Bluebird

The Bluebird Jetstars, which were built by Donald Campbell. This is a new section and will have history and restoration details here soon.

Bluebird Jetstar with owner and restorer Mark. These boats are water jet propelled with V6 or bigger engines and were designed and built by Donald Campbell. Mark has a V8 engine I believe.

The above Bluebird Jetstar 520 started life with Mark like this. The above is the end result and what a project. These are big boats, so take a lot of effort to restore. More coming soon on Marks restoration boat.

Bluebird Jetstar – History

Leo Villa (chief engineer of Bluebird Marine) produced a fibreglass version of the Jetstar for about £850. The boats were produced for 10 years between 1970 and 1980, by Gordon Thurkettle and about 100 of these boats were built. When the company ceased, the moulds were sold on to BW Marine, Southwater, Horsham, Sussex.

Our own OSB (Alan R) worked with Gordon Thurkettle from 1970 to 1984 building the Jetstars. He confirms that the first boat was made of wood and powered by an Evinrude V4 75hp power head driving a Dowty-Hamilton jet through an oil cooled right angle drive gearbox designed by the Norris Brothers who had designed both the Bluebird K7 boat and CN7 car for Donald Campbell with which he set both water and land speed records.

The first production Jetstar was a 4 seat boat with a flat windscreen and powered by a 1500cc Ford engine as the cross flow 1600 was not at that time available.

In 1970, the screen changed to a wrap-a-round version, this became the Jetstar 400. A cheaper 2 seat just for skiing was called the Jetstar 390 and an alternative 2 litre BMW engine was offered giving 130 bhp. Changing the impellor to the coarse version gave 36 knots with more thrust for skiing. A Castoldi 04 jet was fitted giving a top speed in excess of 40 knots. They also produced a 17′ Jetstar 520 which became the 525.This boat was fitted with the Castoldi 05 jet and a 3 litre Ford Essex V6 engine.