We’ve previously written about the intersection of film and automobiles, and it continues to be one of our favorite topics. In everyday life, cars can be wonderful, but in the end they’re just transportation. It takes the silver screen to turn them into something more. In movies, cars can be characters.
Thinking back to our childhood, no car had more personality than the one built by Caractacus Pots. It could talk, it could float, it could fly. It was none other than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the main character of the film of the same name. This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the book by Ian Fleming on which that movie is based (Yes, the same Ian Fleming who authored the James Bond books).
In the novel, Fleming’s inspiration for the car came from old grand prix racing cars that were fitted with aircraft engines after the First World War. There were several cars made for the movie, but the “star” was built by Alan Mann Racing out of Hertfordshire, England. It was road-worthy, powered by a Ford 3000 V6 engine and bearing the UK registration GEN 11.
IMCDB tells us the film also featured a number of other classic cars and replicas, mostly of European make. Ms. Truly Scrumptious drove an 8-horsepower 1909 Humber automobile. A 1912 Austro-Daimler 27/80 PS and a 1914 Panhard & Levassor Type X 19 also made appearances in the film.
GEN 11 has the most enduring legacy, though. It went up for auction as recently as 2011, where it went for $805,000 to Sir Peter Jackson of The Lord of the Rings fame. We don’t have much more to add except that if you’ve been able to make it through this blog post without singing the song to yourself, we aim to fix that.