Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (car)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fictional vintage car from the 1968 musical film of the same name, based on a children’s story by James Bond author Ian Fleming, using a script written by Roald Dahl. Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was inspired by a series of cars built and raced by Count Louis Vorrow Zborowski called “Chitty Bang Bang”.
Six versions of the car were built for the production, but only one was a functioning road-worthy vehicle.
This version was created by production designer Ken Adam, and built by Alan Mann Racing in Hertfordshire in 1967 who were responsible for a substantial part of Ford’s racing works around Europe at the time.
The car was built on a custom ladder frame chassis, with a polished aluminium bonnet and a boat-deck hand-crafted from cedar by a boat builder in Buckinghamshire.
In addition it was given a number of brass fittings from existing Edwardian cars, a dashboard plate from a British World War I fighter plane and fitted with fitted with a Ford 3000 V6 engine and automatic transmission.
It was allocated the UK registration of ‘GEN 11.’, and is the only existing version from the film which is legal to drive.
The car does not feature any of the gadgets that appear in the film (during which it is used as both a boat and a plane), but was designed to withstand a number of driving conditions including sand, cobbled streets and down staircases.
The other 5 models that were produced for the movie were: a transforming car, a hover car, a flying car and an engineless version for trailer work. Most of the cars had engines fitted after filming was finished so that they could be used to promote the film at various locations across the world.
A road version of the car which only appeared in the film for 20 seconds due to construction flaws is currently on display at The Cars of The Stars Museum in Cumbria, England. Another version, privately owned by Anthony Bamford, is on display at the British National Motor Museum in Hampshire, England.
EON productions own a transforming version of the car which they use to promote the stage version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Ownership and sale
The car was purchased soon after the film was released by British actor Pierre Picton, who doubled for Van Dyke in several scenes, whilst he was doing promotional work for the film.
It remained in his personal collection for more than 40 years, during which time it was driven in numerous charity classic car rallies around the United Kingdom.
Pop star Michael Jackson reportedly attempted to buy the car for display at his Neverland Ranch, but Picton refused as he felt the car should remain in Britain.
However, in May 2011 the car was placed up for auction by the Los Angeles-based auction house Profiles in History with a pre-sale estimate of $1 million - $2 million prior to selling for $805,000.