The 'Bluebirds'

Blue Bird or Bluebird is the name of various cars and boats used by Sir Malcolm Campbell, his son Donald and other family members to set land and water speed records.

Origins of the name

The name Blue Bird was originally inspired by the play of that name by Maurice Maeterlinck, and the vehicles were painted a shade of pale blue.

Malcolm Campbell had a succession of Darracq racing cars in the 1920s, which in the fashion of the day he had named 'Flapper I' , 'Flapper II' and 'Flapper III' . It was 'Flapper III' which he re-named after seeing the play, famously and impetuously knocking up a paint shop owner at night, so as to purchase blue paint before racing at Brooklands the following day.

In 1925, he also raced an Itala at Brooklands with the name 'The Blue Bird' painted on the bonnet.

Bluebird or Blue Bird?

Malcolm Campbell named them "Blue Bird", Donald "Bluebird".

The hydroplane K4 began life as Malcolm's "Blue Bird", but when Donald decided to use her in 1949, after his father's death, he re-named her "Bluebird".


Sir Malcolm Campbell

  • Sunbeam 350HP
    1923 (renamed after Campbell's purchase)
  • Napier-Campbell Blue Bird
  • Campbell-Napier-Railton Blue Bird
  • Campbell-Railton Blue Bird

Donald Campbell

  • Bluebird-Proteus CN7
  • Bluebird CMN-8 never built

Don Wales

Don Wales, grandson of Malcolm Campbell and nephew of Donald Campbell, has contested the world electric powered land speed record. He will also be the test driver for the British Steam Car which will be attempting to break the steam-powered land speed record.

  • Bluebird Electric 2


Sir Malcolm Campbell

  • Blue Bird K3
  • Blue Bird K4

Donald Campbell

  • Bluebird K4
    re-named in 1949, destroyed in 1951
  • Bluebird K7
    1955 - 1967

Gina Campbell

Gina Campbell, daughter of Donald Campbell, has contested the women's world water speed record.

  • Agfa Bluebird