Two-door pure-electric coupé to launch next year; high-performance variant to get 360bhp
Darren Moss
23 September 2013

The Bluebird DC50 will be ready for deliveries next July, Autocar can reveal.

The two-door, pure-electric coupé will be built in a strictly limited production run of 50 units, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Donald Campbell's land and water speed records.

DC50 will be built in two versions, with a high-performance derivative putting out around 360bhp. This version will also use technology originally developed for Bluebird's Formula E GTL electric racer.

A lower-powered version of the DC50 will also be offered, and is expected to have a range of up to 200 miles.

Bluebird Speed Records project director, Martin Rees, told Autocar that half of the planned run has already been allocated to customers: "In terms of the customers we envision that 60 per cent will be collectors, 20 per cent will be users and 20 per cent will be for the high performance derivative".

While Rees is excited about the prospect of having 50 Bluebird vehicles on the road, he says the company isn't looking to enter the mass market: "This is not Bluebird trying to enter mainstream automotive manufacturing.

"Our operation is a very intimate, very direct opportunity to celebrate a great man. For that reason we don’t need PR or marketing, our story writes itself. Just by releasing it we know it will sell.

"This is being done for a special reason and to celebrate a significant part of the Bluebird story. If that proves that the brand can be expanded into this market then that’s something we will look at. We would have to look seriously at taking this forward into the future, with this technology and with the design qualities that we hope we could bring. Fundamentally Bluebird is about pushing technology boundaries."

Tesla's Model S has already paved the way for performance-orientated electric motoring in the UK, and while Rees admires the company's efforts he isn't looking to emulate its success: "The public are becoming increasingly aware of the technology and its advantages, to the point that they are starting to consider electric vehicle products.

"The Model S is a significant product that will be a game changer for the EV world.

"Tesla aside, though, I think there is still very little in the market that the public can fully endorse."

The DC50 will be manufactured by Bluebird at a bespoke site in Oxfordshire, believed to be part of a new technology park dedicated to historic vehicle and aviation technology currently being developed in Bicester.

Each vehicle will have a bespoke element about it, says Rees: "Every customer's car will be slightly different according to their specifications. It is also our intention to make each car bespoke to the memory of Donald Campbell, and we are looking at ways to incorporate distinct parts of the Bluebird history into each car.

"Our position is very niche. The history of Bluebird suggests that you campaign the technologies of the day. In the ‘20s and ‘30s that was internal combustion, in the days of Donald Campbell it was turbine injection, and now it’s electric. Bluebird’s purpose is to try and push the boundaries of that".

The car was originally intended to be unveiled at the Sustainable MotorExpo at Bealieu, but has had to be postponed after the event organisers re-scheduled the show for next year.

Our Verdict

Tesla Model S 95D

In theory, this all-electric luxury car looks a hit. So is it in practice?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune
  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic