The uncanny thing was just how much Don Wales, sitting behind the wheel of the original Bluebird land speed record car, looked like his grandfather Sir Malcolm Campbell, who had set a world land speed record of 150mph in the machine, exactly 90 years before.
It just so happens that I have a large photograph of Campbell on one of the walls at home, so I could see the resemblance straight away.
Sure, Wales dyed his hair to the mid-brown of Sir Malcolm’s barnet, and adopted Sir Malcolm’s characteristic sky-blue jumper, breeks and brown shoes for the day. But there was no mistaking the shape of the head, or close resemblance in the eyes and nose, or his adoption of the original speed king’s penchant for taking charge.
Yesterday, on the beach at Pendine Sands, where Campbell set his original record, Wales allotted tasks to willing helpers, who soon set about laying out the course, putting up crowd barriers and a start-line banner just like the one that had been there in 1925.
The car, fresh from an exhaustive rebuild by its owner, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, looked magnificent, and sounded even better when they started its 18.3-litre V12 Sunbeam engine, a unique cross between a car and an aero engine.