Antiques Roadshow guest snubs expert by refusing to sell £8,000 car model

An Antiques Roadshow guest refused to sell an ornament despite it receiving a jaw-dropping valuation.

Expert John Foster recognised the distinctive Bluebird hydroplane model as a model of the actual vehicle that was driven by world speed record breaker Donald Campbell.

In the re-run episode at Forty Hall, Enfield, the guest said he acquired the model from his grandfather, who took over as lead constructor with a company in Coventry that went on the land-speed record in 1964.

The streamlined plane model is painted in blue with some black taped markings on top and a figurine in the pilot seat.

"I think it was made for either design presentation or even aerodynamics, a wind tunnel perhaps," he told John.

"In one of these pictures, he [my grandfather] is leaning over at one point and in the far one, he is talking over to Donald Campbell about something."

The expert wanted to know more and asked: "Your grandfather was involved in the production of which aspect of this?"

"Just the body construction and aerodynamics," the man replied.

John looked rejoiced and added: "That’s what I think this is because when you say about wind tunnels or anything like that, it doesn’t work aerodynamically as an actual wind tunnel model.

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"For this to work as an actual wind tunnel model, you’d actually have to have the ducting running right through the body, because obviously, it wouldn't work in the same way."

He then pointed out the black lines on the top of the Bluebird model and suggested that those were markings for where the panels would have been able to be removed so engineers could access to the gas turbine engine.

"It might be purely a model for that, just to show the various access points," John said before he turned his attention to the guest's dossier.

The man explained it contained all the correspondence between Donald Campbell and his grandfather, as well as photographs of the construction phases and the land record phase.

John continued: "At auction estimate, I think, would be in the region…it's tricky, but between sort of £5,000 and £8,000."

"Wow," the guest looked stunned. "Not in the habit of selling but yeah, great. Thank you!"

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