Bristol Proteus-Campbell Bluebird

 

This is Donald Campbell's Bluebird from 1960, not the one that actually got the record. This original car was wrecked in a crash at Bonneville flats in 1960 and rebuilt in 1962/3 to almost exactly the same design. The first trials of the rebuilt, replacement Bluebird CN7 took place in Australia in May 1963, with the world land speed record being set at 403.10 mph at Lake Eyre on 17th July, 1964 after months of torrential rain and flooding.

I've seen the real car at Beaulieu - it is very imposing and a very sensuous looking car, beautifully sculpted, shame about the yakky colour though. The Corgi is a model of the original car which was destroyed in 1960, the one Campbell used for his successful world record attempt in 1964 has a large vertical tail fin.

I was brought up on a farm in Cumbria, near Coniston Water. In 1967 when Donald Campbell killed himself in his boat on the lake I was 11 years old and in my last term at the village school. On the day it happened I went home for lunch as usual and the news of his crash was on The World at One. We had actually heard the bang in the playground at school.

My parents and I finished our lunch, got in the car and went for a drive round the lake to see if we could see anything - not the best response on reflection, what if there had been something to see? As it was there was nothing at all. He had gone, completely, without a trace of wreckage. It has now of course been salvaged.

153

This is the first version of the Corgi model. It was replaced the next year with one with plastic wheels (153a), this one (153) has turned alloy wheels and rubber tyres. There are variations to the decal on the nose of the car. They are sometimes crossed Union Jack & US Stars & Stripes, sometimes two Union Jacks and sometimes there is a blue bird, sometimes not (the 1:1 car at Beaulieu has the bird and crossed UK and Australian flags) this variation does not seem to have any relationship to the model, 153 or 153a, the decal you get is random, nor does it have any effect seemingly on value, all versions of the Bluebird are valued at around the same figure.

153A

This is the second version of the Corgi model. It replaced the car from the previous year, the one with turned alloy wheels and rubber tyres (153), this one (153a) has solid plastic wheels.

     
Corgi Toys 153; Bristol Proteus-Campbell Bluebird; Blue, Polished Metal Wheels, UK & US Flags Corgi Toys 153A; Bristol Proteus-Campbell Bluebird; Blue, Plastic Wheels, 2x UK Flags Corgi Toys 153A; Bristol Proteus-Campbell Bluebird; Blue, Plastic Wheels, UK & US Flags
Corgi Toys 153; Bristol Proteus-Campbell Bluebird; Blue, Polished Metal Wheels, UK & US Flags Corgi Toys 153A; Bristol Proteus-Campbell Bluebird; Blue, Plastic Wheels, 2x UK Flags Corgi Toys 153A; Bristol Proteus-Campbell Bluebird; Blue, Plastic Wheels, UK & US Flags

 


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Last Edit: 26/05/2022 Page Added 24/05/2022