Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 18:51 UK

First glimpse of reborn Bluebird

Bluebird
Bluebird will have to be disassembled ahead of the final rebuild

Donald Campbell's Bluebird K7 has been painstakingly reassembled more than 40 years after it crashed.

Campbell died in 1967 on Coniston Water in Cumbria, while trying to break a speed record.

Diver Bill Smith and his team have been restoring the craft since salvaging it from the lake in 2001.

Bluebird's distinctive shape is once again recognisable, although it will not be back in full working order until at least 2009.

And it will need to be disassembled before the final rebuild can begin, according to Mr Smith, who is restoring the boat at his workshop in North Shields.

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Brinigng back the Bluebird

He said: "We just wanted to make sure we had all the parts and that they all fitted together properly.

"We haven't yet put the engine in or connected all the instruments up, but those bits are easy compared to the work we've done so far.

"Once we've let people have a look at it, we'll be taking it apart again, cleaning everything and treating it to make sure it lasts a long time. And painting it blue."

Approximately 98% of the original boat has been recovered and repaired in minute detail, despite the wreckage being strewn across the lake bed.

The new Bluebird Wing of The Ruskin Museum at Coniston, where the boat will eventually be displayed, is also nearing completion.

On Wednesday, a pair of cast metal "Donald Campbell" nameplates, previously fitted to a diesel train named after the famous record breaker, will be presented to the museum by Virgin Trains.

Once the restoration is completed, the team hopes to drive the boat on Coniston before it becomes a permanent exhibit.




SEE ALSO
30,000 boost for Bluebird appeal
17 Aug 07 |  Cumbria
Bluebird pieces traced in water
27 Apr 07 |  North East/N Isles

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