Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the vintage racing car which features in the book, musical film and stage production of the same name. Writer Ian Fleming took his inspiration for the car from a series of aero-engined racing cars built by Count Louis Zborowski in the early 1920s, christened "Chitty Bang Bang". Six versions of the car were built for the film and a number of replicas have subsequently been produced. The version built for the stage production holds the record for the most expensive stage prop ever used.

Film carsEdit

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car

Carolyn Pointing's "Chitty" at a 2009 event

For the film version, six cars were created, including a fully functional road-going car with UK registration GEN 11. This car was designed by the film's production designer, Ken Adam, and cartoonist and sculptor Frederick Roland Emett, built by Alan Mann Racing in Hertfordshire in 1967, fitted with a Ford 3000 V6 engine and automatic transmission and allocated a genuine UK registration. This car was privately owned by Pierre Picton of Stratford-upon-Avon from the early 1970s until 2011.[1] Actor Dick van Dyke, who drove the car in the film, said that "the car was a little difficult to maneuver, with the turning radius of a battleship"[2].

Five other car props were built by the studio: a second, smaller road-going version; a transforming car; a hover-car; a flying car; and an engineless version for trailer work. Most had engines added after filming was complete and were used to promote the film throughout the world.

The second road version, which only appears in 12 seconds of the movie, was on display at The Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, Cumbria, (currently closed) as of 2011.[3] There were construction flaws on this vehicle which made its use impractical. EON productions made a less-detailed transforming version which they use to promote the stage musical but, as it does not have an MOT certificate (of roadworthiness), is not allowed on public roads. The final road version is privately owned by Anthony Bamford (owner of JCB), and is on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, UK. The hover-car was a shell mounted on a speed boat, and was destroyed after filming. Only the original road-going version bears the registration GEN 11 legitimately.

One of the cars used in the film was displayed at a Chicago restaurant for many years, then sold at auction in 2007 for $505,000 to a Florida resident.[4]

One car appeared in a humorous Public information film aimed at British motorists, intended to remind them to pay their Vehicle excise duty. Ironically, there was criticism as all cars built before 1 January 1973, including the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang model, are exempt from vehicle excise duty in the UK, though they have to display a tax disc showing the exemption. The PIF was a parody of the MGM film.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang UK Replica

Tony Green's replica car on show at a Manchester Fire Service charity event

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang UK Replica detail

Close up of Tony Green's replica car

There is a licensed replica in the United Kingdom, built for a commercial photography business. The car is roadworthy and has the registration number GEN 22. It weighs around 1.5 tons and is nearly 18 feet long and 6 feet wide. The brass lamps are all original period pieces and the brass snake horn came from one of the original Chitty cars. The engine is a 3L V6 Ford with a BorgWarner automatic gearbox.[5][6] The car is displayed at events and in shopping centres.

Another Chitty 'replica' was build by Nick Pointing of the Isle of Wight after his wife Carolyn, a life long Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fan asked him to build her her dream car. It's not based on a 1920's chassis, but on a 1970's Land Rover one, so perhaps replica isn't the right word, but MGM approved the car for promotional work for the touring Musical. Their "Chitty" is not only road legal, the couple drove it overland to Australia in 2007/8 to prove its roadworthiness and to raise money for charity. The events of that build and trip are covered in the book "Port Out Starboard Home".

In July 2009, the EON copy of the car was prevented from being used in Norwich by the police, as the car was not roadworthy, properly registered or insured.[7] The GEN 11, Pierre Picton car subsequently visited the city of Norwich in August 2009 to promote the show in the theatre successfully. Public appearances of the car in 2010 are listed on the GEN 11 official website, with a note that there will be no more as the car was sent to Los Angeles, USA, to be auctioned on 22 May 2011[8][9], where it was expected to fetch US$1-2m, but sold for $805,000 (£495,415)[10] to the New Zealand film director Sir Peter Jackson, who according to his spokesperson said he would use it as a charity fund-raising vehicle. Jackson was later seen driving his children in the car in the Wellington suburb of Seatoun.[11]

In early 2012 British DJ Chris Evans paid a reported £500,000 for the GEN 11 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car, telling UK press that he had already sent the car off to be fully restored, as it had fallen into some disrepair.[12] On 23rd August 2012 Chris was seen driving it in Central London after presenting his Breakfast Show on Radio 2.[13] It is reported he has spent a substantial sum to get the car road worthy again.

Stage production car Edit

Another version of the car, built for the British stage production of the story, debuted at The London Palladium In 2002. Built at a cost of £750,000 the car is listed in Guinness World Records book as the most expensive stage prop ever.[14]


add any photos of the various cars here;

References Edit

  1. Picton, Pierre. "Chitty chitty bang bang". Retrieved on 3 September 2010.
  2. Los Angeles times: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to be auctioned
  4. Anon (4 June 2007). "Chitty film car fetches $505,000". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved on 3 September 2010.
  5. Green, Tony. "History". Tony Green's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Retrieved on 2009-03-09.[dead link]
  6. Anon. "A 'Truly Scrumptious' Plate". Registration Transfers Ltd. Retrieved on 3 September 2010.
  7. Gammell, Caroline (8 July 2009). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang banned from parade for lacking MoT", The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved on 28 April 2010. 
  8., website of GEN 11 car: Public appearances of the car in 2010
  9. BBC: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car up for auction
  10. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Auction in 2011
  11. Cooke, Michelle (22 October 2011). "Jackson Picks Up Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", The Dominion Post (Wellington). Retrieved on 22 October 2011. 
  12. .
  13. "Chris Drives home in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", Daily Mail (London) (23 August 2012). Retrieved on 24 August 2012. 
  14. Anon (1 February 2010). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang linked to Emett clock". BBC Radio Nottingham. BBC. Retrieved on 4 September 2010.

External linksEdit

Template:Film cars

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