Thursday, March 31, 2016

NYIAS 2016: It's a Car! It's a Plane (in Your Dreams)! It's a 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' Replica!!!

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica Car has a place of pride at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. Photo by Sylvain Ricard, Les Éditions SMG.

Half shafts, knock sensor, pent-roof, planetary gears, sump, torque, viscous coupling , yaw … It’s mostly Greek to some of us, which is why when we visit the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) – as was the case on Wednesday and Thursday (23 and 24 March) during the Media Preview Days – we do not concern ourselves with the latest technological advances, bells and whistles, add-ons and whatnots. Instead, we roam the cavernous confines of the Javits Center to see what niftiness we encounter. This year, we discovered it mostly in the virtual reality realm and will bring said niftiness to your attention over the next few days, including today's finale. Should you visit the NYIAS, do have a look. The show is open to the public through 3 April.


is a showstopper. Pass through the tunnel en route to the North Hall of the Javits Center and prepare to halt and gawk.

Sitting as pretty as you please on the red carpet at the 2016 New York International Auto Show behind a barrier beyond the reach of the pawing public is a thing of beauty. Worthy of a museum. Songs. A technicolor film.

Wait. That's been done, at least for the original, not for this comely doppelganger, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica Car (CCBBRC).

Creator Tony Garofalo, a huge fan of the iconic 1968 film,"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," spent five-plus years, dating to June 2015 and more than $100,000 lovingly, meticulously and painstakingly restoring scrapheap detritus into the sleek, shining specimen making its auto show debut.

The backseat of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica Car is made from the hull of a boat. Photo from NYChitty Website.

Like the original, CCBBRC has a 1928 Model A Ford engine. It is also built on an original 1914 Overland Model 79 Automobile.

Incidentally, the original car, owned at the time by "Top Gear" host Chris Evans, sold for around $800,000 last August at a Los Angeles auction of Hollywood memorabilia.

Car and maker: The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica Car and Tony Garofalo on the red carpet at the car show. Photo from NYChitty Website.

Do note that this automobile is not merely a pretty combination of brass, stainless steel, copper and wood, it is road-worthy. It is registered with the New York DMV. It can achieve a maximum speed of 65 m.p.h. Getting married? Strike a deal and you can arrive at the church in old style.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica Car has a top speed of 65 m.p.h. Photo from NYChitty Website.

Dick Van Dyke is the car's creator and inventor Caractacus Potts in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." TG has an interesting background, too. Not only does he restore cars, he is a retired NYPD police officer. Further, the Long Island resident is a 911 responder. And a musician.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica Car was five-plus years in the making. Photo from NYChitty Website.

He has been cast as John Lennon in the Beatlemania touring company. In Strawberry Fields, his Beatles tribute band, he assumes the role of JL. What a character!

One question remains about CCBBRC, however. Does it fly?

A 1928 Model A Ford engine allows the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Replica Car to produce the same sound as the one in the 1968 film. Photo from NYChitty Website.

"As high as your dreams can reach."

Visit to learn more about the 2016 New York International Auto Show; visit to learn more about the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.

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