- "She's a fantasmagorical machine!"
- ―Caractacus Potts [src]
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was the car star from the 1968 MGM and United Artists film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was based on a novel by James Bond author Ian Fleming of the same name. The car was invented (in the movie) by British inventor Caractcus Potts. Potts bought the old racecar from a junkyard and restored it to working order after it was destroyed in an automobile accident during a race. In the movie the car had the abillity to fly, float, and drive on the road like a normal car.
Background and InspirationEdit
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the novel) was inspired by a series of 4 real life race cars named Chitty? Bang Bang built and raced by Count Louis Zbrowski in the 1920s that were oddly long shaped. Ian Fleming saw one of the cars as a boy and thus inspired him to write the children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Chitty Bang Bang- Chitty 1Edit
The first Chitty was a chain driven customised Mercedes chassis with a twenty three litre, six cylinder Maybach engine. It was the first amateur machine to achieve celebrity at the Brooklands race track in 1921. Chitty 1 won two races in her debut appearance, reaching speeds of 100.75 miles an hour in the Brooklands Short Handicap.
Chitty Bang Bang- Chitty 2Edit
By summer of the same year, Count Zborowski began building Chitty 2. This model was similar to the first Chitty but had a shorter wheelbase, an early Mercedes chassis and an 18.8 litre Benz BZ series aero-engine. This car was never as successful as its predecessor. It failed to make its mark at Brooklands but took part in several races and a Sahara Desert expedition in 1922.
Chitty Bang Bang- Chitty 3Edit
This model lapped Brooklands at 112.68 miles per hour. It too, was based on a modified Mercedes chassis. It had a 160 horse power Mercedes single overhead camshaft six cylinder aero engine and was tuned to produce 180 horse power.
Chitty Bang Bang- Chitty 4Edit
A fourth Chitty, more commonly known as the "Higham Special" was the largest capacity (27 litres) racing car ever to run at Brooklands. Its gearbox and chain-drive originated from a pre-war Blitzen Benz and it had a 450 horse power V12 Liberty aero engine. This car was later purchased by racing enthusiast J.G. Parry Thomas who christened it "Babs" and used it to win the land speed record. in April 1926 with a speed of 171.02 miles per hour.
Designing the Movie CarEdit
For the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, technicians and engineers worked on designing and building the car for almost seven months in utmost secrecy. Chitty's wooden boat body was crafted from red and white cedar, the work of expert boat builder from England's Thames River. Chitty is finished in aluminum, brass, and copper.
Movie Car Racing CareerEditChitty was a victorian racecar before she was owned by Caractacus. She participated in these races before she caught on fire which caused her to end up in a junkyard:
- 1907 British Grand Prix, Outcome: Won
- 1908 French Grand Prix, Outcome: Won
- 1908 Deutschland Grand Prix, Outcome: Won
- 1909 British Grand Prix, Outcome: Lost, crashed and veered out of control and caught on fire ending her racing career.
- Road Travel
- The ability to become a boat and drive on the water.
- To become a submarine (Revealed in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again)
- Time Travel (revealed in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again)
- It was inspired by the Chitty Bang Bang racing cars raced by Count Louis Zborowski in the 1920s.
- When Chitty is a racecar at the beginning of the movie, her race number is #3.
- The prop builders for the film spent 7 months in secrecy building the car for the film.
- The road car that was built for the movie looks like a manual drive car, but in reality the clutch is a dummy, it is really an automatic driving car.
The movie car is 17 feet and 7 inches long, stands an incredible 6 foot 3 inches high, is 5 feet 9 inches wide, has a hood length of 5 feet 4 inches, and has horsepower capable of reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Chitty weighs approximately 1.5 tons.
There were 8 cars built for and used in the film:
Original road going Chitty Chitty Bang Bang vehicle
Flying car with wings and stabilizers
A trailer version with removable chassis. An engine and wheels were added to this after filming.
A version used in shots where the car transitions into the floating car. The detail on this version was "all aluminium" with no brass detailing.
A sea-going version on an inflatable floatilla mounted on two speed boats
A second road going car with construction flaws which additionally had a second set of steering controls concealed on the floor by the front seats. Identifiable by vertical support bars behind the radiator grille.
Two racing car versions.
Current Movie Car Locations Edit
- 1 Original Roadworthy Movie Chitty: Owned by Sir Peter Jackson. Currently in New Zealand, New license plate GEN 1I
- 2 Movie Car Aluminum Chitty: Used in the sequence when Chitty was stuck when the tide came in. Owned by EON productions, currently in storage at Pinewood Studios, UK.
- 3 Winged Chitty: Privately owned by Ralph Spencer in Jacksonville, Florida. Fully Restored
- 4 Close-up Trailer version Chitty: Engine added. Privately owned by Anthony Bamford in UK
- 5 Blind Driver Chitty (used to give the impression Chitty drove herself): Dezer Collection Auto Museum (Miami, Florida)
- 6 Floating Boat Chitty: Destroyed after filming.
- 7 Race Car Chitty/Junkyard Chitty. Original in Brooklands Museum in Surrey. Replica on display at: Dezer Collection Auto Museum (Miami, Florida)
In LiteratureEditThe plot of Ian Fleming's novel is quite different from that of the movie. It was written by Ian Fleming in 1964 for his son Caspar.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies AgainEditIn 2011 a sequel to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Chitty fan Frank Cotrell Boyce. In this story a father finds Chitty's engine in a junkyard and puts it in his Volkswagon campervan, and Chitty looks for her lost frame work on a world wide journey.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: And The Race Against TimeEdit
SPOILER ALERT! Frank Cottrell Bryce proposed another few sequels to his Chitty novel, being that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again ended on a cliffhanger where Chitty had accidently traveled back in time. This book picks up right where the first sequel ended with Chitty in prehistoric times and the perilous journey back to the Tooting Family's time.
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