“BUT SOME MOTOR-CARS… ARE DIFFERENT”: RARE FIRST EDITIONS OF FLEMING’S CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG ADVENTURES
FLEMING, Ian. Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car. Illustrated by John Burningham. Adventure 1. WITH: Adventure 2. WITH: Adventure 3. London: Jonathan Cape, 1964-65. Together, three volumes. Octavo, original pictorial boards and endpapers, original dust jackets. $3200.
Rare first editions of Fleming’s wonderfully illustrated modern children’s classic.
"Known primarily for having written about a certain secret agent, Fleming's name is not one which springs readily to the mind when thinking about children's books, but the trilogy that he wrote (inspired by his passion for vintage motor cars) has had a lasting impact… First editions are very elusive because Fleming is one of the half-dozen most collected authors in the field of modern first editions" (Connolly, 120). The "magical car" of the title could put even 007's gadget-laden Aston Martin to shame: Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang can fly, turn itself into a hovercraft and capture criminals. The author "managed to inject some of his fantasy self into Commander Pott, the head of the family, who advised his children, 'Never say "no" to adventures. Always say "yes," otherwise you'll lead a very dull life… Like most of Ian's characters, Chitty was essentially a composite of two cars Ian had known—his own breezy Standard which he had driven in Switzerland in the late 1920s (and had memorably crashed into a train), and a more traditional vintage sports car of the same name" (Lycett, 386). Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay for the 1968 film adaptation, which starred Dick Van Dyke. The third volume preceded by the first American edition, which contained all three volumes in one, published by Random House in 1964. Gift inscription in Volume II; owner signatures in Volumes II and III. Evidence of removal of bookseller ticket in Volume I.
Interiors fine. Light soiling and rubbing to extremities of Volume I; bindings of Volumes II and III fine. Some wear to extremities of bright dust jackets; Volumes I and II dust jackets price-clipped, tape repairs to verso of Volume II dust jacket. A handsome trio in extremely good condition.