Sir Malcolm Campbell's first world water speed record trophy
Soon to go to auctioneers hammer is this silver trophy presented to daredevil and racing legend Sir Malcolm Campbell to commemorate his first world water speed record (126.33mph) on Lake Maggiore on September 1, 1937. Campbell is somewhat of a rarity in that he successfully competed in some of the earliest motorcycle and car racing events, won Grands Prix, broke the Land Speed Record nine times, the World Water Speed record four times, and was the first human to drive over 300 mph, and fought in WW1 in the RAF, yet he died of natural causes. Few such daredevils escaped death in their pursuits – his son Donald among their number.
The trophy, a waterline model of Campbell’s single step hydroplane “Bluebird K3”, was awarded to Campbell by Lord Wakefield, the director of CC Wakefield and Co Ltd, the ‘Castrol’ oil company, who was a keen supporter of motor and aviation development. It has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £35,000 – 50,000. Campbell broke nine land speed records between 1924 and 1935, and was the first man to exceed 300mph on land in 1935. He went on to break four water speed records; his highest speed on water was 141.74mph in 1939 in a Bluebird K4 on Coniston Water.
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Campbell’s son Donald broke a further eight world speed records on land and water and remains the only person to set both land and water speed records in the same year (1964). He died in 1967 attempting to push the world water speed record past 300 mph. His famous Bluebird K7 watercraft broke up just 150 metres from the end of the return journey down a measured mile at approximately 320 mph (510 km/h).
The silver trophy will be auctioned as part of The Marine Sale at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 24th March.