The steering wheel used in Donald Campbell's Bluebird K4 and K7 record breaking crafts, by Bluemels,

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Lot 497
The steering wheel used in Donald Campbell's Bluebird K4 and K7 record breaking crafts, by Bluemels,

Sold for £ 5,750 (US$ 7,454) inc. premium
The steering wheel used in Donald Campbell's Bluebird K4 and K7 record breaking crafts, by Bluemels,
four spoke, steel central boss with keyway for fitting to column mounting, chrome plated with some lifting and tarnishing, Bluemels type 'Bluebird' blue covering to rim and ¾ length of spokes, good general condition with some wear, 35cm diameter, offered together with a signed letter of authenticity.

Footnotes

  • The Campbell dynasty was undoubtedly one of the greatest in motor sporting history, their record breaking feats in various Bluebirds over five decades and the skill and daring entailed in these having been engendered indelibly onto the nations conscience. A unique item, directly connected with these great achievements, this steering wheel was actually used by Donald Campbell in two of his water speed record crafts; Blue Bird K4 and the Bluebird K7. According to information supplied by the vendor, the man in charge of the build and running of Campbell's land speed record machines Leo Villa's detailed records, show that only one 4 spoke wheel was ordered for use in the water speed record crafts, a small diameter example being specified for use by Campbell in K4 for the Oltranza Cup race on Lake Garda in 1954 in which he was victorious. Due to the fact that the cockpit was cramped and the race was held on a tight course, a small wheel was deemed necessary to properly control the craft. This wheel is next known have been used by Campbell for the initial build up stage of the jet powered K7 and then for various test runs vital prior to official record runs. When it came to speed record usage for the craft this wheel was substituted for one of larger diameter more suited to the type of inputs necessary for the very high speeds attained, The provenance of this wheel is strengthened further by the fact that Campbell both father and son had a preference for three spoke Bluemels wheels, their being only one record of a 4 spoke item being ordered, the fact that this wheel also has a key way machined into it as was customary on all Bluebird crafts offers further support. This unique piece came into the vendors possession through his mother who was personal secretary to Donald Campbell, and thus by descent. Campbell initially gave the wheel to the landlord of his local pub 'The Seven Stars', to be put on display. In 1966 the wheel was passed on to the vendor's mother and it has been kept in the family ever since. This is undoubtedly a unique and direct link to one of the most capable and charismatic of British motor sporting families and their awe inspiring machines with an excellent provenance, which has moved renowned Campbell historian Steven Holter to say after painstakingly researching its history "I have no doubt that the wheel shown to me is this very wheel, unique in the history of Bluebird and one of only three intact Bluebird or Blue Bird wheels in the world".
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