. The record setting milestone was reached on the salt bed at Lake Erye in Southern Australia. Campbell and his team overcame mechanical problems as well as treacherous conditions. Campbell set the record by setting a blistering speed of 403.10MPH in his Bluebird CN7.
In 1956, Campbell set his sights on the land speed record at the time sitting at 394 MPH. Campbell with the help of the Norris Brothers, started working on a design that could take down the record. The finished product was the Bluebird CN7, an 8,000 lb, AWD, 4,000HP behemoth design capable of 500+ HP.
After some heavy testing in 1960, Donald’s first attempt brought him to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Unfortunately disaster struck, Donald suffered a broken skull following a high speed crash. It took three years for Donald to fully heal both mentally and physically from his crash at Bonneville. After some time away from Racing, and another failed attempt in 1963, Donald Campbell persevered against all odds to break the record in 1964.
Donald was not only fast on land, but he was fast on water as well. Between 1955 and 1964, Donald Campbell set seven world water speed records. In 1967, Donald Campbell passed away in a high speed crash on a final attempt at the Water Speed Record at Coniston Water, in England. Campbell left a legacy of records broken through sheer determination and the boldness to go faster than anyone; the word “slow” will never be in the same breath as Donald Campbell.