In the late 1960s, a car was built for a film and named after it. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the film, developed from a book written by Ian Fleming, author of James Bond, 007. Fleming wrote the series of books, ‘The Magical Car’ for his son, Caspar, whom he referred to as 003-and-a-half.
Motor enthusiast Louis Zborowski in the 1920s, built Chitty Bang Bang 1, 2, 3 and 4, from which Chitty Chitty Bang Bang evolved.
Inventor Caractacus Potts (played by Dick Van Dyke) transforms an old Grand Prix car into a magical flying vehicle that teleports him and his family to a kingdom ruled by the evil Baron Bomburst.
The fictional character of inventor Caractacus Potts was reminiscent of Rowland Emett, who worked on the technical aspects of the film.
It is a heartwarming and exciting movie about an eccentric inventor, his kids, his female companion, and the biggest star, the custom former race car he brought back from the brink of being scrapped.
The challenges of the role for the car would take six different iterations, with only one running and the rest were movie props, used in other ways as the car went through all terrains, including the air.
The original Chitty Bang Bang’s engine was from a Zeppelin dirigible. The name is derived from its sound while idling or from a bawdy song from World War I.
It was 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, GEN 11 and was fully street legal. It was equipped with a dashboard plate from a WWI British fighter plane and had a red and white cedar boat deck.
In 2011, ‘Chitty’ was sold at auction for £594,000 to Peter Jackson, the name behind the Lord of the Rings. Now Chitty resides in New Zealand.