Sir Malcolm Campbell sets land speed record of 301.13 mph

Sir Malcolm Campbell the first man in the world to exceed 300mph; Captain Eyston sets record of 159.30mph over one hour

Undoubtedly the most outstanding records of the year are those made at Bonneville Salt Flats, by Sir Malcolm Campbell on September 3 and by Capt. Eyston on September 6-18.

Bluebird in 1935

Bluebird in 1935, away from Bonneville Photo: Motorsport Images

Sir Malcolm drove "Bluebird" over the measured mile at 304.33 m.p.h. in one direction, and returned down the course at 298.01 m.p.h., thus setting the World's Flying Mile Record at 301.13 m.p.h. More than that, Sir Malcolm is the first man in the world to exceed 300 m.p.h. on land, having attained at last the speed which has been his ambition since he first attacked the Land Speed Record with the old "V12" Sunbeam in 1924. It is understood that Sir Malcolm has now promised Lady Campbell that he will retire from this class of record breaking, unless another country should produce a car that betters " Bluebird's " figure.

It is a tremendous tribute to Sir Malcolm's skill and experience and to the abilities of Reid Railton who designed the car, that this historic record was established almost without a hitch. On the faster run a tyre burst at 280 m.p.h., but Sir Malcolm contrived to maintain a steady course. After all tyres had been changed the return run was safely completed, and at first an error in estimating the actual speed made it seem that an average of 300 m.p.h. had just been missed. The error was soon corrected and the historic news released to the world that a motor-car had covered a mile in 12 seconds !

"Bluebird" is now so well known that a full description is quite unnecessary. Built at Brooklands by Messrs. Thompson and Taylor Ltd., the giant car has a Schneider Trophy type, supercharged 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce engine developing 2,300 h.p. and the complete machine weighs over 4 tons. That it established the record on its first runs at Utah is a great tribute to all concerned. "Bluebird" was actually built in 1927, when it had a Napier engine. Since then it has undergone very extensive modification on a number of different occasions, and each time it has set up a new Land Speed figure, with one exception only, when the car established 5 mile and 5 kilo records at Verneuk Pan. It is, perhaps, significant that the present design retains rear-wheel drive and an open cockpit. This time ingenious air-brakes assisted Campbell to check speed after the 300 m.p.h. sprint, and, as before, the venture would have been quite impossible without the special tyres supplied by Dunlop.

Always, after a record of this nature, there is someone who suggests that far too much is made of the achievement, in view of the proportionately much greater speeds attained by small-engined racing cars. The same thing invariably crops up in air-racing; indeed, has occurred just recently when Howard Hughes did 352.46 m.p.h. in a 1,000 h.p. landplane, against Delmotte's 343.30 m.p.h. in a similar type of aeroplane of only 380 h.p. The matter was very nicely summed-up by "The Aeroplane," which said: "If we were arguing about comparative efficiencies . . . that would be a justifiable point to raise. But in talking about absolute speeds, regardless of conditions, the argument is useless and stupid." Exactly the same applies to the "Motor-car Speed Record" (as the lay-press term it), what it feels like to drive at over 300 m.p.h. only Sir Malcolm can know, but those of us who have felt unusually daring and "he-manish" after driving at a mere 100 m.p.h. would do well to try and imagine how we would have felt had the car accelerated to three times that speed!

Summing up, it is significant that Sqd.-Ldr. Orlebar, himself experienced in ultra-high-speed-travel, said in his book "Schneider Trophy" at a time when Sir Malcolm had reached only 250 m.p.h., that he fully appreciated the colossal task of controlling a machine travelling at this rate on the ground, and suggested that "Bluebird" must have been very nearly air-borne at that speed.

Turning to Eyston's records, one's greatest admiration is for the manner in which the front-drive, Rolls-Royce engined "Speed-of-the-Wind" was taken straight out to Utah, and, an experimental car running far from its "base," functioned perfectly at phenomenal speeds. The World's Hour Record has always been one of the most coveted, calling as it does for sustained running at speeds which could scarcely be held for one-mile only, ten years ago. To average 159.3 m.p.h. for an hour on a vast, salt lake course calls for immense fitness of both car and driver, and such an achievement deserves the highest admiration. Coveted as the "Hour" has always been, it was only a few years ago that it was raised to a speed beyond the capabilities of normal racing cars, indeed, it seems only a short time ago that Thomas astonished the motoring world by covering just over 110 miles in an hour on a Leyland Thomas. Now we have Eyston's figure of over 159 miles.

As we close for press we learn that Eyston, and his co-drivers, A. Denby and Chris Staniland, have broken the World's 24-Hour Record at 140.19 m.p.h., collecting numerous other records during the run.


  • Engine — Rolls-Royce
  • Tyres — Dunlop
  • Fuel — Esso Ethyl special
  • Oil — Patent Castrol
  • Clutch lining — Ferodo
  • Brake linings — Ferodo
  • Shock absorbers — T. B. Andre
  • Steering — Burman
  • Steering damper and wheel — T.T.N. & Bluemel
  • Instruments, etc. — S. Smith & Sons
  • Brake servo — Clayton-Dewandre
  • Sparking plugs — K.L.G.
  • Gears — David Brown
  • Frame members — John Thompson
  • Finish — Belco
  • Radiators — Serck
  • Axles and shafts — Hadflelds steels
  • Springs — Woodhead
  • Glass — Triplex
  • Wheel discs — Cornercrofts
  • Cushions — Moseley
  • Magnetos — B.T.H.
  • Axle-gears — E.N.V.
  • Accumulators — Young

"Speed of the Wind"

  • Engine — Rolls-Royce
  • Tyres — Dunlop
  • Fuel — B.P. Ethyl
  • Oil — Patent Castrol
  • Brake linings — Ferodo
  • Shock absorbers — Andre-Hartford
  • Steering — Adamant
  • Wheel — Dover Wheel
  • Instruments — Jaeger
  • Brakes — Lockheed brakes
  • Gears — Armstrong, Siddeley pre-selector box
  • Frame members — L. T. Delaney Ltd.
  • Radiator — Gallay
  • Axles — Miller-type drive shafts
  • Springs — Herbert Terry
  • Wheel discs — Ewarts
  • Cushions — Moseley
  • Magnetos — B.T.H.
  • Axle gears — E.N.V.
  • Accumulators — Lucas.