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Stand By Me Lady Campbell

Stand By Me Lady Campbell

Exactly ninety-two years ago today and amongst the many people who would have been on hand to congratulate Sir Malcolm Campbell on a new World Land Speed Record was Mrs Dorothy Emily Edith Evelyn Campbell, who had married the world-famous motor racer back in 1920.

Sir Malcolm is sat within a 350 hp V12 Sunbeam Blue Bird, which achieved a total of three World Land Speed Records. The first of these was whilst in the hands of Irishman Kenelm Lee Guinness, most well known for the manufacture of the KLG spark plug, who successfully clocked a speed of 133.75 mph (215.24 km/h) at Brooklands Racing Circuit in Surrey on 17th May 1922.
Having noticed the clear potential of the vehicle, Sir Malcolm persuaded Sunbeam to let him purchase the car in the hope of being the first person to drive at over 150 mph. After some unsuccessful trials in both the UK and Denmark, Campbell achieved 146.16 mph (235.22 km/h) on 25th September 1924 on Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire. It was a notable improvement to the record set by Kenelm but it was still 4 mph short of Malcolm’s target. With the Sunbeam’s tail lengthened afterwards for improved aerodynamic performance, Campbell went on to achieve 150.76 mph (242.62 km/h) on 21st July 1925, also on the 7-mile stretch of compacted sand at Pendine.

Lady Campbell seemed to be fairly mechanically aware herself, nicely demonstrated in a 1928 short film made by Pathe News entitled ‘Camera Interview – Mrs Malcolm Campbell’ where she can be seen working on various car engines, including that of the 1927 Campbell-Napier Blue Bird in what looks to be the company of a young Leo Villa, lifelong mechanic of Sir Malcolm, as well as her husband too. The footage goes on to show Lady Campbell behind the wheel of a motorcar, going around the banked circuit at Brooklands. Another car follows behind, perhaps it is a camera car or perhaps it is Sir Malcolm who was a shareholder of the circuit and designer of the Campbell road racing circuit to provide an alternative challenge to the Outer Circuit.

Text by Gillian Carmoodie

Friday, 28 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The ultimate barnfind? Definitely a dream car!

The Ultimate barn find they said... Something we hear quite often, not always correct in our opinion. But in this movie, we can definitely see a fantastic barn find! A car we only dream about finding it in some old shed. Let alone, race it. Enjoy the movie of this Bugatti 35C!

Thursday, 27 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Prewar Workshop: Trembler coils

IMG 5457
Recently in the workshop I had ignition problems with a <1900 vehicle. The car would not really want to work well when cold and had problems finding the correct ignition timing.  The ignition system was a modern set of contact breakers and coils and seems to have been converted at some point in history from its unknown original battery operated ignition type.

In this case, I decided to use trembler coils for this car. The system best known from the Model T Ford. The main advantage of these is that they give a continuous spark as long as the contact is made. Unlike the contact breaker ignition, that charges the coil and releases the spark only once per powerstroke.

The way the trembler does this is that it has a coil inside that acts like an electromagnet. When the trembler is supplied with current, the primary coil charges and magnetizes an iron core its wound around. The magnet pulls open the trembler points that are mounted on top of the assembly.

The trembler points open, causing the current in the primary coil to stop and the magnet to be demagnetized. At the same time, the secondary winding has generated a high tension current which arcs over the spark plug. Demagnetizing the iron core in the primary winding closes the trembler points again and the process repeats. This process repeats multiple times per second which looks as a continuous spark as long as the assembly is supplied with power.

Power to the assembly comes from a distributor on the camshaft. This distributor has a brush that makes contact for a few degrees of rotation, giving the coil a spark for some length of piston travel.

I have included a few pictures of the trembler coil assembly, as mounted to the car. Also there is a video with how the spark looks on the coil, quite impressive!

Photo album can be viewed here: >click here<

For questions or remarks, please comment on the artice or ask me via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Article by Jos van Genugten

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

One car, 44 years, 250,000 miles…

One car, 44 years, 250,000 miles…

If you live in England then you will probably recognise the car in these photographs. This 1937 Frazer Nash-BMW 319/55 has been owned for the last 44 years by Mark Garfitt, who is certainly not afraid to use the car as its makers intended. In those 44 years Mark has competed in sprints, hill climbs, circuit races, trials, driving tests… driving to and from each and covering a huge amount of road miles in the process. In fact Mark has now covered about 250,000 miles (that’s more than 400,000km) in his car and shows no sign of slowing down. Pay a visit to any VSCC or BMW Historic club event anywhere in the country and, chances are, you will find Mark and his 319/55 there too.
Mark’s love affair with his German sporting car forms the basis for an article in the latest issue of The Automobile magazine, which is out now.
We know our PreWarCar readers are keen motorists – has anyone else travelled so far in their own prewar car? Let us know in the comments 

Photographs by Stefan Marjoram

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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