Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica Registration no. 772 YUJ Chassis no. Y174734 Engine no. RY972201P
Released in December 1968, 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' is one of the best-loved children's movies of all time. Played by Dick Van Dyke, eccentric professor Caractacus Potts transforms an old jalopy into a car possessing magical properties, which he and his two children then use to overthrow the tyrannical ruler of Vulgaria. The car's name is said to derive from the sound made by its engine.
This Chitty replica was started in 1998 and has been totally constructed from scratch except for the Ford V6 engine and automatic gearbox, which were chosen because this combination was used in the original film car. It took the preceding owner just under ten years to recreate in his spare time.
Help was provided by Bond film designer and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang assistant art director, Oscar winner Peter Lamont, who advised on techniques used in the car's construction and the various companies originally involved. The blueprints and notes from the film car were supplied by retired set decorator, Denise Exshaw, widow of Harry Pottle, art director on Chitty.
Painstakingly re-created, the ladder frame chassis was made with the assistance of Gomm Metal Developments and Lionel Whitehead, who was the chief mechanic at Alan Mann Racing, the company that built the original car for the film. Mr Whitehead kindly passed on the original plans to the vendor. The boat tail's woodwork was made with the help of Terry Dan, the original film car's boat builder, who worked on it in 1968 at Bates Boatyard in Surrey. Terry provided the dimensions and details of how the rear bodywork was made, and the then owner had it recreated at Loch Lomond by veteran boat builder Angus MacFadzean, a family friend, who took just under three years to complete the task.
The wheels have been cast from Chitty's original wheels, and the original machinist, Roy Golding of Portsmouth, still keeps the pattern in his workshop at home. New Pro Foundries of West Drayton, Middlesex, the company responsible for the original wheels, cast those of the replica. The polished aluminium bonnet and mudguards were recreated at AL Gordon Engineering in Falkirk, Scotland by a four-man team that included the vendor's father - an engineer and mechanic by trade - working in his spare time.
The leather seats were made in the drapes department at Pinewood Film Studios in Buckinghamshire, where the film was made, while the basket rack and wings were made by NLS Film & TV Metalworks, another member of the Pinewood Group and also Royal Warrant holders. The brass metalwork was entrusted to Propshop Modelmakers at Pinewood. Since completion the car has been featured in the Sunday Express newspaper and also in Channel 4's 'Four in a Bed' as well as being used for weddings at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu where it has been a major attraction.
Chris Evans acquired the car directly from its creator circa January 2012, since when it has been made road legal by Joe Macari. It is registered as a 1936 Ford and has been used extensively by Chris on his popular CarFest events.
As promotional vehicles go there can be few, if any, more instantly recognisable than this exact replica of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which has been faithfully re-created with the assistance of many of those responsible for the original nearly 50 years ago. Priced at a mere fraction of the £1 million selling price of an original film car, it also represents an exceptional value for money purchase and an excellent marketing opportunity with an annual earnings potential of many tens of thousands of pounds.