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Malcolm Campbell

Portrait of Sir Malcolm Campbell (undated), courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection

Sir Malcolm Campbell (born March 11, 1885 in Chislehurst, Kent, England - died December 31, 1948 in Reigate, Surrey, England) was a racing motorist and motoring journalist. He gained the world speed record on land and on water at various times during the 1920s and 1930s using vehicles called Bluebird. His son, Donald Campbell, was killed in 1967, attempting to repeat his achievements.

Grand Prix career

He competed in Grand Prix motor racing, winning the 1927 and 1928 Grand Prix de Boulogne in France driving a Bugatti T39A.

Land speed record

Malcolm broke nine land speed records between 1924 and 1935, with three at Pendine Sands and five at Daytona Beach.

He set his final land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on September 3, 1935, and was the first person to drive an automobile over 300 miles per hour (301.337 mph).

Sir Malcolm Campbell in his Bluebird II (undated), courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection

Water speed records

He set the water speed record four times. His highest speed was 141.740 mph in the Bluebird K4. He set the record on August 19, 1939 on Coniston Water in Great Britain.


He died after a long illness in 1948. He was one of the few land speed record holders of his era to die of natural causes. His versatile racing on different vehicles made him internationally famous.



He was a Vice President of the Middlesex County Automobile Club.

He became interested in the search for buried treasure in the Cocos Islands.

Campbell was also involved in politics. He stood for Parliament without success at the 1935 general election in Deptford for the Conservative Party.

Campbell was depicted by Robert Hardy in a BBC dramatisation of the attempt on the land speed record with Bluebird II.

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