That Mystery 'Chitty'

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Put a query in Motor Sport and you often get a reply. Maurice Jennings of SAS Motor Sport in Billingham, Cleveland, has written to pass on the recollections of Mr Andy Skipp concerning the mystery ‘Chitty’ (not a Count Zborowski Chitty) at the Efficiency Garage coincidentally Mr Jennings did his apprenticeship at a garage on the same site. Mr Skipp, now in his eighties, remembers the car coming into the garage when he was working there some 64 years ago. He is sure it was the car we illustrated, as he remembers the radiator cowl, which they called the air-scoop. It came off when the garage foreman was having a ride (not surprising if one studies the fastenings in the pictures) and flew overhead, nearly taking someone’s head off:

Mr Skipp says the car was chaindriven, with spare sprockets kept in the boot, and he remembers that rumour suggested the engine was a Berliet. The suggestion that it had come from a Zeppelin shot down over Lincolnshire reflects a false one circulating about the real Chitty 1. He thinks the engine may have been a V8, and recalls that it “had more copper and brass about it than a domestic heating system”.

When the car was driven away, it was, he thinks, either going to the Leicester depot or to a breaker’s. The short film of this giant car was made to publicise the garage and may still exist somewhere in Leicester.