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.