Bluebird CN7: The Inside Story of Donald Campbell’s Last Land Speed Record Car – Review

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By Rich Barnett

Donald Campbell’s story of record breaking is almost Shakespearian – the son whose career was, through no fault of his own, overshadowed by that of his father.

There was that all-too-powerful need to emulate his father’s achievements, yet Donald Campbell often appeared to be too decent to be driving a team of designers and engineers to achieve his aims.

bluebird cn7 book review coverThis book looks at the team who designed, revised and fettled CN7, Donald Campbell’s final car, and for those interested in the make-up of the car, and how they went about the design and construction, author Donald Stevens goes about it in an enthusiastic way.

“A first-rate read”

The project was a place where the post-war boffinery found a new home for those keen to keep the Union Flag flying across the globe in a bid to highlight the technical prowess of British manufacturing, whether companies were small or large.

The pressure Stevens was under, as well as the technical staff from the many companies that supported the project, recall days when patriotism was nothing to be ashamed of.

Campbell’s drive no doubt enthused some of the technical staff and clearly infuriated others but there remains no escaping he was – no pun intended – a driven man. But did the shadow of his father (which isn’t discussed in this book) drive Donald Campbell too far?

Really a book for those who like to find out more about the technical side, Veloce’s welcome re-print is a first-rate read. Some irritating typos creep in – spelling Ferodo as ‘Ferrodo’ was particularly annoying – but brand name exactitude (or otherwise) in no way detracts.

Interesting and entertaining.

Bluebird CN7: The Inside Story of Donald Campbell’s Last Land Speed Record Car by Donald Stevens is published by Veloce, £30


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