By Mike Torpey on 2014-05-14 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
homage to Bluebird
ROLLS-ROYCE is paying tribute to Sir Malcolm Campbell and his water speed record breaker Bluebird with its latest bespoke collection.
And the luxury brand has chosen two fitting locations for the UK and European debuts of the car, the Phantom Drophead Coupe Waterspeed.
In Britain, the collection is being unveiled on the site of the original Bluebird Motor Company - now the Bluebird Restaurant - on London's King's Road,.
The Bluebird Motor Company building was commissioned in 1923 to be Europe's largest garage and was built in the era's characteristic Art Deco style, which it preserves today.
The business ultimately helped fund Campbell's pursuit to wrest the water speed record from its American holders.
The car will then head to the Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa D'Este on the shores of Italy's Lake Como, where it will be unveiled to the public for the first time.
It was on the adjacent Lake Maggiore where, on September 1, 1937, Campbell established his legend, setting a world-record speed of 126.33mph in the famous Bluebird K3 boat powered by a Rolls-Royce R engine.
Waterspeed Collection Phantom Drophead Coupes feature a number of exclusively created bespoke design and engineering features to create a contemporary tribute to Campbell's famous craft.
The car is finished in a specially developed Maggiore Blue exterior paint, inspired by Bluebird's colour scheme.
Nine layers of paint are applied before a process of hand-sanding and powdered lacquer is undertaken to ensure a perfect finish and for the first time in Rolls-Royce history the exterior finish extends to the engine.
The finish also adorns the car's eleven-spoke wheels and the exterior is topped off with a Bluebird motif that took four hours to apply by hand.
Further reference to Campbell's craft is made via a new interpretation of the famous ‘power reserve' dial.
As the driver presses on, the dial moves backwards towards a yellow and blue zone, echoing Campbell's original K3 boat's ‘going into the blue' at maximum engine revs.
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