Thanks to 'theotherharv' for distilling some of what I tried to do in 'Enterprise on the Edge' with my late Father. I should say up front that Andrew was, next to my Father, the one man who most influenced my early adulthood. I was very fortunate to spend three months en-famille in North Queensland during a gap year between finishing school and going to university.
Nonetheless, what I tried to do was paint a more balanced portrait both of the 64 Lake Eyre attempt and Andrew's (and my Father's) role in it than had been painted hitherto. As Andrew himself explained in an interview he gave at the Beaulieu Motor Museum, where the car now resides, the Bluebird WLSR project consisted of two quite separate factions, one which was concerned with breaking the land speed record and the other which was concerned with engineering and technological development. What you tend to hear most in the published record is the view of those from the first faction, who were not overly enamored with that of the second faction! Andrew felt the record being officially - see below - broken by such a small margin, amounted to a failure. He was not the only one, for that was the view of the industry that built the car and supplied the materiel. For Campbell never again received any support from British industry for any of his future WLSR project ideas.
How did Andrew come to be project manager and reserve driver? He was the person who designed the tyres for Bluebird when he worked for Dunlop in the 1950s - and by the way he readily admitted that he did not take account of the build-up of salt on the wheel rims during the runs that was causing vibration. Nor did he take into account, when designing the tyres, the poor quality of the salt that resulted from the rains in 63 and that broke up and cut into the tyres in 64. The tyres were designed, reasonably I think, on the assumption of a stable surface.
For Utah 60 and Lake Eyre 63, Andrew was an employee of Dunlop. After 63, he decided to make his home Australia because the country offered such greater promise for a young family - and he's been proved right!! He resigned from Dunlop and established his own engineering consultancy based in Adelaide.
The problem that DC had was that the failure of the 63 attempt, coupled with the Utah crash and the analysis of the reasons for it, led to British industry losing their trust of him (i.e Donald).
He didn't own the rebuilt car. It was released to him for his use and I may say with very great reluctance for 1964. Three of the major sponsors of the project knew Andrew well and trusted him. He had worked at Bristol, the engine maker, he had worked at Dunlop. He had a reasonably successful motorsport background of his own - he had won a trophy at the 1956 (I think it was) Isle of Man TT motorcycle races for example. In his motorsport activity, he was sponsored not only by Dunlop, naturally since he worked for them, but also by Castrol. Castrol supplied the oils for the Bluebird project. (The fuel was supplied by BP and then DC organised for Ampol to pay him to use their fuels...). These three major British companies, Bristol, Dunlop and Castrol, got together and effectively made it a condition of their involvement in 64 - and thus by default a condition of the release of the car to DC - that Andrew be appointed project manager and reserve driver. This was their way of raising the chances,as they saw it, of a successful outcome.
Andrew needed a 'right hand man' and he decided my Father was the right 'right hand man' for the job. So my Father was responsible not only for building the track but also for getting the whole train of vehicles etc up to the Lake. I have his diaries here with numerous to-do lists in that respect! In the run up to the attempts, Andrew was busy "haunting ministries" of the South Australian Government making sure the whole thing came together. Once the car and the whole circus got to the Lake, then he fell back largely into his role of tyre man, which 'theotherharv' has alluded to, using the Elfin to do all the coefficient of adhesion tests. So when other people we know more of in the published accounts who have spoken of their management role in the project, what they are speaking about is their role as part of DC's own group. They were not at all happy that Andrew had been, in his own words "foistered on them." As far as DC's faction was concerned, and for their own very understandable reasons, they ran the project. Err, not quite. This is the underlying source of all the tension you pick up in, for example, the Bluebird and the Dead Lake' book. Besides, it's always useful to have a villain!
There is no question, and as Andrew has again admitted, he "was young and dying to have a go" but he would never, in seriousness, have thought of doing anything and - from what I can discern - never did anything to jeopardise the Bluebird project. He'd given over a decade of his life to see it succeed...
On the other hand, the DC group and DC himself, were not at all impressed that Andrew intended to beak speed records of his won with the Elfin. In Andrew's mind, though, why shouldn't he? Perfect opportunity, got the track there, got the Elfin all set up. And indeed of course in the end he did break speed records with the Elfin - and some of the records still in fact stand today.
In DC's mind, however, to even consider doing one's own record attempts was in and of itself disloyal, denigrating and disrespectful. DC finally fired Andrew because of this. The difference in view says a great deal about the different characters of the two men. Andrew had resigned from Dunlop and moved to Australia in no small part to get away from British motor industry leaders who were not willing to support others - if they feared to do so would take the spotlight away from themselves. This is a British class question, frankly. Although Andrew was from the upper class, apart from his accent (which he never lost and for which he was very frequently misunderstood, ironically, in Australia) there was nothing upper class about him. He was an egalitarian who despised the class system.
I might also add, for interest, that the telemetry data from the car published by Donald Stevens and that I analyse at great length and with great care in 'Enterprise on the Edge' strongly, strongly suggest that the car achieved an average speed far higher than 403.1mph. The data for the first run does correspond to an average speed over the mile of 403.1 because it seems DC misread his instruments and established the car initially at 330mph. He then accelerated hard through the measured mile - a most unusual thing to do. However, the data for the second run, knowing what we know of DC as a consummate professional speed record breaker and I might add an excellent aeroplane pilot, suggest the car was established 'in the cruise' prior to entry into the measured mile at 440. With the clear difference in the speed profile that the (admittedly partial) telemetry data provide, it would be to all intents a physical impossibility to average exactly the same speed to within 0.1 of a mph over two runs. Particularly two runs that have such different speed profiles. We can only speculate as to why it was that the ratified speed for both attempts was an identical 403.1. In my opinion, having analysed that data, DC went a lot faster that day, not only on one run but also therefore on average, across the two runs. There must therefore be another reason why it was that the speed ratified by the FIA delegate for both runs was 403.1...
When one realises that the first time DC had gone any speed at all in a car was in Bluebird at Utah (he was a boat man), his achievements with the car are absolutely remarkable!
I hope that helps explain Andrew's involvement and also adds a little extra to the Bluebird story. Happy to chat further if that is of interest.
Edited by MarkRDibben, 14 April 2021 - 21:29.