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Today in History: Sir Malcolm Campbell Breaks the Land Speed Record

Posted in Classic, Fast Cars, History, Racing, Rolls Royce by Vito Rispo | September 2nd, 2008 | 3 Responses |

September 3rd, 1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell drove his specially built Campbell-Railton Bluebird, powered by a supercharged Rolls-Royce R V12, across the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, surpassing 300 mph and breaking the land speed record for the ninth time.

That’s right, ninth time. Campbell broke nine land speed records, and five of them were in a row, meaning he kept going back to break his own damn records. Balls of Solid Steel. The first was in 1924, when he broke 146 mph; and only 11 years later, he would be the first person on earth to drive a car over 300 mph.

Sir Malcolm Campbell: WWI pilot, motorcycle racer, Grand Prix racer, journalist, knight, and general badass extraordinaire, is the first man inducted into our RideLust Badass Hall of Fame (possibily to be re-named the Sir Malcolm Campbell Balls of Steel Award)

If you have any further nominations, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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3 Responses

  1. Mickey Thompson, whose Challenger One was powered by four supercharged Pontiac V8s, achieved a speed of just a bit above 400 mph in the early Sixties; yet the World Land Speed Record elluded him. He was one of the those people who literally became a legend, thanks to his involvement in all manner of motorsports, including Indy, off-road racing and the Bonneville Salt Flats. His name was attached to off-road stadium racing – berms created inside the building – and that was sadly the cause of his demise. A business partner paid some people to kill both Mickey Thompson and his wife, after said business partner was booted out of the business of stadium racing. After years of saying he had done no such thing, a jury convicted that former business partner who is now in prison.

    But Mickey Thompson remains a legend.

  2. Joe says:

    Sit Down, Strap up and get the f outta my way!!
    Love these factoids from you Vito. Great job of educating us on some interesting history. Plus–that first pic is ultra awesome. I mean, everyone around him was probably super serious at the time, afraid he might blow up or something, but he looks like he’s having the time of his life. Sweet.

  3. Andy Lambert says:

    That Picture was taken at Brooklands in Weybridge Surrey where the Campbells tested many of their cars. The guys around him would have been true petrol heads of their time and some could well have been fellow drivers.

    Brooklands was the home of Motor Sport in the UK until the 2nd WW, but it was also the place where aviation really started and record making aircraft like the Vimy were built. So you could say those guys were very serious about anything to do with combustion engines.

    If you don’t know there is a large Motoring and Aviation Museum at Brooklands today