Warbirds and Wheels to display winged wonder — Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

7 February, 2015

Even though we’re in the futuristic year of 2015, any mention of flying cars is still more likely to bring to mind memories of a certain childhood movie, rather than any winged automobile available off a showroom floor.

That car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, will be on display at Wanaka’s Warbirds and Wheels museum for the month of April, on loan from its owner, Sir Peter Jackson. During the month, Warbirds & Wheels will raise funds for the Upper Clutha Children’s Medical Trust, a local charity assisting sick children and their families.

The Warbirds and Wheel exhibit will be the first time the car has been on display for such a time period. Originally owned by Pierre Picton of the UK, the car was bought by Sir Peter Jackson in 2011, before he shipped it to New Zealand.

Though there were several Chitty Chitty Bang Bang cars made for the 1968 movie, only one of them actually worked — this is that car, known as GEN11.

GEN11 was designed by Ken Adam and built by the Ford Racing Team. It is powered by a Ford three-litre V6 engine and has a dashboard plate from a British World War I fighter plane.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was completed in 1967 and registered with the number plate GEN11, given to her by Ian Fleming, who wrote the novel the film was based on. The registration spells the Latin word ‘genii’, meaning magical person or being.

The exhibit coincides with the Easter school holidays, making it a perfect event for the family. There will be many exciting and interactive ways for locals and visitors to get up close with Chitty during the month, including an artist-in-residence week, movie showings, dress-up ‘cars over coffee’ day, kids colouring competition, as well as movie memorabilia for sale. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be on display from April 1–30, and the museum is open seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.