Tuesday, May 17, 2011
This is the original driving car that was used in the film and the final product weighed approximately 2 tons, was 17 feet long, and built on a custom made ladder frame chassis. NO detail was spared in her creation. Many traditional forms of car-building were re-employed, and modern technology stepped in to create a vehicle which was both accurate enough to fool veteran car experts when under the microscope of 70mm cinema cameras and hard-wearing enough to withstand everything from driving in sand to driving on cobbled streets and down stair-cases. The wheels were moulded in alloy to replicate the timber wheels which would have been true to the period. The boat deck was of red and white cedar and built by boat-builders in Windsor, and the array of brass fittings were obtained from Edwardian wrecks. What couldn't be obtained was faithfully and accurately re-created. The alloy dashboard plate was from a British World War I fighter plane. All of this was built around a modern Ford V6 engine with Automatic transmission. 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. The other vehicles all bore GEN11 but this was purely cosmetic. Only "the original" was registered with this plate and used in the road-driving sequences. Because of the high level of detail on the vehicle and the rough treatment it was about to encounter during film-making, a second "near-identical" vehicle was constructed as a stand-in for the more dangerous scenes and was also used for the "in studio" shots. Another "no-brass / no-engine" dummy version was built to be dunked in sea-water, and another slightly different car was also built for trailer work and to be used as a stand in. Both of these are now on display in England. Another light weight fibreglass shell was mounted on two "disguised" speedboats for sequences "at sea" and was actually seaworthy. "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" was a huge popular success, and although it’s profits did not make it a blockbuster - this was due to its overwhelming cost rather than lack of audience. It still remains one of the most watched movies of all time and is regarded as a family classic.