CHITTY Chitty Bang Bang was an Ian Fleming novel and a 1968 British musical film, but now the fantasmagorical flying machine is in a garage in Berry. Well, a very close copy of it is.
To the children who watched the movie, the magical car had a personality.
To retired coach-maker Mike Ellard, it had most of his attention for the past two years.
“I thought I’d have a go at building Chitty Chitty Bang Bang because I like a challenge,” Mr Ellard said. “To me, building something like a hot rod is a bit common these days.”
Mr Ellard knows his way around cars, having spent most of his working life cutting them in half and transforming them into limousines.
After retiring, Mr Ellard finished most of those jobs around the house and was quickly told by his wife Deidre to get busy on another project.
So he did the most obvious and predictable thing and bought a 1988 Holden Rodeo, put a Holden V6 engine in it and went about converting it into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The bonnet, fenders, grill, brass-work and endless bits and pieces were fabricated in Mr Ellard’s workshop.
Throughout the build he was on the lookout for anything he could modify to help recreate the famous car.
“The brass headlamps at the front were built using four saucepans, frying pans and two wine coolers we had here,” he said.
“Other parts were sourced from around the country and around the world.
“The vintage snake horn came from the US and the badges were from the UK.
“The wheels were made in Melbourne,” Mr Ellard said.
The detail is incredible, right down to the backfire sound the car was well known for.
Mr Ellard achieved this by installing a starter’s pistol in the boot and wiring it up to the boot lid cable.
Now, to be a fantasmagorical car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had to have a few surprises. In the movie flying was one of them.
While Mr Ellard’s replica won’t take to the skies, it can deploy colourful wings at the press of a button.
The car’s debut appearance was in Berry for the National Motoring Heritage Day, where Chitty was the undisputed star attraction.
“I’ve still got a few little things to finish on it but overall I’m very happy with it,” Mr Ellard said.
He said it was hard to find technical detail about the original car so he sketched out plans using photos from the internet and the movie.
Deirdre described a research scene she walked into one day.
“It was hysterical to come home one day and find three grown men, sitting around a TV in the shed watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and taking notes.
“They were pausing it and rewinding and discussing various points, it was funny to see,” she said.
The couple hope to use the car to raise money for charity and bring joy to the young and young at heart.