Britain's Donald Campbell, holder of the world water speed record of 260.35 mph, is to attack the world land speed record - now at 394.196 mph, set up by the late John Cobb in 1947-on Bonnewille Salt Flats, Utah, USA, in September, in a gas turbine-powered "Bluebird" car.
Britain's Donald Campbell, holder of the world water speed record of 260.35 mph, is to attack the world land speed record - now at 394.196 mph, set up by the late John Cobb in 1947-on Bonnewille Salt Flats, Utah, USA, in September, in a gas turbine-powered "Bluebird" car. The new car is being assembled at Coventry, where it was fitted with its engine, May 17, while tyre research, filmed the previous day, has been going on for some time in Birmingham.
Termed the CN7, the new four-wheel drive 8,000-lb "Bluebird" - now within six weeks of completion - is the most powerful land vehicle ever devised. Its Bristol Siddeley Proteus gas turbine engine - similar to that used in the 'Britannia' airliner - develops over 4,000 HP, yet is little more than 9ft long and weighs 1 1/2 tons.
Incorporated in a 30ft long body 8ft wide and less than 5ft high, on a frame of light alloy, the engine gives so flexible performance that no clutch or gears are required. Transmission is imparted from the front of the engine to the front wheel differential, and from the rear of the engine to the rear wheels.
It has taken five years of preparation, and the co-operation of 69 British industrial companies, to create this speed record vehicle designed by the engineers responsible for the "Bluebird" speed boat. One of the firms contributing the best of their skill and all the wealth of their experience into the CN7 is Dunlop of Birmingham. Flexibility, density and profile of the tyres are just as important as the special air and disc brakes when it comes to bringing Bluebird to a halt form 450 mph in a mere 60 seconds.
Bluebird's tyres, perhaps the most vital parts in ensuring safety, are made of a completely new material, capable of bearing a high speed pressure of some 200lbs per square inch. These tyres should carry the vehicle safely across the 15-mile Utah Salt Flat stretch of which seven miles are to be used for getting up speed one mile for measuring the speed record, and the other seven for stopping the car.