James Milner Phillips (1 July 1905, (Chelmsford) - December 1974 (Stow on the Wold)) was an English automotive engineer and businessman who supervised the building, testing and world land speed record attempts of Donald Campbell's Bluebird-Proteus CN7 which on 17 July 1964 became the fastest four-wheeled vehicle in the world.
Phillips was managing director of Motor Panels Ltd, a Coventry based engineering firm who specialised in the production of pressings and assemblies for the motor trade for clients such as Alvis, Armstrong Siddeley, Austin Motor Company and Daimler. The original CN7 used for Campbell's unsuccessful 1960 record attempt at Bonneville Salt Flats was built by Motor Panels but was written-off in a high-speed crash during a record attempt run. Motor Panels set about building a replacement and by the end of 1962 it was finished. At the time it was the costliest single automobile in the history of motor sport at US$6m, equivalent to US$44 million today.
In early 1962 Phillips made a reconnaissance trip to Lake Eyre, South Australia and had been warned by a local sheep station owner that heavy rains were expected the following year following the twenty years of drought that had made the playa so suitable as a driving surface. On his return to England, Phillips advocated bringing the record attempt forward to 1962 however he was over-ruled by Donald Campbell who argued that there was not enough time and the challenge was deferred to 1963. The predicted torrential rain did fall, the lake became flooded and the 1963 land speed record attempt was abandoned.
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