Donald Campbell Bluebird and The Final Record Attempt

a book by Neil Sheppard

This is the full story of Donald Campbell's last courageous attempt to take the world water speed record beyond 300 mph. It illustrates the story of the last 7 months in the life of Britain's last true speed king.

The book will includes the background behind the attempt – Donald Campbell, driven by a desire to establish a high profile enterprise to boost his public perception, and with it, publicise his plans for a supersonic rocket car, to keep Britain at the forefront of engineering endeavour, as well as his desire to kick start his nascent Bluebird Marine boat business which he planned to launch to the world in early 1967.

Second Edition Front Cover

Due to the overwhelming success of the first edition of 'Donald Campbell, Bluebird And The Final Record Attempt', History Press have published a second -soft-back- edition which is now availabe in the shop. This soft-back version is essentially the same book as the first edition, with the same high quality production values and layout.

The second edition contains a number of text revisions and additions as well as more than 20 new and previously unseen illustrations. The cover price of the softback will be £20,00. You can now pre-order the softback rom our shop. Shipping will only commence once the book is officially published by the History Press.


Detailing the modifications and re-engineering of his iconic jet boat boat, Bluebird K7, in which he had set 7 previous water speed records, the story describes the preparations and trials at Coniston in the Lake District in the winter of 1966. Endless mechanical setbacks and foul weather, the financial and emotional pressure Campbell was under, the high speed runs on Christmas Day and the final attempt that ended in tragedy when ultimate success seemed to be only seconds away.

It illustrates the story of the last 7 months in the life of Britain's last true speed king – a superstitious, complex and above all, supremely brave individual who was driven by the desire to keep Britain at the top of engineering endeavour and to prove himself worthy of the mantle of his illustrious record breaking father.

To Donald Campbell, life was a series of mountains to be tackled.

He saw 300mph on water as the latest mountain summit he was attempting to climb... just like the previous summits - his record successes in the 50's and 60's.

He was stepping onto the summit when he lost his life...

Image © E Whitham


"All of us are struggling up and, oh God, isn't it a swine? You get there and you look around and it's great. And you just have time to breathe before you start getting everything in perspective. Then you realise it wasn't a mountain after all. It was a molehill. You look over there and you can see another mountain, the real mountain, and you are going for it, boy, and what hurts, what REALLY hurts, is when you come to the last one and you go down the other side."

Donald Campbell

Donald Campbell The Final Speed Record Attempt

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