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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Fails to Sell at Auction

4:31 PM PDT on May 17, 2011

    The sellers had hoped that the full road-worthy Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, made by Ford Racing in 1968 for the eponymous film would reach at least $1,000,000. However, the bidding never got above $805,000 so the auction closed without a buyer. From the auction description:

    This is the car, nay, character, that has sparked the imaginations of countless children from the 1968 classic based on James Bond author Ian Fleming’s novel. This is the fully-functional road car purpose-built for principal shooting. Production designer Ken Adam stood firm in his belief that if the film was to be about a car, a real car would have to be built—not a mock-up. Along with Rowland Emmett, who had been assigned the task of creating a series of mad inventions to appear in the film, and the Ford racing team headed by Alan Mann, Adam set about building Chitty. No detail was spared in her creation. Built on a custom ladder frame chassis, many old world forms of car building were employed, and modern technology stepped in to create a vehicle which was both accurate enough to fool veteran and classic car experts, when held under the scrutiny of 70mm cinema cameras, and durable enough to withstand everything from driving in sand, cobbled streets and down staircases.

    The bonnet is crafted of polished aluminum; the boat deck is hand-crafted of red and white cedar built by boat builders in Buckinghamshire, and the array of brass fittings were obtained from Edwardian cars. Even the alloy dashboard plate is from a British World War I fighter plane! The car weighs approximately 2 tons and measures 17 ½ feet in length and is powered by a Ford 3 litre V-6 engine mated to an 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 (“GEN 11” had significance in that if you read the number ones as “i’s”, it spelled out the Latin word “Genii” meaning magical person or being). Due to the outlandish capabilities of Chitty, the studio built other non-driving, versions for various stunts including the flying scenes and sea-faring chase. This hero “close-up” car was used in all of the road-driving sequences and is the only car to bear the legitimate “GEN 11” registration plates (the other versions all bore “GEN 11”, but this was purely cosmetic). Chitty has been owned and meticulously maintained by Pierre Picton since the early 1970s. Pierre first became involved with Chitty during filming in England in 1967-68 when he was responsible for maintaining the car during production and for some “double” driving sequences. When filming was completed, Pierre transported and cared for Chitty as she toured promoting the film; a few years later he acquired her from the production company. Chitty remains, to this day, in excellent operational condition. In October of 2010, one of the famous 1964 Aston Martin DB5 cars used in the James Bond film Goldfinger sold for an astounding $4,500,000.

    A truly once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire the most famous and magical car in cinema history.

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