Friday, October 14, 2016

Finished A Bit Ago

Heh, "My name is Potts. Caractacus Potts."

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car by Ian Fleming

Original Dedication
These stories are affectionately dedicated to the memory of the original CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG, built in 1920 by Count Zborowski on his estate near Canterbury.

She had a pre-1914 war, chain-drive, seventy-five horsepower Mercedes chassis, in which was installed a six-cylinder Maybach aero engine—the military type used by the Germans in their Zeppelins.

Four vertical overhead valves per cylinder were operated by exposed push-rods, and rockers from a camshaft on each side of the crankcase, and two Zenith carburetors were attached, one at each end of a long induction pipe.

She had a gray steel body with an immense polished hood eight feet in length, and weighed over five tons.

In 1921, she won the Hundred M.P.H. Short Handicap at Brooklands at 101 miles per hour, and in 1922, again at Brooklands, the Lightning Short Handicap. But in that year she was involved in an accident* and the Count never raced her again.


*This is a polite way of putting it. In fact, CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG suddenly went mad with rage about something, and with the Count at the wheel, got out of control and charged through the timing-hut, very fast, backwards!
Chitty-Bang-Bang, with radiator cowl attached, at Brooklands

Above photo taken on May 14, 1921, after streamlining had been incorporated into the original build

Count Zborowski was practicing with Chitty-Bang-Bang (his name for the car) at Brooklands in 1922 when a tire blew. He hit the bridge on the Railway Straight just hard enough to spin the car around and shoot it off the track backwards. He smashed into a timing box, demolishing it. The timer dove into a ditch but still lost a couple of fingers as the car passed over him. The riding mechanic was thrown clear while the uninjured Count rode the car to a stop. Despite having the front axle torn off, Chitty-Bang-Bang was rebuilt.

Zborowski—who in 1923 raced a Bugatti at the Indianapolis 500, and a Miller in the Italian Grand Prix—went on to build and campaign two more Chittys. At 29 years-of-age, he had a fourth under construction when he died after hitting a tree during the 1924 Italian Grand Prix while driving a Mercedes for the factory team. It was 21 years after his father had been killed in a Mercedes 60 at the 1903 La Turbie Hill-climb.

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