Bluebird Archive Photos & Films

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KW Mitchell
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by KW Mitchell »

--------- and therein might we factor such effects upon that fateful campaign of '66/'67.

Campbell in dubious health, almost penniless, pressured by the need to make record to deadline, disillusioned by the diminishing wider interest.

Problem after problem with an aging and much modified craft.

A support team not in the first flush of youth with the 67 year old Villa steadfast and indefatigable despite his very real - and justified - concerns about the wisdom of the whole attempt.

Deplorable working conditions under a flimsy tarpaulin rig which elected to compound the drama by collapsing on K7 during a storm.

The advisability of such an effort - with that wonderful eye of hindsight - we might question.
The courage and fortitude, we cannot.
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Drewski
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by Drewski »

I never thought of the record attempt or the lead up to it, in terms such as those mentioned above. It seems the odds were well & truly stacked up against Donald and the team - yet they were so close to achieving it all. If gravity had prevailed for another 2 seconds on Coniston in January 1967 then the storyline could have been so different.

very interesting points above..... it makes the entire story even more intriguing.

Could you go into more depth on any of these points Mr Mitchell ? I'd love to hear more stories from this perspective....

thanks
Many Miles away, there's a shadow on a door, of a cottage on the Shore, of a Dark Scottish Lake.....
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klingon
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by klingon »

DMCK7 Fan wrote:
klingon wrote:Scooter looks like a Lambretta J125 or Cento-wonder if thats still around?-and who has it?-can't make out the registration number to check!
52 DOY
52DOY.jpg
Hmm-not registered anymore but that don't mean it dont exist!-will check with Lambretta Club see if I can find anything-surprised he used such a low powered scooter to convert to a water sled -4hp aint gonna scorch the waves!- Lambretta Sx200 with a Wal Phillips fuel injector and Ancilotti exhaust would have got him perhaps 12 or 14 hp-mebbe made DC smile!-he just invented one of the first Jetskis!
"I hate two faced people-don't know which face to punch first!"
KW Mitchell
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by KW Mitchell »

Drewski wrote:I never thought of the record attempt or the lead up to it, in terms such as those mentioned above. It seems the odds were well & truly stacked up against Donald and the team - yet they were so close to achieving it all. If gravity had prevailed for another 2 seconds on Coniston in January 1967 then the storyline could have been so different.

very interesting points above..... it makes the entire story even more intriguing.

Could you go into more depth on any of these points Mr Mitchell ? I'd love to hear more stories from this perspective....

thanks
Actually, it's Dr Mitchell, but Keith will most certainly do!

The points I made were very brief distillations drawn from reliable biographical sources surrounding Donald Campbell and Water/Land Speed Record Breaking. They are not the only ones, but are amongst the best and I commend them to you:

The Bluebird Years Arthur Knowles/Graham Beech ISBN: 978-1-85058-766-8
Leo Villa's Bluebird Album David De Lara ISBN: 978-0-85184-071-0
Donald Campbell - The Man behind the Mask David Tremayne ISBN: 978-0-553-81511-5
Rainbow Coloured Fred Blois http://www.rainbowcoloured.co.uk

Also, of course, past postings on this Forum touch on certain of these issues (with my apology if you've already read them) and you might consider registering on the Speed Record Group Forum:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Speedrecordgroup/

Sorry, if this response is not satisfying but to enlarge on the points is possibly a bit beyond the scope of the Forum (size not depth if you see what I mean).

However, if there are specific points you would like enlightenment on, then I am sure I - and indeed others more qualified than I - would try to help.
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Drewski
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by Drewski »

A support team not in the first flush of youth with the 67 year old Villa steadfast and indefatigable despite his very real - and justified - concerns about the wisdom of the whole attempt.

thanks for your response Keith - i'll have a closer look at the reading material to gain an in depth insight, But just one question about the point raised above.

Was Leo's concerns about the record attempt ;
Centering on the ability of Bluebird ?
The modifications to Bluebird as not being satisfactory to make the 300 ?
Whether the record attempt was attainable or totally out of reach ?

or was his concerns something totally different ?
Many Miles away, there's a shadow on a door, of a cottage on the Shore, of a Dark Scottish Lake.....
KW Mitchell
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by KW Mitchell »

When DC mooted the idea of returning to Coniston to break the 300mph, Leo Villa was very much against it because of the age of the boat as it would be 13 years old, had multiple mod's, refurbishments and of course had sunk in Lake Mead (1955).

In response to Campbell's exhortation to go again, Villa quoted from The New Testament ' You can't put new wine into old bottles -----------!' . Ken Norris also voiced concerns as K7 had originally been designed for up to 250mph on the basis of wind tunnel data obtained at that speed.

Additional mod's would enable it to exceed 300, but with a reduced stability margin and the inclusion of a water brake to aid it's deceleration.

Villa was also clearly tired of the many - and exhausting - record attempts at Coniston and as I said in my original note, he was a man of retirement age.

But DC would not be deterred and Villa acquiesced with that remarkable display of loyalty that he maintained throughout his association with the Campbell dynasty.

But a footnote: it is clear from the records that on the few occasions DC chose to ignore Leo Villa's counsel, he inevitably ran into trouble - and none more so than in it's apocalyptic finale'.
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Renegadenemo
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by Renegadenemo »

Ken and Lew actually advised Donald against pushing K7 to 300mph. They suggested he went ahead with a planned trip to Australia and they'd design him a new boat in the meantime. He didn't go for it.
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

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Drewski
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by Drewski »

thanks Keith , Bill - As much as i thought i knew the story of Bluebird and Donald Campbell, then another primary story emerges. Its more of an Enigma as time goes by.

Fascinating stories - thanks for sharing..... i'm sure it will spark some good debate.
Many Miles away, there's a shadow on a door, of a cottage on the Shore, of a Dark Scottish Lake.....
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Renegadenemo
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by Renegadenemo »

As it happens this is one of the reasons why we've pushed to run the boat in spring or summer. Spannering on two and a half tons of cold metal in January with short days and cold nights absolutely has to be uncomfortable and bad for morale and that's when concentration suffers and mistakes result.
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes.

'Sometimes you gotta be an S.O.B if you wanna make a dream reality' Mark Knopfler
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Drewski
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Re: Looking Back In Time- Archive Bluebird Photos

Post by Drewski »

Have you nominated a person to Captain Bluebird on her maiden Voyage ( part deux ) ?
Many Miles away, there's a shadow on a door, of a cottage on the Shore, of a Dark Scottish Lake.....
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