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Bluebird - which party is missing the point?


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#51 McGuire

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 13:31

What makes Donald Campbell such a fascinating figure is that he was so conflicted. Had his father not been Sir Malcolm he would have never chosen the occupation. He probably had no business in any racing car or boat, really. At high speeds he was in a state of complete terror. But somehow -- oedipal tension, financial interest, medicinal bravery, whatever -- he summoned the motivation to screw up his nerve, strap it on and get it done. He performed extraordinary feats, even if he didn't have the "right stuff" to do them. He still did it all the same.

It does speak to the nature of speed record attempts -- is it engineering skill and courage, or is it a simply a matter of having a big enough engine and sufficient stupidity? Is this truly difficult, or only difficult in that it is so incredibly dangerous? But if we choose to honor the accomplishments, we must honor those who perform them. That is Donald Campbell's name on those records, and no one can take that away.

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#52 James Page

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 14:35

Originally posted by McGuire
It does speak to the nature of speed record attempts -- is it engineering skill and courage, or is it a simply a matter of having a big enough engine and sufficient stupidity? Is this truly difficult, or only difficult in that it is so incredibly dangerous? But if we choose to honor the accomplishments, we must honor those who perform them. That is Donald Campbell's name on those records, and no one can take that away.


Every time I read Richard Noble's book about Thrust SSC, I'm reminded of how incredible an achievement LSRs or WSRs really are. They are true feats of engineering excellence - which is why the battered remains of Bluebird would be no tribute to Campbell. I'm in agreement with those on this thread who say that a replica should be put on show and the original returned to Coniston.

Completely OT, I went to a Naval ball with some friends once. Everyone was meeting at some woman's room beforehand. In a slightly bored moment, I looked at the walls and noticed the FIA certificate for SSC's supersonic record. The 'some woman' was Andy Green's (then) girlfriend (now wife, I believe).

#53 Doug Nye

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 15:20

I'm a great fan of Mike Lawrence's but sometimes I have to say I feel he goes rather too far, and I believe this is one of those occasions on two counts - firstly dismissing Steve Holter's stature (relative to the self-perception of his own) within this area, and secondly indulging his occasionally tabloid proclivities.

Both are dangerous territory for us wot rite...

Having said that, I too regard Donald Campbell as having become - sadly - something of an irrelevance within his lifetime.

I have absorbed much of the paperwork, correspondence and private memos relating to the Owen Organisation's dealings with him when they rebuilt CN7 at their huge expense to make his 1964 World record success possible.

From my researches (backed by my contemporary knowledge of him) I have considerable respect for the driven, possessed, vain, randy, brave, flakey old fraud - but I really do doubt that unusual substances beyond pretty standard medicaments greatly distorted his life...

DCN

#54 rbm

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 15:49

I think the BBC web site is miss-quoting, at no point in the interview that was shown did the man from the HLF say anything like what he is quoted as saying, he did explain the HLF would be happy to support any conservation on the boat but would not fund a replica.

I sit here typing this less than a mile from the crash site, which a lot of people knew where it was but were not willing to help the treasure hunters, it's a shame it wasn't left where it belonged in peace.

#55 RS2000

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 16:03

By coincidence, I finished reading Steve's book (courtesy of our enlightened local library!) the other day. I've previously read others, including DT's. I lived as a child, then early teen, through all the in period publicity of Donald Campbell's exploits. Do I now really know DC? Answer no. Reason: nothing to do with any shortcomings of the excellent books, just lack of personal experience of the times (and some lifestyles of the times) as an adult.
Conversely, I feel personal experience of International Rallies in late 60s/early 70s leaves me far better qualified to judge, as one who caught the end of the pill popping on endurance events but never indulged. I am now reading Raymond Baxter's new book and just saw the phrase (in a rallying context) "..and a little medical assistance". I understand the new Paddy Hopkirk book mentions amphetamine use. Stuart Turner's "Twice Lucky" did too. It's not something that can be tollerated today, which is why we cannot revert to endurance events. S.Moss took Fangio's pill on the Mille Miglia and best not to ask why more drivers per car drive at Le Mans today?
Motor sport has a fundamental honesty problem with some of it's history that is only comparatively recently getting addressed.
Let's remember DC in period context and not apply standards of different times-or care whether he ever took drugs (and he probably didn't in any motorsport context, unlike many contempories?).
K7 cannot be "restored" - any more than many cars taking part in the Goodwood Revival can be considered to be mechanically representative of the period they purport to recall.

#56 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 17:08

"..., and secondly indulging his occasionally tabloid proclivities".

Hear, hear, and what Trill bird seed and Murray Walker has got to do with Campbell or Bluebird is really 'flowering up' a bit of a non-story (the drug use).

I recall clearly getting the evening newspaper on the way home from work with the Bluebird crash being front page news, and I've always had the greatest admiration for the man. Not his personal life grant you, but the fact that he was so dreadfully afraid at every record attempt and his utter courage at going through with it.

As for the future of Bluebird, I have no feelings one way or the other. Both arguments have their merits. Whatever decision is made will upset quite a few people.

#57 McGuire

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 17:10

Modern race drivers are technological couplings with their equipment. They understand the cars are engineered and built for the greatest possible safety and have an accurate understanding of the hardware and risks involved. The exercise is highly calculated...as with test pilots if you will. It's a day at the office; fun at four g's, to be sure, and it's great to win, but still a day at the office more or less.

Drivers of the past really were in significant part daredevils, adventurers -- they understood the grave risks, but accepted them as worthwhile relative to the rewards and were even exhilarated; not only by the sensory experience but by the danger itself.

Neither of these conditions describe Donald Campbell. It seems to me that when the canopy closed down and he set off on his record runs, he felt exactly the same way you would in identical situation: terrified out of his mind. But still he found a way to hold down the pedal and get the job done. How was he able to do that? However you would do it, once you set your mind that you had to do it. To me that is the fascinating thing about Donald Campbell.

#58 McGuire

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 17:17

Originally posted by James Page


Every time I read Richard Noble's book about Thrust SSC, I'm reminded of how incredible an achievement LSRs or WSRs really are. They are true feats of engineering excellence - which is why the battered remains of Bluebird would be no tribute to Campbell.


I share your view about speed record attempts, but I am willing to concede that, even in the motorsports community, many if not most consider these efforts to be little more than stunts.

#59 McGuire

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 17:37

Originally posted by Doug Nye
I'm a great fan of Mike Lawrence's but sometimes I have to say I feel he goes rather too far, and I believe this is one of those occasions on two counts - firstly dismissing Steve Holter's stature (relative to the self-perception of his own) within this area, and secondly indulging his occasionally tabloid proclivities.

Both are dangerous territory for us wot rite...

Having said that, I too regard Donald Campbell as having become - sadly - something of an irrelevance within his lifetime.

I have absorbed much of the paperwork, correspondence and private memos relating to the Owen Organisation's dealings with him when they rebuilt CN7 at their huge expense to make his 1964 World record success possible.

From my researches (backed by my contemporary knowledge of him) I have considerable respect for the driven, possessed, vain, randy, brave, flakey old fraud - but I really do doubt that unusual substances beyond pretty standard medicaments greatly distorted his life...
DCN


I had a wonderful time watching you and Lawrence trading stories (in another thread) about the legal and fiduciary gymnastics required to field a race team across Europe in the '50's and '60's. It would be a great shame if we were denied insights such as these, or any of the relevant facts that speak to how the sport really operated, and who these people really were. I want to know, warts and all. Not the details of their sexual lives etc, but the matters that are truly relevant to their lives in racing. I am sure some would use this information to judge, but I have already accepted these are human beings like any of us. That is what makes them so interesting.

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#60 Doug Nye

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 18:23

Ta - I hope it didn't come across as us trading stories in the competitive or combative sense... I'm sure we are both simply amused and interested by this stuff...we have often shared a giggle about 'things' in general...and virtually all TNFers come up with fascinating insights - which is what makes this such an intriguing place.

DCN

#61 f1steveuk

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 19:50

Never one to shy away froma friendly debate! I hardly ever argue (honestly, ask my better half) and take the view in an argument, or debate, there musr be an element of truth on both sides, otherwise why go toe to toe, (unless one party is completely misguided, or insane!), so I take Mike's views onboard, and therefore agree, DC was not perfect (I never said he was), I went on the evidence I had.

I think both David and myself wrote that DC succeeded despite his fear, but stand by my views on the restoration.

I watched a rather clever programme called "Mythbusters" and would like to use the best qoute I have heard for weeks to end the drugs thing, "I reject your reality, and substitute my own!!!"
Thanks again Doug!

#62 McGuire

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 20:11

I wouldn't begin to have an opinion on what is to be done with the original artifact, except to have a natural symapthy for the feelings of the heirs. I guess ideally I would like to see a perfect working replica in a museum, and the authentic Bluebird, with all due regard and proper ceremony, respectfully put right back where they found it.

I believe someone hit the nail on the head earlier when it was noted that insufficient thought and planning were performed when the thing was hauled up in the first place. That seems to have been done mostly for the technical challenge and adventure in itself -- to see if they really could do it I guess. Rather like Campbell's original mission, ironically.

#63 Alan Lewis

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 20:49

Originally posted by McGuire


I share your view about speed record attempts, but I am willing to concede that, even in the motorsports community, many if not most consider these efforts to be little more than stunts.


Which is a great pity (though I do think you're probably right). James's post reminded me once more of one of the best motorsporting moments of my life...which took place in one of the hangars-converted-to-offices-cum-presentation-hall on the BA East Base at Hatton Cross, near Heathrow.

A year or so after Thrust SSC set its records, Andy Green and (the sadly now recently departed)Ken Norris came to speak to the Heathrow Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society about the project. I happened to be in Heathrow for a training course that week, so I went along as a guest. At the end, they played, without any commentary, the onboard footage of Green's supersonic record runs, and then the outside footage of same. The sound balance was just right, and when that sonic boom rippled round the room, I swear there were grown men with tears in their eyes - most of them veteran BA engineers who'd seen and heard Concorde come and go every day for decades.

It was a magical moment.

APL

#64 Magee

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 23:41

Originally posted by McGuire
I wouldn't begin to have an opinion on what is to be done with the original artifact, except to have a natural symapthy for the feelings of the heirs.



Would most of you on this thread agree that perhaps Gina Campbell should have a look at the exchange of these postings about the history and future of her father's WSR craft? The postings may reveal a slice of public opinions and a worthy proposal from F1Steveuk.

#65 Mike Lawrence

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 23:42

How am I supposed to know the identity of someone who uses a pseudonym? Is not that the point of using one? I don't use one, HDon Capps doesn't use one, Doug Nye, Graham Gauld, Dave McKinney, they don't use pseudonyms. Sorry, you cannot be offended if your first line of defence is to say that you know someone who says something is not right.

Now, had you said that you had heard the story, and you had spoken to Peter Bolton and all the rest, there would have been no problem at my end. I would have sat back and reviewed Bolton's version, which still stands up for me. On that we can disagree, I have no problem with disagreeing. I do have a problem with someone, using a pseudonym, whose identity I do not know, telling me I am wrong because a mate of his says so.

Having huffed and puffed enough, I appreciate your 'Smiley', Steve, how do you do that? Next time you are at Goodwood, we must sit down. Do you know 'The Gribble' Inn? Thatched roof, mature when Shakespeare was a boy, own micro-brewery, open log fire in winter and, get this, motor racing is a legitimate subject of conversation.

Now, back to the use of drugs. It used not to be a huge issue. Colin Chapman took 'uppers' and 'downers' (amphetamines and barbiturates) for most of his adult life. He did not hide the fact, and they were mostly prescribed by his GP.

The big problem with the 'Donald Campbell had he 'flu' version of events is the time-scale. I rest my case.

#66 McGuire

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 02:54

Originally posted by Mike Lawrence
Now, back to the use of drugs. It used not to be a huge issue. Colin Chapman took 'uppers' and 'downers' (amphetamines and barbiturates) for most of his adult life. He did not hide the fact, and they were mostly prescribed by his GP.


There are two great biographies of Colin Chapman, Jabby Crombac's and yours (one authorised and one authored eh). It's a wonderful thing we have access to both.

#67 Slumberer

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 15:16

I listened to the chap from the Lottery heritage Fund, or whatever it's called, and he wasn't as extreme as you might think from some of the postings here.
He didn't want a full restoration, but wanted to deliniate any restoration from the original craft.
The idea being that the crash was an important peice of the craft's history and you should be able to see just what effect it had on the vehicle.

Pesonally, I can Imagine a museum where they had a replica to admire, but also the original displayed with some clever lighting so that the undamaged portions could be seen but the damage parts were in total blackness. I think that that would give some sense of the power of the crash without untoward goryness.


Meanwhile: the song lyrics that lead to the craft being raised...

Three hundred miles an hour on water
In your purpose-built machine
No one dared to call a boat
Screaming blue
Out of this world
Make history
This is your day
Blue Bird
At such speeds, things fly

What did she say?
I know the pain of too much tenderness
Wondering when or if you'll come back again
Wanting to live for you
And being banned from giving

But only love will turn you around
Only love will turn you around
Only love
Only love will turn you around

So we live you and I
Either side of the edge
And we run and we scream
With the dilated stare
Of obsession and dreaming
What the hell do we want
Is it only to go
Where nobody has gone
A better way than the herd
Sing a different song
Till you're running the ledge
To the gasp from the crowd
Spinning round in your head
Everything that she said




I think these lines particularly powerful and seem to encapsulate many speed record breakers that I've read about:

"dilated stare
Of obsession and dreaming "

"A better way than the herd
Sing a different song
Till you're running the ledge
To the gasp from the crowd "

#68 VWV

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 16:01

There is an article on this mess by David Tremayne in the Oct issue of Octane that tells the story from Gina's perspective.

Here's a link to the project mentioned at the end of the article.

http://www.bluebirdproject.com/

#69 Mike Lawrence

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 18:01

DCN, I never go too far.

Every interview I have ever conducted has been shown to the interviewee before publication, I have always had full approval before publication. I take the view that the interviewee is more important than the interviewer. Alan Henry has told me I am mad to do this, but that is the way I have always operated.

I hope you can say the same.

I know what I have on tape, but nobody else knows what I have on tape. On TNF I think of talking with buddies in a pub. I have not gone too far with Campbell, I have not even scractched the surface, and am saying nothing more.


You can never tell when you will be hit by the 'flu, or the common cold

You can, however, predict that on such a day, you are likely to be spaced-out or bladdered. This is why I know my version is correct. There is no way that Donald Campbell could predict he would be down with 'the flu'.

#70 Arthur Anderson

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 20:02

I for one, have never been enamored by the display of any racing machine in its crashed condition, particularly if the driver was fatally injured.

I can accept the idea of restoring the machine to its pre-crash condition, such as was done with the 1964 Halibrand Shrike of Eddie Sachs, which restoration was funded by American Red Ball Van Lines (it's owned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, but has seldom been on display, and then never with any serious reference to its involvement in a tragedy).

Granted, the display of Bluebird as crashed/sunk would remind us all of the tremendous risks and the possibility of tragic death involved in racing or any other speed attempt, but would such display be viewed in the overall context of Donald Campbell's life and accomplishments, or would it merely become an object of ghoulish interest, emphasizing the unfortunate end of its driver?

I can't judge that, of course. But what I can judge is what I see as truly "right" in this: If the boat belongs to Campbell's descendants, then their wishes should prevail. For anyone else, out of well-meaning sentiment or not, to insist publicly that Campbell's heirs do otherwise is very much a matter of them telling someone to do something with their money/property, while this preservationist society has no ownership, no moral right, and will contribute no funds. To me, that is simply and purely wrong, regardless of motivation.

Art

#71 rbm

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 08:57

Originally posted by Arthur Anderson
I can't judge that, of course. But what I can judge is what I see as truly "right" in this: If the boat belongs to Campbell's descendants, then their wishes should prevail. For anyone else, out of well-meaning sentiment or not, to insist publicly that Campbell's heirs do otherwise is very much a matter of them telling someone to do something with their money/property, while this preservationist society has no ownership, no moral right, and will contribute no funds. To me, that is simply and purely wrong, regardless of motivation.

Art [/B]


You are right , they have no ownership or moral right but the flip side is,

why, then, should the owners expect to get given the thick end of a million pounds to do what they want with their property, then when conditions are put on the giving of this public money, spit there dummies out and threaten to sell it on ebay or sink it back in the lake in a block of concreate.

The man from the HLF stated in the interview that they were very happy for the boat to be restored and they would consider to pay to preserve the original parts retained in the restoration, if such a bid was submitted - so where is the problem.

#72 Peter Morley

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 09:46

Clearly they should have thought about what they were going to do with the wreck before recovering it. All of this was very obvious from the minute they started talking about recovering the boat.

They immediately talked about restoring it, once they had shown how clever they were by retrieving it - and neglecting to mention that the location had been known since very shortly after the accident.

Of course restoring it is impossible - they will virtually be building a new boat (which is acceptable if you are going to use the object as intended - happens all the time with race cars, steam trains, airplanes). If they were going to restore it and complete Cambell's speed attempt then it could be justified, but to restore it and potter round at a few miles an hour is a joke.

The only option should be to preserve it as a tribute to Campbell, the wreckage is hardly gruesome, it gives some idea of the risks that very few people are prepared to take - in the same way as the wreckage of Purley's Lec has been preserved rather than restored.

If the boat still belongs to the Campbell family (presumably the recovery cost something?) then they are of course entitled to rebuild it, but they should pay for it themselves.

#73 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 18:33

Originally posted by Mike Lawrence
DCN, I never go too far.

Every interview I have ever conducted has been shown to the interviewee before publication, I have always had full approval before publication. I take the view that the interviewee is more important than the interviewer. Alan Henry has told me I am mad to do this, but that is the way I have always operated.

I hope you can say the same.


Oddly enough my old china plate, to quite a large extent indeed I can. And I seem to recall we have discussed this working approach before...????

Almost - but not entirely - without exception since I went freelance in 1968 I have always worked in the same way.

I have always regarded it as being far more important to get the story as correct as one can, than to ring-fence oneself with some old garbage about 'journalistic independence'. ..which in areas such as we address is just a total conceit...it might be different if we were doing something important, in Baghdad reporting a war.

My line to interview subjects upon letting them see a draft has always been, "feel free to correct fact, and my inevitable cock-ups and misunderstandings - but as for opinion, that's my preserve".

Vitally, I haven't always swallowed intact everything that I have been told, unless it seemed to check out from other equally involved sources. Even then, one can still screw it up mightily - as I would hope we both know - by swallowing one witness's evidence more or less whole, and from time to time we have both fallen into this irritating trap.

But, most crucially, anyone who under-estimates the level of knowledge, speciality, research capability and enthusiast commitment which routinely inhabits this place (TNF) is either a new boy, or simply hasn't been paying attention, or is far too pleased with himself to understand.

Having the brass neck to use such a line as: "Sorry, pal, but just because you know an historian, doesn't make you one" is in my book one conceit too far - I blinked and had to re-read the line several times before I could believe anyone would/could write such a thing, and then regretfully concluded I wasn't seeing things.

Sorry mate, but (since you have asked) have I made myself clear? :cat:

DCN

#74 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 19:52

That's what I like, a nice disagreement. Keep it up please :up: :clap:

#75 f1steveuk

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 20:11

I nearly don't want to post!! :lol:

I can only repeat what I have said all along, for once I believe the HLF have got it right. Yes, should Gina use her own money, it is technically hers (well the Campbell Trust, which includes Don Wales and Tonia) but as at least two of those do not what it restored (or brought up for that matter) so I cannot see it.

OT I have sent Mike a PM, but, my only excuse for not using my name, I'm usless at remembering user names, and use the same one for everything, plus this was all set up for me in the UK, when I was in France, having said that, I supose it shouldn't matter.

While I was at Filching I took the view that we were educating those who had no knowledge, and reminding those that had. One day a nice old chap came up to me and said "I fear you have labeled that car incorrectly", I agreed, but the owner used to have cars with, how shll I put this? fully adjustable histories. I explained this without actually saying it, then spent my lunch break talking to the chap and his female escort. No introductions were made, nor expected. Later I checked the visitors book, Cyril Posthumous (I know wrong spelling!), but my point is, keep council you never know who your talking to, or about, if you find out and still feel the same, fire away!!!!

#76 theunions

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 20:10

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Ian: while I'm in agreement that Donald deserved a decent burial, you could draw an analogy with sunken warships which are designated as war graves where it is known with reasonable certainty that remains may still be within them. Just a thought ....


Precisely. As a general rule the families of those who perished in the USS Arizona don't seem to mind leaving them there, even though the ship is fully visible at the Memorial, and some survivors who lived to their eighties and such have even successfully requested their remains be subsequently interred there.

#77 petefenelon

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 15:46

Originally posted by f1steveuk
When you see the stuff Britain has tossed away (TSR2, the Miles supersonic project, etc etc)


Not wishing to get too political but both TSR.2 and the Miles M.52 were both casualties of the "special relationship" - TSR.2 was scrapped in favour of inferior F-111s, pandering to the Americans -- of course, F-111 was late and too expensive, so the UK cancelled that order too and had to pay dearly for cancelling! -- the TSR.2 role eventually took at least three and arguably five planes to fulfil, the Phantom, the Jaguar and later the Tornado... and also the Vulcan in its later life and the Buccaneer....

The M.52 project was scrapped and all the data handed over to Bell - data was supposed to be shared. It wasn't. Look at M.52 and X-1 next to one another (particularly the tail surfaces, cribbed from M.52) and be astonished).

I wonder how the aerospace world would look if a British pilot in a British plane had gone supersonic in '46? ;P

#78 f1steveuk

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 15:54

and I'm sure much much more. The stuff Britain has scrapped (given away, handed over etc etc) is beyond belief. The Miles was a superb looking aircraft, and everything points toward the sound barrier with a jet, not a quick burn rocket. Where would we be now??

#79 Todd

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 16:23

I find myself agreeing with the family. Either restore it to the way it was meant to be seen or put it back on the bottom. An exhibit for ghouls as a ruin or as a shined up wreck(would blood and guts be recreated on the 'monument to the crash'?) has no value to me at all. Sink it or fix it. The HLF sound like the worst of bottomfeeders.

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#80 Peter Morley

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 09:10

Originally posted by Todd
I find myself agreeing with the family. Either restore it to the way it was meant to be seen or put it back on the bottom. An exhibit for ghouls as a ruin or as a shined up wreck(would blood and guts be recreated on the 'monument to the crash'?) has no value to me at all. Sink it or fix it. The HLF sound like the worst of bottomfeeders.


Don't take this personally but I think their reasoning is along these lines:

It isn't a painting or work of art, its purpose in life was to travel across a lake quickly, it was never 'meant to be seen' (e.g. the fact it looked nice was irrelevant, as with a modern F1 car ugly & quicker is better than pretty & slow).

It should either be restored for its original purpose (e.g. driven quick), or left alone - replacing a lot of it would destroy originality for no purpose.

There is already a replica (from Across the Lake) that can be seen (assuming it is still on display).

Are all the people who visit battlefields, concentration camps etc. ghouls, should traces of all terrible events be eradicated? Should all the graphic adverts showing the harm that can be caused by accidents be banned etc. (personally I'm not sure).

Why should HLF spend other people's money on something that has no value - the number of visitors will be roughly the same restored or not, the boat will go no faster when restored than it does now, or does the nanny state dictate that all bad things have to be avoided?

#81 275 GTB-4

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 09:26

I really hope this kerfuffle is sorted amicably....Sir Donald was a hero and should be accorded the respect he so richly deserves. When I was young, his exploits inspired the imagination....and Sonia wasn't too hard on the eyes either :)

#82 f1steveuk

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 11:18

Well sadly Donald was never Knighted (and Sonia is Tonia), but it has dragged on since before K7 was brought up, so my guess is it's going to be a long long haul!

#83 275 GTB-4

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 10:39

Originally posted by f1steveuk
Well sadly Donald was never Knighted...I could have sworn, posthumously......well he should have been in my mind :blush:

(and Sonia is Tonia)....yes correct again.....oh dear....my mind is like a sieve, my mind is like a sieve :blush:



#84 f1steveuk

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 11:02

There was a petition for a posthumous knighthood, but the British Government refuse to accept them!

Tonia now lives in California, and still "sings"

#85 Garagiste

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 13:13

Some hope of progress: http://news.bbc.co.u...ria/4578416.stm

#86 ianselva

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 14:25

I wonder how many of those replying on this thread have ever looked at tghe Bluebird project ( http://www.bluebirdproject.com/). This seems to show that part restorastion is quite possible and is planned for . Those who say put it back inConiston seem to ignore the fact that it would then become prey to 'treasure seekers' who would rob parts off it which would probaly later appear on Ebay. I think they did the right thing with DC whatever his private life was, and would love to see the boat as close to as she was as possible, and NO I dont want to see a plastic replica, some of the overrestored historics are bad enough.

#87 SEdward

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 14:40

Sorry to spoil the party folks, but IMHO the Campbells were everything but heroes. They were spoilt brats. I think that they were no more than indolent aristocrats who lived a life of luxury by exploiting hard working people. To portray their exploits as heroic is simply sad.

There are countless examples of true heroism in our beloved sport without having to mention monied wasters like the Campbells.

They belong in Père Lachaise with the rest of them.

Illych Edward.

#88 bill moffat

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 15:42

Ah yes, the top photo on the BBC website reflects the true spirit of respect and solemnity which accompanied the raising of K7...

#89 Paul Butler

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 15:57

Originally posted by bill moffat
Ah yes, the top photo on the BBC website reflects the true spirit of respect and solemnity which accompanied the raising of K7...



:up:

#90 FrankB

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 16:47

Originally posted by SEdward
To portray their exploits as heroic is simply sad.


So if someone from the poorest slum in the world was driving one of the Bluebirds they would be heroic, but coming from a more privileged background means that the same exploit is not heroic?

#91 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 17:50

I cannot believe what I've just read above. I just finished 'The Fast Set' by Charles Jennings, and it's clear the author loathed Sir Malcolm Campbell as being an upper, middle class sponger, so clearly it's like father like son, is it?

What ever they were like as people, and DC's team and Leo Villa seemed to think the world of him, and what ever their morals, anybody who has the courage to overcome their inner demons and travel at the speeds they did on land and water has my admiration. Full stop.

#92 Terry Walker

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 02:25

I had a look inside the Holker Hall TV replica of Sir Malcolm Cambell's Bluebird car, and a good look at Babs when on display at Brooklands. Both caused me to shiver when I imagined driving them at 70 mph, never mind absolutely flat out on dodgy surfaces. Whatever Sir Malcolm Campbell's (and Donald's) faults may have been, they were both extremely courageous. The gap between a new world record and death was very narrow indeed. Donald returned to the fray after his terrifying 400 mph crash on the salt.

As to what's happening to Bluebird now, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Inevitable as tomorrow's sunrise. It was simply a matter of when, and by whom. It seems that at least the boat is in good hands.

#93 f1steveuk

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 15:09

Originally posted by SEdward
Sorry to spoil the party folks, but IMHO the Campbells were everything but heroes. They were spoilt brats. I think that they were no more than indolent aristocrats who lived a life of luxury by exploiting hard working people. To portray their exploits as heroic is simply sad.

There are countless examples of true heroism in our beloved sport without having to mention monied wasters like the Campbells.

They belong in Père Lachaise with the rest of them.

Illych Edward.


Sorry, having made a very very very deep study of the WHOLE family background, that is utter drivel! (no offence). Aristocrats??? How? The first "English" Campbell became one by walking from Scotland with nothing, and set about building up a business that every succeeding Campbell added to, nothing was gifted, it was all worked for, apart form Sir Malcolm (who I actually have no time for) who set up an insurance scheme from sctratch, and succeeded. I admit he did also marry some money which brought him a car or two, but aristocrat, no. Donald was left very very little, had little, and died leaving little, all he had went into the Bluebirds. I don't see anywone having a go at Sir Henry O'Neal de Hane Segrave, now there's an aristocrats name!!!!!!

As for exploiting the workers, Leo Villa was given several cars, three houses (bigger each time) and some huge bonuses for his efforts, and Leo was full of praise for Malcolm, and he also refered to him as "the old bugger".

#94 275 GTB-4

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 10:53

Apropos of absolutely nothing....

I was fascinated to read that the following Driver/Vehicle combo will be at Eastern Creek Sydney 25-26 Mar 06:

8 Ray Jones 1925 Campbell Bluebird (Group J).

#95 MPea3

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 13:15

Originally posted by SEdward
Sorry to spoil the party folks, but IMHO the Campbells were everything but heroes. They were spoilt brats. I think that they were no more than indolent aristocrats who lived a life of luxury by exploiting hard working people. To portray their exploits as heroic is simply sad.

There are countless examples of true heroism in our beloved sport without having to mention monied wasters like the Campbells.

They belong in Père Lachaise with the rest of them.

Illych Edward.


Without even beginning to respond to the whole "spoilt brats" comment, I was under the assumption that Donald Campbell was not wealthy, and worked hard to keep his Bluebird dreams afloat, having little left financially at the time of his death.

As far as Donald's records, they stand as a testimony to his determination and bravery in spite of his limitations. Looking at the design of K7 and seeing the cockpit as basically an insignificant shell stuck out on the front of a jet engine, is almost horrifying.

I also don't quite see the idea of the most important part of the boat's history as it's accident. Considering how little the record has been raised over the years may be in part to a loss of interest in the WSR, but for Donald to have run essentially as fast in one direction as the WSR some 40 years ago is an accomplishment which speaks for itself. Whether anything new from Ken Warby or the Quicksilver project will come to pass remains to be seen.

As for Sir Malcolm's records or those of any of the other LSR pioneers from that era, to stand on the beach at Daytona and think of going the speeds that they did is very humbling. It's easy to watch racing today and say "I could do that". It's difficult to look down the sand at low tide and imagine how anyone ever could.

With Bluebird having been removed form the water, I don't know that a good solution exists at this point. It was so much easier with George Mallory... collect information and artifacts with the blesing of the family, and rebury him where was was. Surely in retrospect, the Bluebird Project could have planned it's actions better from the beginning.

#96 Warren Matthews

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 00:29

While not wanting to comment on Donald Campbell's back ground it takes a lot of guts to get in a boat like Bluebird-.
I was a timekeeper at Dumbleyung and to see both runs , especially the return, was unbelievable.

He may have upset a lot of people, but those in South Australia and WA who did not get paid still like to tell stories of how they were involved .

Lake Dumbleyung is now full of water again for the first time in many years and looks similar to when the runs were made in December 1964.

#97 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 12:35

For those who'd like to read more on the subject, the following two books are essential reading -

THE BLUEBIRD YEARS - DONALD CAMPBELL AND THE PURSUIT OF SPEED by Arthur Knowles (ISBN 1-85058-766-3)

LEAP INTO LEGEND by Steve Holter (ISBN 1-85058-804-X)

I read the second book during Christmas week whilst spending a week in a cottage on the banks of Coniston Water. A superb tribute to the man. I couldn't put the book down.

#98 GeorgeTheCar

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 16:03

I had a wonderful time watching you and Lawrence trading stories (in another thread) about the legal and fiduciary gymnastics required to field a race team across Europe in the '50's and '60's. It would be a great shame if we were denied insights such as these, or any of the relevant facts that speak to how the sport really operated, and who these people really were. I want to know, warts and all. Not the details of their sexual lives etc, but the matters that are truly relevant to their lives in racing. I am sure some would use this information to judge, but I have already accepted these are human beings like any of us. That is what makes them so interesting.



In Canada we maybe facing the same thing in the near future.

We are hearing rumours about a Gilles Villeneuve movie and one wonders if it will be about Gilles Villeneuve or a portrial of the legend of Gilles Villeneuve.

From reading this thread one can only wonder.

#99 f1steveuk

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 17:57

Originally posted by Paul Rochdale


LEAP INTO LEGEND by Steve Holter (ISBN 1-85058-804-X)

I read the second book during Christmas week whilst spending a week in a cottage on the banks of Coniston Water. A superb tribute to the man. I couldn't put the book down.


Blimey! Thank you for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it, but what a place to read it!

The Heritage Lottery Fund have changed their view yet again, well more re-inforced their stance on the "leave or restore" debate, and a lot of joints are out of place. Having attended Ken Norris' memorial service, and hearing what he had said to his wife and children about the subject, I have to admit, I seem to have a foot in both camps at present

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#100 275 GTB-4

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 22:31

Originally posted by Warren Matthews
While not wanting to comment on Donald Campbell's back ground it takes a lot of guts to get in a boat like Bluebird-.
I was a timekeeper at Dumbleyung and to see both runs , especially the return, was unbelievable.

He may have upset a lot of people, but those in South Australia and WA who did not get paid still like to tell stories of how they were involved .

Lake Dumbleyung is now full of water again for the first time in many years and looks similar to when the runs were made in December 1964.


Warren....thanks for that...mind giving us some directions to Lake Dumbleyung? I would like to check it out on Google Map/Earth. Cheers, Mick :up: