|Original nose panel with the Bluebird CN7|
The Malcolm Campbell Heritage Trust has offered the item on loan to the museum following its donation to the Trust by Stadco Ltd Coventry, formerly Motor Panels Ltd – the original manufacturing company that worked on the CN7.
In a presentation in the museum, in front of the Bluebird CN7 itself, two nephews of Donald Campbell, Don Wales and Peter Hulme, handed the panel over to the Chief Executive of the National Motor Museum Trust (NMMT), Russell Bowman. Two representatives from Stadco, Paul Jaggers and Neil Holloway, were also present to witness the handover.
The panel, displaying the Union Jack and US flags alongside the Bluebird insignia, is the original nose panel from the Bluebird CN7, damaged during the world’s fastest ever survived car crash at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1960 in a land speed attempt prior to Donald Campbell’s 403.1mph record set in the car in 1964 at Lake Eyre, Australia.
Following the crash, the CN7 returned to Motor Panels for a redesign, including the addition of a tail fin to stabilise the vehicle at speed, and during the repairs the panel was removed and replaced. The old, damaged nose panel spent the next 50 years in various places on the Coventry site at Stadco before its recent donation to the Malcolm Campbell Heritage Trust.
Since receiving Stadco’s donation, the Malcolm Campbell Heritage Trust has loaned the panel to the National Motor Museum, which has housed the Bluebird CN7 since the late 1960s, for a brand new Land Speed Record Breakers display.
Don Wales, nephew of Donald Campbell, said: “We are very grateful to Stadco for returning this special panel to the family. It is an iconic piece of land speed motoring history and we are delighted to be able to loan it to Beaulieu for the new Land Speed Record Breakers display being unveiled next year.”
Expected to launch in Spring 2014, the museum’s new display will feature four iconic World Land Speed Record cars, including the Bluebird CN7, Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Blue Bird 350hp, Major Henry Segrave’s Sunbeam 1000hp and Golden Arrow, accompanied by new high definition images and archive film footage.
The panel will join a number of other rare land speed artefacts that will be showcased alongside the record breakers themselves.
NMMT Chief Executive, Russell Bowman, said: “We are delighted that visitors to Beaulieu will be able to see the original panel alongside the car itself, helping us to illustrate the determination exhibited by Donald Campbell and his team to overcome major setbacks and achieve his 1964 record. We are very grateful to Stadco and the Campbell Family for this loan.”