Bluebird at Bonneville
The original oil painting sold at Sotheby's auction in 2007 for £468,000 -- almost $1 million at the time. Aside from Andy Warhol, no other artist has ever achieved a higher price for an automotive artwork.
Sir Malcolm Campbell set his final land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on September 3rd, 1935, becoming the first man to ever exceed 300 miles per hour by driving Blue Bird III, his 2,500 hp, 28 foot, 6 ton car, at an average speed of 301.337 mph.
"My good lads shoved me off and the Blue Bird made a good getaway in first speed.... Ahead of me stretched a seemingly illimitable field of glaring white with an eight-inch black strip down the center to guide me.... Faster and faster I went. It was the first time a world's high-speed record had been attempted on salt.... I passed my first marker, a huge 'No. 6' three feet high, painted on a large square board. This indicated to me that I had six miles to go before I reached the beginning of the measured mile.... I passed Nos. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....
"I tried to steal a quick glance at my revolution counter. It was well over 3,400 revolutions a minute. I knew I was running 300 miles an hour....
"On I went out of the measured mile. I shut off my engine to get its braking effect on the car. Could I stop in the six miles left to go?"
Sir Malcolm managed to stop but before he did so, he had a blowout. "It made a loud pop.... I felt a jar on the front of the car.... I saw bits of rubber fly up from the left front tire. The salt flying up into my face had by now almost stopped vision through my goggles. I swerved out of line. I snapped the 'old lady' back quickly and there wasn't much trouble in the run to the stop...."
Rules of the International Association of Recognized Automobile Clubs which governed records called for two runs in opposite directions, to be completed within an hour. With new tires on Blue Bird, Sir Malcolm started his second run with eight minutes left. After averaging his time for the two runs, American Automobile Association officials announced the result as 299.875 mph. Disgusted at having missed his objective by an eyelash, Campbell said he would try again the next morning.
Four hours later, he was told that a bungling timer had made an error in arithmetic and that his correct speed was 301.337 mph. Said Sir Malcolm: "The news comes somewhat flat but I am glad to hear it.... I feel that the Blue Bird has made her last flight...."
(Footnote: This car was powered by the same R-type Rolls Royce engine as 1933. This final version of the Blue Bird embodied some of the chassis of the 1927 car, plus the original front axle, brake drums and shoes. It had a new back axle with twin wheels out of alignment and double crown wheels and pinion. It also had a completely new body with an air intake slot in the nose which could be closed of for additional streamlining. The wheel fairings now formed part of the main body, which was built at Campbell's own garage at Brooklands, under Leo Villa's supervision. First trials were at Daytona Beach in January 1935. This car's first record was 276.82 mph at Daytona Beach on March 7th, 1935.)