Visually the car was quite different. The bodywork was now rectangular in cross section and spanned the full width over the wheels. Although actually higher, this increased width gave the impression of a much lower and sleeker car, accentuated by the long stabilising tailfin and the purposeful raised ridges over the engine camboxes. This Blue Bird was clearly a design of the Modernist ’30s, not the brute heroism of the ’20s.
Mechanically the changes to the car had focussed on improving the traction, rather than increasing the already generous power. Double wheels and tyres were fitted to the rear axle, to improve grip. The final drive was also split into separate drives to each side. This reduced the load on each drive, allowed the driver position to be lowered, but required the wheelbase to be shortened asymmetrically on one side by 1 1⁄2-inch (38 mm). Airbrakes were fitted, actuated by a large air cylinder. For extra streamlining the radiator air intake could be closed by a movable flap, for a brief period during the record itself.
Blue Bird made its first record runs back on Daytona Beach in early 1935. On 7 March 1935 Campbell improved his record to 276.82 miles per hour (445.50 km/h), but the unevenness of the sand caused a loss of grip and he knew the car was capable of more.