Plane amazing! Vintage Blue Bird up for auction

A stunning homage to Sir Malcolm Campbell's legendary Blue Bird, complete with a 24-litre aircraft engine, is set to sell for £300,000 at auction.

Wednesday, 9th August 2017, 2:42 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:45 pm
The 1921 Napier 'Blue Bird'

The 1921 Napier 'Blue Bird' is one of the fastest and most powerful vintage cars to ever be offered at a public sale.

It is the work of Lorne Jacobs who, inspired by Sir Malcolm Campbell’s adrenaline-fuelled exploits in 1927s, set about recreating the former Land Speed record vehicle.

Mr Jacobs took a 24-litre Napier engine and completely rebuilt it, with the powerplant developing a whopping 700bhp and 1,800lb/ft of torque. The new Bugatti Chiron, by comparison, has 1,180lb/ft

The 1921 Napier 'Blue Bird'

The result was an engine which was so powerful the gearbox couldn’t handle it, so Mr Jacobs fitted it with a unit from a Bentley.

And when Octane magazine tested the Jacobs Blue Bird, it accelerated from 0-60mph in around six seconds and the car could smoke its tyres at 80mph.

With the current gearing it would easily accelerate to 120mph, with Octane predicting that in the right setting, it could crack 200mph.

Bonhams will be auctioning the Blue Bird homage on September X at its Collectors' Motor Cars sale, which will be held at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum in Dorset.

The 1921 Napier 'Blue Bird'

They have given it an estimate of £250,000 to £300,000.

Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the land speed record in 1924 when he hit 150mph in his Sunbeam Blue Bird.

Three years later, he took his Napier Blue Bird to Pendine Sands with the hope of beating his record and hitting 200mph.

And he was close - hitting 195mph on one run and averaging 177mph overall.

Campbell's son, Donald Campbell, carried on in his father's footsteps and was tragically killed in 1967 during a high-speed crash on Coniston Water in the Lake District.

A statement from Bonhams said: “In 1924 at Pendine Sands, Malcolm Campbell, driving the 350hp V12 Sunbeam, broke the land speed record for the first time.

“To celebrate that achievement 90 years on, Lorne Jacobs took the Napier to the same Carmarthenshire beach in February earlier this year to drive in his hero’s wheel tracks, fulfilling a childhood dream.

“Since then the Napier has taken part in the Brooklands Finishing Straight reopening celebration in June of this year and the Shelsley Walsh Classic Nostalgia meeting in July.

“Offered with VSCC Buff Form and V5C registration document, this unique Napier represents an

unrepeatable opportunity to acquire one of the most formidable Vintage racing cars ever made.”