This site was put together for Chitty replica builders and history of the original cars.
5 Original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang cars are accounted for:
1. Picton car, GEN 11- NZ
2. JC Bamford car GEM 11 - UK
3. Spencer "flying" car - FL , USA
4. Eon Productions - UK ?
5. Dezer Museum, FL - USA (Formerly from Cars of the Stars, Keswick Museum, UK)
6. Boat Chitty - ? Original may not exist anymore.
7. The race car - ? Original may not exist anymore.
1- GEN 11
Was owned by Pierre Picton of the UK. Chitty rolled out of the workshop
in June 1967 and was registered with the number plate GEN 11 given to her
by Ian Fleming in his novel.
Update: This car was to be sold at auction, May 14-15, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Mid April 2011 the car was listed on eBay for 1,000,000.00. by Profiles in History.
5-15-2011 The car reportedly sold for $805,000., they had hoped for 1 to 2 million.
New owner: Sir Peter Jackson of New Zealand.
2. GEM 11
Now registered as GEM 11 - Currently owned by Anthony Banford (of JCB auto fame). Pierre Picton purchased this vehicle from Cubby Broccoli in the early 1970's. It was then on display at the Heathfield Wildlife Park in the UK and The Rotunda in Folkestone during the 1970's after being sold by Pierre Picton.
In 1980-1981 it was auctioned and purchased private collector Anthony Bamford.
When built it had no engine and was trailer-mounted during filming and used for studio process scenes with wings or flotilla added and flying car. When filming the driving sequences close ups are impossible with two moving vehicles. For this reason, Chitty 2 sat on a trailer attached to the back of another vehicle on which the cameras were mounted. This was only used for the extreme close-ups when you see the windscreen and surroundings.
Pierre Picton, who it was said fitted an engine into it and used until the late 1970's. Over the years the car has been modified. Several holes where drilled into body. A large radiator cap has been fitted, sealed beam headlamps, The panels on the bonnet (hood) are not hinged, they are painted fiberglass panels, it lifts up in one unit, a modification for unknown reason. Picton adapted the car for uses in a clown and ice show act. One front fender was modified to open as a mouth or dragon. Small wings were added.
Later it was fitted with newer front axle and front brakes. (Headlamps and brakes are most likely Department of transportation requirements to be driven on European roads)
It is occasionally displayed at the Beaullieau Motor Museum, perhaps last in early 2000. The Gordon Grant replica has been at the Museum recently, until it was sold.
3. FLYING CHITTY
Long in hiding - This Chitty was part of the "Cavalcade of Cars"
exhibit at the (now closed) Gaslight Village Amusement Park in Lake George,
New York. Sold in 1987. Then it was on display in the landmark restaurant
attraction know as Chicago West, Mona Lisa's Hideaway, Chicago, ILL. The
owner was forced to put the car up for auction. It sold June 2007 at Kruse
auctions, Indiana for $505,000 to a Jacksonville, Florida collector. Back
in 1998, Dean Kruse himself appraised the car at $980,000. The winning bidder,
Ralph Spencer. He already owns a 1966 Bat mobile, a replica originally built
for the 2001 movie Rock Star.
This was the original "Flying car car", the only one originally fitted with full wings and props. One of the less modified and untouched original cars as of the time it was auctioned. This car was fitted with a very small 4 cylinder engine to make room for the front extending wing. 2010: Rumor is that it's now undergoing restoration in Florida.(2011).
4. THE WATER, ALUMINUM EON CAR
This version with its many aluminum (instead of brass) parts. I was told the car appears only in the water scenes of the movie in the sequence where the tide raises around the car. Later it publicized the movie in Australia for many years before being bought by an aluminum awning company. This was the first Chitty to be displayed at the Keswick Museum in the UK and was sold to EON productions a years ago. Cosmetic "tinting" work was done on the vehicle to make aluminum parts look brass color for promotion of the Chitty play, a West End UK stage Eon production. The shifter, exhaust headers and muffler are still aluminum color. (at time of this writing) It was fitted with front brakes but still has the dropped dip front axle.
Rumor was that the aluminum features was avoid the tarnishing of the
brass by sea-water. Because it looked so different, they used the car for
about 30 seconds in th film. They used Chitty #2 in a pool in Pinewood Studios
for some water scenes. Said to be currently in storage at Pinewood Studios,
UK. (in 2011)
5. Dezer Chitty known for the "Wrong radiator grille"
Located at the Dezer Collection / museum in Florida.
6. BOAT CAR
They could have have used one of the bodies from another car with this chassis. (before or after this scene) Information said six cars were built, they also made a race car.
Was said to be a vehicle with no chassis, (image below may say differently) mounted permanently on a flotilla which was seaworthy. A driver sat below the bonnet (hood) and steered the craft. Was said to have not survived after filming. A rare image located shows the chassis with tilting wheels. This same tilting wheels are shown on one of the cars with a wood body with rear prop exiting the water. The body matches that of the flying Chitty in that scene.
7. RACE CAR, original
Unknown if this car still exists or if wood body & fenders were mounted on this chassis to build one of the other cars. The car was fitted with two differentials to run the chain drive.
Painted green for the movie, - Dick Van Dyke in showroom fresh speedster circa 1967/1968.
If you have more information, corrections, write me below.
Replicars, reproduction Chitty cars, builders.
Several full size reproductions exist. Below are some. Some still works in progress.
At least two others were built for the Chitty plays (not road cars)
Reproductions - From fun examples to accurate in every detail.
Note, you will find lots of news stories on the Web that
misidentify the cars, often calling
UK, England, Tony Green had this car built in about 1 1/2 years (quick)
and has sold it. GEN 22
This one below is reduced parade or "prop car", once owned by Gordon Grant - Scotland.
2012- At least 6 (or more) reproductions in the USA are at different stages in the USA
New York Chitty
New York City, - Tony G.
Mat K. -IL
2013- Now on the road.
Keith M. of Northern Ireland
Body framework is being made out of steel. (2012) Completed 2013
Others in various stages:
Owners can add photos... (write me below)
One in New Zealand, an early reproduction, about circa 1990's or before.
2009 - WGG 5 Gordon Grant Chitty, reproduction (below) UK/Scotland
3-2011, now for sale...(Sold)
Speedster / Race car , Dezer Museum in Florida., Built in the UK
A few more were built on Land Rover chassis.
Chitty Three Wheeler- 2013 John R. , Cambridge - UK
Who says Chitty has to have four wheels! John is building this himself
from a Robin Rialto three-wheeler car, with 850cc engine.
He's doing all the work himself, and good chance this is the only 3-wheeler Chitty in the world. It's all about having fun!
Several were also made for the stage plays.
The first person on record that attempted to build the first full size
Chitty replicar was Ed P. of MI around 1989-1990.
However back then it was almost impossible to get any information (not much on Web) 2012, Ed is starting over.
Some have tried and and had to give up for various reasons. Health, costs , information available, over whelming, etc.
The Chitty car is not something you can not build quickly, as most parts are custom made, and costly. Set a deadline and you will just be frustrated.
One of the older Chitty sites with lots of info, (more than just the cars) and has been around for a while.
Myths and rumors:
(Don't believe everything you read on the Web)
Some old myths were started years ago and just copied over the years, such as the wood being made of red and white cedar, not true, they were made of other "hardwoods". The dash coming from a British WW1 fighter airplane, I'll bet this was also a myth by some early magazine writer... as an early airplane cockpit does not match that of the cars dashboards. Perhaps modeled after a British WW1 fighter airplane could have been the original comment. "fenders were made from hand crafted wood with a black lacquer finish"...not true, they are metal. The wheels are cast aluminum.
I have hand inspected two of the original cars myself and spoke with Alan Mann in 2000. He told me there were also no real finished construction drawings of the car. - The only blue prints/drawings were made of a concept Chitty car "similar to the car, but many changes were made". These production drawings were done by Ken Adam and the cars were built by a team of people lead by Alan Mann who lead the Ford Racing team. Alan sent me duplicates of the huge drawings. Most parts were hand made & built, a few brass parts, lamps, shifters, oil tanks, etc. were from early 1910 era Rolls Royce cars from old wrecking yards/parts suppliers. The boat tail designed after that of a Rolls Royce, the brass shell after a Bugatti and the strap on the hood like a vintage Mercedes. The frames were custom built. The wood bodies were made by a team of skilled boat builders. Alan Mann passed away in 2012.
Picton changed a few details on his car and some of the UK reproduction cars have these changes also to keep their cars looking the same.
The dark side: The temperament about the cars in the UK and the USA is quite different. Tony Green (UK) was almost forced to sell his reproduction from unjustified law suits and threats from Picton, the owner of one of the original cars. Tony had his car licensed by MGM to try to avoid conflict, but Tony did later sell the car to get away from it all.
Looking at some UK replica Web sites you will see some UK owners have been posting claims to seemingly say "my car is better than yours" and close deception to possiby be an original movie car...sad. Perhaps this will change over time with new owners and attitudes. A replica is a replica - to represent as anything other will only backfire.
In the USA. it's seemingly a different philosophy all about having fun, the history, the car hobby, the "art" of the vehicle, the challenge of construction, the people, no deception, and getting along.
A few writers also confuse the original race car, Zbrowski with the movie car, and sometimes confuse reproductions as original cars.
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Contact me for any updates to information.