A rare 1912 Austro-Daimler 27/80 Prince Henry that starred as Lord Scrumptious’ chauffeur-driven car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is to go on show at Beaulieu.
The Prince Henry joins an original screen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Humber 8hp driven by Truly Scrumptious, original Child Catcher carriage, the film’s inventive machines created by Rowland Emett, a replica Grandpa Potts’ hut, original artwork and memorabilia in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 years at the National Motor Museum.
The Austro-Daimler is one of just four known surviving examples of a model known as one of the world’s first sports cars – and its off-screen story is as astonishing as its on-screen exploits in the much-loved musical film.
Only about 50 of the exclusive Austro-Daimler 27/80 Prince Henry were built and this car has been in the same family for more than six decades. The current keeper’s grandfather, vintage and veteran car dealer Cecil Bendall, bought it for £310 in 1956 from the estate of Herbert Whitley who founded Paignton Zoo. Bendall restored the car before using it to compete in numerous Veteran Car Club rallies and Vintage Sports-Car Club motorsport events, and often provided historic vehicles for filming.
The car starred as the transport of Lord Scrumptious and was driven by spies during the kidnap of Grandpa Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was released in 1968. By a decade later, its sophisticated 5.7 litre engine was in need of a rebuild and Bendall later hoped to drive it in the Land’s End to John O’Groats Trial but sadly passed away before the project could be completed. His grandson Tristan Jensen has since picked up the baton, with the goal of getting this impressive machine back in action to drive in historic motoring events once again.
Tristan said: “A busy life, family and many cars are slowing down the progress. However, all of the new parts have now been made and the engine just requires assembly. I am planning to enter events again in 2020.”
After many years off the road, the Prince Henry has been dusted down to join Beaulieu’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 years exhibition from Easter and will remain on display until the exhibition concludes in November.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 years can be seen as part of the general admission to Beaulieu.