1928: Napier Campbell driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell
Napier Campbell (Bluebird)
V12 Napier Lion Aero
900 bhp (approx)
When Malcolm Campbell lost the record to Segrave's Sunbeam, he embarked on a modification program to help elicit every last ounce of speed from the Bluebird, hoping to take the title back from his main rival.
As things would turn out, this would be the first of many changes made to the Bluebird, the speed gradually increasing with each successive year. For this, the first of the transformations, Campbell
retained the original chassis designed by Joseph Mania, re-fitting it with a new wind-cheating body designed during wind tunnel testing to determine the best shape.
He scrapped the normally-positioned front radiator and substituted two surface-type coolers, set one on either side in the cars tail section. This modification made it possible to improve the front shape of the car, and at the same time enclose the chassis (excluding the wheels).
Also integral to the design was the incorporation of an extended tail-fin, designed to
help the Bluebird hold a straight course. The old Napier Lion engine
was taken out and a racing Lion engine of 23,948cc substituted.
The Lion 12 cylinder beast blessed the "revised" Bluebird with a staggering 900 horse-power, somewhat overshadowing the 500 on offer from the engine it replaced.