EDWARD, LORD MONTAGU WOULD HAVE APPROVED.
It took the world's land speed record in 1924, at a speed of 146.16 mph, on Pendine Sands in Carmarthen, Wales. Sir Malcolm Campbell subsequently improved on his record, again at Pendine Sands, raising the World Land Speed Record to 150.76 in 1925.
This pioneering record breaker was designed by the famous Chief Engineer and Racing Team Manager, Louis Coatalen. Built in the Sunbeam Works at Wolverhampton between 1919 and 1920, it featured a massive 18.3 litre V12 Manitou derived engine, developing some 350 hp, it was indeed a monster of a racing car!
This unique vehicle was purchased by Lord Montagu in 1957, in poor condition it became an exhibit at his then burgeoning Montagu Motor Museum at Beaulieu. In 1993 the engine was seriously damaged during a start-up attempt, when a blocked oil way caused the engine to seize, and 'throw a rod' through the engine block. The Sunbeam 350hp 'Blue Bird' then became a static exhibit at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.
After a herculean restoration - engine work alone took over 2,000 hours, by engineers at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu - the Sunbeam 350hp 'Blue Bird' was finally fired up again in January 2014. Subsequently displayed at Retromobile in Paris, and then onto the Festival of Speed at Goodwood, crowds were amazed to see this magnificent behemoth take to the Goodwood Hill Climb in 2014.
In 2015 the Sunbeam 350hp 'Blue Bird' celebrated 90 years of capturing the 1925 World Land Speed record with demonstration runs back at Pendine Sands. The car was driven by none other than Sir Malcolm Campbell's grandson Don Wales, himself a world record holder.
Appearing at the Bromyard Speed Festival this year, visitors will not only be able to admire this famous record breaker, but will also be treated to the sight and sound of this extraordinary vehicle performing demonstration runs on the Bromyard Speed Festival street circuit! A really unique opportunity to see and hear one of motoring's true icons.
The late Edward, Lord Montagu's association with Bromyard can be traced back to 1957 when he first visited the town. Staying in The Falcon Hotel, he subsequently purchased no less than 16 vehicles from Williams Garage in Bromyard. The vehicles had all been retained against unpaid customer accounts! Now they were to be placed on the open market so that Williams could expand their operation engaged in building the UK's first production Go-Karts. Some of the vehicles purchased by Edward, Lord Montagu, who was just at the start of establishing the Montagu Motor Museum, are today still maintained and on display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. The Maxwell Charabanc, now beautifully restored, is sometimes used to transport people round the beautiful grounds of Beaulieu.
Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams, whose Grandfather started the Williams Garage in Bromyard, and who is a well known and highly successful racing driver, will be joining us on Sunday 3rd April, for the official opening of the 2016 Bromyard Speed Festival.
Bromyard's connections with the motor industry and motorsport are numerous, so it is particularly poignant that Morgan, who built their first car in Bromyard before building the Malvern factory, are the Festival's featured marque for 2016. The Morgan factory will have their own display in Market Square, supported by specific classes for both road and competition Morgans who will display on Bromyard's street circuit.
For all Press and Event enquiries please contact: The Bromyard Speed Festival website: www.bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk which provides full event information together with a form dedicated to those who wish to 'Express Interest in Entering a Vehicle'.
The Sunbeam 350hp 'Blue Bird' can also be seen at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu as part of the 'For Britain & For The Hell Of It' display that tells the story of Britain's land speed record attempts. Visit www.beaulieu.co.uk for more information.
Pictures by Motoring Picture Library Manager National Motor Museum