Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: A Magical Classic for Car Lovers
Few films truly exemplify how magical a car can be. One of the exceptions is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The 1968 film follows the life of Caractacus Potts, a down-on-his-luck inventor, as he turns a broken-down Grand Prix vehicle into a magical car that is capable of flying. The vehicle is named Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and is used by Potts and his children who go on an adventure to save their grandfather.
While it doesn’t fly in real life, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang still leaves a lasting impression. The broken-down Grand Prix features a front end that is crafted from polished aluminum; the rear-end features a boat deck that is hand-crafted out of red and white cedar, while the brass fittings used to belong on Edwardian cars.
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There was a total of seven versions of Chitty made for the 1968 film, but only one was actually functional. This model is actually a road-going car with a UK registration and the number plate GEN 11. This plate was given to the car by Ian Fleming, who wrote the novel which the film was based on. He did so because the plate spells out the Latin word “genii,” which means “magical person or being.”
Watch the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Trailer
The film’s production designer, Ken Adam, designed the car, along with cartoonist and sculptor Frederick Rowland Emett. The car was built by Alan Mann Racing in Hertfordshire, England in 1967. The fantastical car uses a Ford 3000 V6 engine for power, along with an automatic transmission. While the car is perfectly functional, actor Dick van Dyke, who starred in the film, has been quoted as saying that, “the car was a little difficult to maneuver, with the turning radius of a battleship.”
Regardless of Chitty’s turning radius, it truly is the perfect car for magical adventures. While it is no longer available on Netflix, it is still the perfect classic film to watch at any age.
Until recently, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang vehicle was owned by Radio 2 DJ and new Top Gear host Chris Evans. Evans recently announced he will be selling the iconic car at an auction, along with 12 other cars from his own personal collection.