The classic 1960’s film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang appealed to many young children but as a lover of all things mechanical, to a young Tobias it inspired a deeper passion. The annual airing of the film on TV at Christmas was one of the highlights of the year, and the family would come together to watch and sing along. The love of this car ignited the start of a collection, beginning with Matchbox and Lesney Models of Yesteryear and later adding vintage cars alongside a lifelong dream of owning the car.
With some experience of restoring and building cars and engines, initial thoughts of building a chitty came to Tobias in his early twenties. These thoughts stayed over the subsequent years, but finances and available time were the barriers to it becoming a reality. It takes significant funds and lots of time to commit to a project such as this. Detail in the finish, and to complete a genuine 1920’s build was important. This was going to be a stand-alone project, not a direct copy or replica. The car would be inspired by the film, but would represent a restoration of a 1920’s rolling chassis with an all new body.
In 2018 the dream became a possibility; the time was right and funds were available. An appropriate 1924 rolling chassis, and one with a story, was sourced from America. The chassis was shipped back to the UK and converted from left hand drive by removing the axel and rotating 180 degrees. With a perfect 1924 engine already in the workshop, the re build could begin. Keeping to the measurements of the film car the chassis was extended by 2 feet – this would be a large imposing car. With the Studebaker special6 5 litre engine rebuilt like new, it was married to the chassis with the matching 3 speed manual gear box. The overall body design from the film was closely followed during the construction but with some tweaks to improve aesthetics. The attention to detail and authenticity to the 1920’s era can be seen throughout the build. For example, the retention of the genuine wooden artillery wheels; originals for the chassis used, the 1909 electric headlights and the 1909 oil fired sidelights. The braking system is the original ‘2 Wheel only brakes’ with bands on the outside and shoes on the inside. The pedal layout is consistent for the time with accelerator in the middle, brake on the right and clutch on the left. On this chitty the highly polished handmade exhaust system is the actual working exhaust for the vehicle. When the bonnet is opened on this showpiece of a car, a large period 6-cylinder power unit fills the engine bay with the radiator correctly positioned within the radiator surround. The only purposely left un restored part on the car is an original 1913 Cadillac windscreen glass and frame.
The entire project was completed in 4 months, finishing in early 2019. The result is a beautiful large open tourer. The car is registered as FLY 539, depicting its originality, respect for a bygone era and a connection to a magical flying movie car that the little boy dreamt of.
Book our Chitty for your event
If you want to pull the crowds at your event, then our Chitty can certainly deliver. It’s not just about the emotional memories chitty evokes for people, the imposing car gleams and purrs with a distinctive exhaust note attracting all the family including children who want to FLY with us. Importantly, our chitty will also impress car enthusiasts with its genuine period build. We know our industry; we understand vintage restoration and we are enthusiastic about motoring.
We love to share our knowledge, and our beautiful car. Price is upon application and income from Chitty supports a charity close to our heart; the Noonan Syndrome Association. A cause dedicated to supporting people and families affected by Noonan Syndrome and related conditions (on the Ras/MAPK pathway) in the UK.