Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was created by the author Ian Flemming, from the book of the same name. Flemming also wrote the James Bond novels. Fleming said that his inspiration for the car was the racing cars by Count Louis Zborowski in the 1920s. The name of the car derived from the spluttering sound made by the engine of the car.
Six different versions of the car were made for the film which went into production in 1967. The car was designed by the producer and many artists who all took inspiration from the classic novel. The engine used in the car was a Ford 3000 V6. Dick Van Dyke who starred in the movie has been noted as saying that the car was very difficult to drive and was made for its aesthetic beauty rather than its drivability. One roadworthy version of the car which was made for the film only appeared in the movie for six seconds.
All of the cars have since been sold to private owners, some are on display at museums around the world, while others are not able to be seen by the public. Due to the popularity of the film and its prominence in popular culture, many replicas of the car have been produced over the years.
Special versions of the car were built for both the US and UK stage productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The UK car is in the Guinness book of records for being the most expensive prop ever made for theatre, costing staggering three-quarters of a million pounds. The car in the stage production is famed for flying out over the audience.