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Chitty Bang Bang (aka Babs)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 2,579

    Jive-Bomber
    MODERATOR
    from Moraga, Ca

  2. koth
    Joined: Apr 30, 2007
    Posts: 161

    koth
    Member

    Great story, thanks for sharing it. I just keep thinking about the chain drive and going 170mph... Cahones!!!
     
  3. Bad Bob
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 23,771

    Bad Bob
    Member
    from O.C. Baby

    170mph......chain drive! That's just crazy!!! Great read,Jive...
     
  4. crosleykook
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 186

    crosleykook
    Member
    from sackamento

    Great story- I'd never heard that one. Funny, after all those years under the damp sand it still looked better than that Belvedere they unearthed in Tulsa.
     
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  5. Cymro
    Joined: Jul 1, 2008
    Posts: 636

    Cymro
    Member

    Babs was dug up from Pendyne Sands and restored during the 1970's and early 1980's by Owen Wyn Owen, now retired, then an engineering lecturer at the Gwynedd Technical College, North Wales.

    They were a familiar sight at most of the local Vintage Rallies, quite often as just a bare chassis engine before the body was finished.


    Mr Owen is a great guy and a wealth of information on vintage racing machinery, he and his son used to campaign a JAP engined Austin 7 in vintage hillclimb/ racing events, so who says bike engines in cars are new?

    I used to attend that college in the early 80's as a day release student and although I was never one of his students he was always willing to talk about the progress made on his beloved BABS project.

    Babs in motion is an awesome sight and sound.

    Some clips of Babs are available on You Tube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekiAsPfyr3k&feature=fvsr

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3jcwb_l9OI&feature=related

    Babs is now displayed at the Pendyne Museum in South Wales, and here is a link to the original builder, J G Parry Thomas.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._G._Parry-Thomas
     
  6. Cymro
    Joined: Jul 1, 2008
    Posts: 636

    Cymro
    Member

    Babs was dug up from Pendyne Sands and restored during the 1970's and early 1980's by Owen Wyn Owen, now retired, then an engineering lecturer at the Gwynedd Technical College, North Wales.

    They were a familiar sight at most of the local Vintage Rallies, quite often as just a bare chassis engine before the body was finished.


    Mr Owen is a great guy and a wealth of information on vintage racing machinery, he and his son used to campaign a JAP engined Austin 7 in vintage hillclimb/ racing events, so who says bike engines in cars are new?

    I used to attend that college in the early 80's as a day release student and although I was never one of his students he was always willing to talk about the progress made on his beloved BABS project.

    Babs in motion is an awesome sight and sound.

    Some clips of Babs are available on You Tube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekiAsPfyr3k&feature=fvsr

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3jcwb_l9OI&feature=related

    Babs is now displayed at the Pendyne Museum in South Wales, and here is a link to the original builder, J G Parry Thomas.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._G._Parry-Thomas
     
  7. Cymro
    Joined: Jul 1, 2008
    Posts: 636

    Cymro
    Member

    Sorry about the double posting, don't know what happened there.
     
  8. Cymro
    Joined: Jul 1, 2008
    Posts: 636

    Cymro
    Member

  9. HotRodDean
    Joined: Jan 11, 2007
    Posts: 233

    HotRodDean
    Member

    I remember going to North Wales many years ago and spotting a '29 Bentley on a cottage drive..we stopped for a look see, when this fella came out and said we could take a look arround...couldnt believe my eyes when he opened his garage and there was 'Babs', The fella was Owen Wyn Owen. He restored the car and told us he loved to haul the car out onto the road (public road) very early in the morning and have a blast up and down, very nice guy, he also had about seven Austin 7's in his garage too...great fella!
     
  10. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,279

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Love the sound of it, Can't imagine holding the throttle open at 170+ ... in the sand
     
  11. jguff
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 123

    jguff
    Member

    The pictures don't show any indication of a need to lean over to see. The drivers are looking straight ahead. Lack of a rollbar could lead to severe head injuries if he flipped it due to a broken wheel. Plenty of fast motorcycles run at Bonneville with chain drive.

    Jerome
     
  12. vegas
    Joined: Feb 6, 2008
    Posts: 269

    vegas
    Member

    Awesome story. I can't believe it was still that intact, and that nobody else dug it up and pilfered parts off it prior to it being brought out of the sand. I would love to see more pics of the recovery of it.
     
  13. gasser300
    Joined: May 25, 2010
    Posts: 487

    gasser300
    Member
    from Ft Worth

    Love the HAMB

    Keep this kinda stuff coming, please.
     
  14. HotRodDean
    Joined: Jan 11, 2007
    Posts: 233

    HotRodDean
    Member

    I was told he was leaning out the side to see because of the sand and spray being kicked up over the aero-screen
     
  15. HotRodDean
    Joined: Jan 11, 2007
    Posts: 233

    HotRodDean
    Member

    Here are a couple of pics from the recovery, you can see the intact chain on the left, but no chain on the right...
     

    Attached Files:

  16. model.A.keith
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 6,247

    model.A.keith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I posted this on the 'who are your Land Speed racing heroes' thread thought it deserved to be seen again..........


    John Godfrey Parry Thomas - BABS

    The car was originally built in 1923 by Count Louis Zborowski as the fourth of his Aero engined Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang cars. Being the last and the largest he named it the Higham Special.
    The car was named 'Babs' and after carrying out a considerable amount of work he took it to Pendine for a crack at the landspeed record. This was in October 1925 but the weather precluded any chance of a record breaking run. To cap it all Henry Segrave posted a speed of 152.33 mph. In April 1926 Babs was transported back to Pendine at Shell-Mex's expense for another attempt. After a couple of warm-up runs Parry-Thomas achieved a speed of 169.30. A day later he pushed the record over the 170 mph mark. <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com[​IMG]</st1:City>Campbell was among those who sportingly congratulated Parry-Thomas and, in the nature of the challenge, he prepared his own car for another attempt on the record. In January 1927 he achieved a top speed of 174.883 mph.
    As the competition for the record increased Parry-Thomas wanted another crack at it; he knew Henry Segrave was to attempt a run for 200 mph, i<st1:State w:st="on">n Florida</st1:State>. He arrived back in Pendine, unwell with 'Flu', in March 1927 and with the assistance of Shell and Dunlop staff began to prepare the car for a run on the beach. After the usual start and warm up procedures had been followed he set off up the beach on a timed run. The car skidded, turned over and over and then slewed round to face the sea. The scene for those first to arrive was not pretty, Parry-Thomas was still in the car, partially decapitated and burned. the car was on fire and in order to retrieve the body from the blazing wreck two of Parry-Thomas's crew had the unpleasant task of breaking the legs of the corpse before the fire prevented them reaching it. The car was buried in a big hole on the beach and that was thought to be the end of the story.
    [​IMG]<O:p></O:p>
    However, in March 1969, 42 years after the car was buried, the car was dug up by Owen Wyn Owen, a <st1:placeName w:st="on">Technical</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">College</st1:placeType> lecturer for North Wales. Having restored other cars he thought it would be nice to get some pieces of the car to display in a museum as a tribute to Thomas. The car was, however, more complete than imagined, but was badly damaged as a result of the accident and 42 years of salt water had corroded all the aluminium. The car is now restored and on display at Pendine.
    [​IMG]<O:p></O:p>
    [​IMG]
     
  17. It is a great story! Good input from those of you that share.

    Maybe poor Parry-Thomas did what I did, many a time, when I was a kid, on my bike. GOT HIS PANTLEG CAUGHT IN THE CHAIN!:eek: I caution a racing friend of mine of that very same problem. And, that he should get one of those pants clips, or roll up the cuff. He's got a chain driven Frazier-Nash.

    Seriously, it backs up one of the things I'd often lecture a co-pilot: "Son, ya put 'nuf power and speed on anything (like a barn door); it'll fly":rolleyes:
     
  18. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,492

    flamingokid
    Member

    Thank God he dug her up and restored it.It seems a pity to let something go to waste.
     
  19. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 2,579

    Jive-Bomber
    MODERATOR
    from Moraga, Ca

  20. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,983

    hugh m
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from ct.

    There was also a great link on here about Donald Campbell's bluebird boat that was retrieved from the bottom of a lake (along with Mr. Campbell's remains). It is also getting a restoration.
     
  21. Firepower71
    Joined: Nov 22, 2010
    Posts: 141

    Firepower71
    Member
    from Atlanta

    Love learning about automotive history here on the Journal. Thanks Jive-Bomber!
     
  22. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 17,830

    The37Kid
    Member

    Another great post Jive-Bomber, its always great to reread a story like this knowing that many young HAMB members are learning about auto history for the first time.
     
  23. chicagoboy
    Joined: Sep 8, 2010
    Posts: 4

    chicagoboy
    Member
    from uk

    Inspiring story of one of the great inter war heroes. I saw Babs at the Brooklands Museum only last Sunday. Brooklands has a small but interesting collection of land speed record memorabilia. Malcolm Campbell sold cars there in the 20's & 30's. Babs has also appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where I think some of the photos on the original post were taken.
     
  24. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 5,483

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    I've read the story and looked at the same 20ish pictures many times as I really get off on the old Aero-engine LSR and Goodwood cars.
    Is it possible that this incredible and historic car was stripped and totally rebuilt to running condition and NO pictures of the teardown or rebuild were taken?

    This is like a huge tease......
     
  25. model.A.keith
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 6,247

    model.A.keith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER


    your right very little info seems to be out there i did find this...................


    [​IMG]
     
  26. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 17,830

    The37Kid
    Member

    There was a feature on the BABS restoration in Automobile magazine, a U.K. publication I believe around the time it was being rebuilt. The thing I remember is the fact that another Liberty engine was placed in the chassis, the original was too far gone to rebuild.
     

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