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Dude Builds Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car

from The New York Times

Sgt. Pepper Builds a Real-Life Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Long Island


Tony Garofalo at home on Long Island with his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He built it as a tribute to his mother, with whom he saw the film premiere in 1968. Credit: Heather Walsh for The New York Times

It is a well-known story: A quirky tinkerer rolls a rusted old car into his workshop, casts around for some parts, and emerges — honk, honk! — with a magical motorcar.

Yes, that’s the famous plot of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” but it is also the story of Tony Garofalo, 51, a retired New York City Police Department sergeant who has made his own version of the famous car whipped up by Caractacus Potts, the quirky inventor played by Dick Van Dyke in the popular 1968 British movie.

While Mr. Potts put his fine, four-fendered contraption together in no time in a shop in rural England, Mr. Garofalo tinkered inside the small garage at his Long Island home for five years and spent more than $100,000 set aside for his retirement, he said.

“In the movie, he came out in a few days with a shiny new car,” Mr. Garofalo said. “Well, I found out quickly that that was only a movie. For me, it took a lot of hours, a lot of money and a lot of dreaming.”

Last summer he finally finished transforming a 1914 coupe he found in a New Jersey junkyard into a spit and image of the beloved film car — registered, insured and legal to drive on the street, with seatbelts and valid license plates from 1914.

On Friday, the car will take its most public stage at the entrance of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center as part of the 2016 New York International Auto Show.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on March 18, 2016 by Editor

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