Campbell (Donald)


July 1964

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Folder containing 12 black and white photographs (280 x210mm) in plastic sleeves, each with its own typewritten description of the preparation of Donald Campbell’s world speed record attempt on Lake Eyre on 17th July 1964. The photographs are in good condition and the folder is titled in gilt on the front cover.

There is a typed presentation letter at the back of the folder to Cyril Lord signed by Donald Campbell which reads: In profound appreciation of an old and dear friend and all his help and encouragement, which contributed so much to the success achieved.

Cover title: Bluebird Lake Eyre 17th July 1964.

Donald Campbell had a serious crash in 1960 while travelling in excess of 360 mph (579 km/h) during an attempt at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA, very nearly writing off both his Bluebird-Proteus CN7 car and himself. It took some time for him to recuperate, but two years later he was ready to try again, with a rebuilt and improved CN7, at Lake Eyre salt flats in Australia. Fate had other ideas, however: after nine years of drought, the rains came to Lake Eyre just after Donald had started on some trial runs. The attempt was postponed. By 1964, Donald Campbell was ready to give it another go. Despite unfavourable damp conditions, on 17 July he recorded an average speed of 648.73 km/h (403.10 mph) and secured that elusive world record.

Perhaps surprisingly, Donald felt the result to be something of a let-down: the CN7 had been designed to get closer to 500 mph (800 km/h). Moreover, his speed was actually less than that attained by Craig Breedlove the previous year. Still, he now held the official land-speed record! And there was more to come.

Later that year, Donald travelled to Lake Dumbleyung, near Perth in Western Australia, his mindset on the water-speed record. He was plagued by a host of setbacks – everything from unfavourable easterly winds to moulting ducks that were unable to fly from the lake and leaving him without a clear path. But in a narrow window of opportunity on the very last day of 1964, he pushed his Bluebird to an unprecedented speed of 276.33 mph (444.71 km/h), shattering the existing record of 260.35 mph (418.99 km/h) that he himself had set in 1959 on Lake Coniston in Cumbria, UK. In so doing, he became, and still remains, the only person ever to have set both the land- and water-speed world record in the same year.

  • Overall Condition: Very Good
  • Size: 4to (280 x 240 mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard via PayGate secure links and Bank transfers.
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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