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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a book for children by Ian Fleming, which was made into a film in 1968 with a script by Roald Dahl.

A stage show based on the book and movie was launched at the London Palladium theatre in 2002. Despite some initial problems with the mechanical flying Chitty used in the show, it has enjoyed a very successful run.


Caractacus Potts is an inventor who renovates an old car which was previously three times a Grand Prix winner, but had fallen in to disrepair.

After repairing the car, the Potts family, along with Truly Scrumptious, head off to the beach for a picnic. There, Caractacus confabulates upon a story of pirates who are trying to steal Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which becomes the central plot.

The pirates are headed by Baron Bomburst of Bulgaria, who captures Grandfather Potts, takes him as hostage and is chased by the Potts family.


The film was made by the same production team who made the James Bond films, which were also based on Fleming's novels.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang takes its name from a pair of celebrated racing cars built and raced by Louis Zboroswki and his engineer Clive Gallop, in the 1920s.

Chitty 1 was a chain-driven customised Mercedes chassis containing a 23 litre 6 cylinder Maybach aero-engine. It won two races at its debut at Brooklands in 1921, coming second to another Zboroswki car in a sprint race at the same event. Chitty 1 was fitted with four seats and a crude, over-sized exhaust-pipe, in order to misguide the handicappers and spectators. Its top speed on the day was 100.75 miles per hour.

For its next outing, Chitty 1 was refitted, as a two-seater with a cowled radiator and a properly plumbed exhaust. It attained nearly 120mph on one occasion, and had its race handicap consistently reappraised. It subsequently crashed, removing three fingers from a timing official. The car was rebuilt, and passed into the ownership of the sons of Arthur Conan Doyle, but was pretty quickly retired as a race car, and was later butchered for spare parts.

Chitty 2 had a shorter wheelbase, and an 18.8 litre Benz BZ IV aero-engine. It was never as successful as its predecessor, but took part in several road races, including a Sahara Desert expedition in 1922. It later became the property of the Western Reserve Historical Society, of Cleveland, Ohio and is currently displayed at the National Motor Museum in England.