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February 13, 2016
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Bluebird CN7 - The inside story of Donald Campbell’s last Land Speed Record car

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Interview with author Donald Stevens

Bluebird CN7 - The inside story of Donald Campbell’s last Land Speed Record car
BOOK OF THE MONTH - Octane magazine

By Donald Stevens
About the Author

Hardback • 160 pages • 250 tall x 207mm • 142 pictures & line drawings in colour & mono

ISBN: 978-1-84584-280-2

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£ 24.99 (for eBooks this varies and delivery is free)

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- The story of the Bluebird CN7 told by a member of the original design team
- The name "Bluebird" is synonymous with world speed record breaking
- CN7 is the fastest of the Bluebirds and the most sophisticated design ever produced for a wheel-driven record breaker
- CN7 used technology and materials developed for the aircraft industry
- The personalities involved
- Previously unpublished photographs, drawings and speed graphs
- CN7 is now resident in the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu


The development, construction and operation of the last wheel-driven land speed record-breaking car that the UK produced, and how the tragic demise of Donald Campbell precluded it from reaching its full potential. It is also the personal story of one of the design team, how he became involved, and his incredible experiences in doing so. With many previously unpublished photographs, drawings,
and illustrations, this is a unique account of a legendary feat of British engineering.


Since the early 1920s the name Bluebird has been synonymous with world speed record breaking on land and water. Driven first by Sir Malcolm Campbell, then his son Donald, and latterly by Donald’s nephew Donald Wales in electric powered vehicles, they have consistently pushed records ever higher.
This book is the story of the design and construction of the fastest of the Bluebirds, the Campbell-Norris 7 (CN7). This car, now resident in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in England, is the most sophisticated design ever produced for a wheel-driven record breaker. Using methods and materials developed for the aircraft industry, the CN7, given suitable running conditions, was capable in 1960 of a speed exceeding that produced by the present wheel-driven record holder 19 years later.
The author was first employed by the designers Norris Brothers Ltd as a design draughtsman on the Bluebird K7 hydroplane. After completing his National Service in the RAF, he rejoined the company to work with the two chief designers developing the specification for CN7, and he later became project co-ordinator for its construction.

Independent Reviews

"A well-written and fascinating book that's packed with interesting photographs, drawings and other information. It's an absolute 'must' for anyone with an interest in the 'Bluebird Era.'" – Teme Valley Times

"Highly recommended, particularly to engineering readers." – Speedscene

"There are plenty of technical details and illustrations in this book to keep the mechanically minded engrossed, but the background to the personalities involved, the fascinating contributions of the various specialist suppliers and the nail-biting will-they/won't-they excitement make this a highly recommended read to anybody with an interest in cars, record breaking or British engineering and endeavour at its finest." – MG Enthusiast

"BOOK OF THE MONTH. This is a wonderful book, written with love, and a reminder of Britain's inherent, if occasionally misplaced, can-do spirit." – Octane

"It's a well-balanced piece, both anecdotally and technically satisfying and giving a comprehensive and nicely measured account of the project." – Classic Cars

"With drawings, diagrams and photos [Stevens] illustrates the design process and assembly, including unseen photos of the Utah crash and successful Lake Eyre runs." – Motor Sport

"Essential reading for anyone interested in the Proteus-powered beauty." – Classic & Sports Car

"This book is as engrossing as it is inspiring. Perhaps the best book ever written on a land speed car." – Racecar Engineering

"This book is excellent for both technical and not so technical readers. This is a book to savour and revisit time after time. Donald Stevens waited a long time to write this book. We should be grateful he let us into his world." – Fast Facts

"With many previously unpublished photos, drawings and speed graphs, this book will prove fascinating to anyone with even the faintest interest in Campbell and the Bluebirds. A superb 160-page, very personal account of one of Britain's great and serial speed record competitors." – Totalkitcar


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