By Aliki Kraterou
A ‘Chitty chitty bang bang’ superfan followed his dream making his own replica of the famous flying car.
Rob, 52, a professional musician from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, was interested in purchasing the original car when it went up for auction in 2011 but he couldn’t afford it so he decided to build his own version.
The dad–of–one started his mission in 2008 and it took him six years in total to track down and fabricate all the parts to complete the car, which’s value is estimated £200.000.
Rob also needed the help of an engineer so Phil D’Archamdaud was the one who ‘turned his rubbish drawings into a working vehicle’.
Rob said: “I’ve been a life-long Chitty fan of the car, the movie and the musical- have always dreamed I’d own Chitty myself one day.
“It’s still my favourite film, I know the lyrics by heart and I adore the music.
“I spoke to the owner Pierre Picton, he was so charming and said the car would one day soon be up for auction but lacking the money to cover the cost, I decided to build my own.
“He thought it would go for about a million – there was no way I could afford that so I only had one option which was to build my own.
“I took six years to complete and certainly cost six figures to build it, gathering all the parts.
“Chitty presents a particular challenge with the shape of the boat tail, and various special details such as the serpent horn.
“It was a very complicated job but it was worth it and I had a lovely time building it.
“Lots of people start and give up but I was motivated.”
The car that is electric and largely made of fibreglass, is powered by a 48v electric motor, can do 30 MPH fits four people comfortably and although it’s not a road legal vehicle, it has been used in parades, weddings, displays, musical theatre shows and other events.
A lot of maintaining is required and it takes two days to prepare and polish the vehicle before each event.
Rob says that the reaction he gets from people is amazing and he is happy the car brings them joy.
He added: “She transports people instantly to their childhoods-we see tears of happiness so often.
“Everybody becomes a child again, around five years old when they see it.
“She is really loved- I hadn’t realised how important it was for people.
“I think all little boys certainly of my age, wanted a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car at some point and they settled of having a little matchbox or a dinky toy.
“My family all think I’m nuts but they are used to me being ambitious.
“It’s a strange thing, it kind of went from my childhood fantasy, which has been all my life, and now it’s my living- very unexpected. “