Okay! Before we get too excited about which would be faster today: the Rolls-Royce-powered Bluebird K3 or the new Phantom Drophead Coupe Waterspeed, we must clarify something!
The K3 is the Bluebird boat. This is likely very obvious to people in the UK or Speed Record buffs, but the Bluebird's I know best are the cars.
But this Phantom DHC Waterspeed indeed celebrates the Bluebird K3 speedboat, whose streamlined lower hull design went on to inspire virtually all modern watercraft.
No jokes allowed here on this topic, as the Phantom Drophead Coupe Waterspeed will easily top the 137-mph total Vmax of the Malcolm Campbell-piloted race boat. This was with an outboard piston engine!
The later K4 carried forward hull outriggers and an inboard engine, before moving to jet power for the twin-hulled K7, which ultimately lost control at high speed with Campbell at the controls.
So what was so special about these boats hitting only 140+ MPH. That is not very quick, you might mutter...
Water creates far more drag than land, where Campbell's Bluebird's reached nearly 300-MPH on Daytona Beach.
2014 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM DROPHEAD COUPE WATERSPEED
But the Phantom obviously prefers land, where it will happily sit atop those speeds all day, every day. With the AC on cool and some inspiring BBC World Service on the radio....
All jest aside, the Waterspeed leverages many great moments in history to create such a lovely and unique piece of modern art. The Waterspeed DHC is limited to 35 examples for sale to customers, with workmanship and holistic design execution by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Division. This is a sharp group, and one who take these themes very seriously while planning and building a client's dreamcar.
Rather than thinking of this a a performance upgrade, think of it as a curated theme that ties all elements of the
million billion possible Rolls-Royce customizations together into one lovely, coherent idea.
ROLLS-ROYCE SHARES SPECIAL WATERSPEED CAR WITH SIR MALCOLM CAMPBELL’S FAMILY
Donald and Joe Wales, the grandson and great grandson of pioneer record-breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell, have given their seal of approval to the first of 35 Bespoke Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection cars at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex.
Built to commemorate Campbell’s seminal act of British daring and endeavour, this latest creation by the marque’s Bespoke department takes inspiration from the Bluebird craft in which the records were set. A specially created exterior finish named Maggiore Blue takes its name from the lake on the Swiss-Italian border where Campbell broke the United States’ five year strangle-hold on the waterspeed records in 1937. This very special collection also pays homage to a period when the Rolls-Royce R-Type engine held speed records on land, water and in the air.
Donald and Joe enjoyed a walk through the manufacturing plant with Bespoke Designer Alex Innes before reviewing the specially commissioned car. On seeing the collection car, Donald, himself a record breaker, said, “I have no doubt that my grandfather Sir Malcolm Campbell would feel extremely proud to see his achievements honoured in this way. The Waterspeed car is a work of art; the blue and brushed steel evoke connotations of my grandfather’s World Record boats, Bluebird K3 and K4. This car is a lovely addition to the Rolls-Royce collection and a fabulous homage to a very important part of our racing heritage.”
It takes over 80 hours for a Rolls-Royce craftsperson to manufacture and hand brush the car’s striking brushed steel deck, whilst the coachline, complete with Bluebird motif, took another four hours to hand-apply using a squirrel hair brush.
Alex Innes, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bespoke Designer, said, “It gives me great pleasure to reveal Waterspeed to Donald and Joe Wales. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars echo Sir Malcolm Campbell’s commitment to engineering excellence and the constant pursuit of the ultimate in British Design. Using only the finest materials and exceptional craftsmanship, we have created a car which demonstrates the possibilities of Bespoke personalisation available to all Rolls-Royce customers.”
The Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection features a number of exquisitely designed and crafted Bespoke design features that have never appeared on a Rolls-Royce before. Further details revealing an insight into the creation of the cars will follow in the coming weeks.
The 1937 Records
On the morning of 1 September 1937, at the height of the battle between the United States and Great Britain to be the fastest nation on water, Sir Malcolm Campbell headed out onto the calm blue waters of Lake Maggiore on the Swiss-Italian frontier. On taking the wheel of his Bluebird K3 hydroplane boat, powered by Rolls-Royce’s R-Type engine, he established his legend, setting a record of 126.32 mph. The following day he went one better, piloting his craft to 129.5 mph, in doing so emphatically breaking the United States’ five-year stranglehold on the world waterspeed record. Campbell’s momentous achievement captured the world’s attention and reaffirmed the Rolls-Royce R-Type engines’ record-breaking superiority after triumphs on land and in the air.