By Dan Howlett @DanHowlett85
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Videographer / Director: Ruaridh Connellan
Producer: Dan Howlett, Nick Johnson
Editor: Kyle Waters
Tony Garofalo became obsessed with the kid’s film when he was just four-years-old and soon began collecting memorabilia.
But in 2010 he decided to take the step of making an exact replica of the iconic vehicle and spent thousands of hours over five years creating his masterpiece.
Tony, who lives in Long Island, New York, said: “My uncle worked for United Artists and managed to get us tickets to the premiere of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
“I was just four-years-old and felt like my head was spinning.
It was incredible seeing the car on the big screen and they even had a replica parked out front of the theatre.
“Once I was old enough I started to collect memorabilia and even have the original costume worn by Dick Van Dyke in the movie.
“Five years ago I decided to build the car which is my absolute pride and joy – it’s definitely the crowing piece in my collection.
“I watched the movie hundreds of times while I was making it and kept constantly pausing it to make sure I had everything just right.
“I started with a 100-year-old chassis but other than that I’ve fabricated everything else. I’ve created around 95 per cent of this car.”
Tony had to fly to LA twice to view the original car and has spent thousands of hours on the build.
“I have no idea how much the car is worth,” added Tony.
“But I do know that I would never sell it.
“I’ve told my children that I want them to have it when I am gone and if they don’t want it I want them to put it in a museum for other people to see and enjoy.
“For me the car is utterly priceless I love it.”
Amazingly Tony’s girlfriend Deborah Sable has given him her full support throughout the build despite his many absences and late nights working on the vehicle.
Deborah, who works as an attorney, said: “Tony is the kind of guy who commits to something 100 per cent and I would never stand in the way of that.
“The car is utterly incredible and is one of the best things I have ever seen.
“It’s a work of art and I’m so thrilled that he has something which he can really be proud of.”
Unlike the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car from the movie Tony’s custom vehicle is unfortunately unable to fly – although it does have wings.
Tony, who sings in a Beatles tribute act, added: “I guess that’s the only thing that means it not an absolutely exact replica.
“I think if it went into water it would float for a while despite weighing just over a ton because of the woodwork on it.
“I had a boat builder in New York make most of the woodwork which took more than three years but I don’t think I’ll be taking to the skies in it anytime soon.”