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The 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was based (loosely) on a novel by Ian Fleming, and produced by Albert R. Broccoli. Richard Maibaum is credited for "additional dialog". It features a flying car, with FX created by John Stears.

The 1974 film The Man With The Golden Gun was based (loosely) on a novel by Ian Fleming, and produced by Albert R. Broccoli. Richard Maibaum co-wrote the screenplay. It features a flying car, with FX by John Stears.

Is Scaramanga's car a deliberate reference/ parody? On the one hand, the cars are totally different. I might not have thought there was a connection at all, if it wasn't for the various people in common. And I have never seen any comments on the similarity. For example IMDB does not list it as a connection.

Does anyone know if Broccoli commented on the subject, either confirming or denying it was deliberate? Or the writers Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz?

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  • Thank you for actually providing an interesting question for this site :) Jun 8, 2023 at 14:51

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I haven't found any evidence or references by authors or producer, but attempts at building flying cars have been made for more than 2 decades by the time the movie was made/novel was written. It can be a reference, but hard to prove.

Scaramanga's car (AMC Matador) really looks like the 1971 Mizar. And many writers use up-to-date technologies to catch the audience (even if it's goofy or not working), or they invent it. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case here.

And 007 movies have always showed amazing and beautiful cars with all kind of gadgets/abilities. They can fly, go under water, are full of weapons and do everything your regular car can't. Most of the time, 007 movies wanted to be well ahead of their time. "But also, they often showcased things you actually could buy, but which were so new that most of the viewing audience hadn't heard about it yet."1 A flying car can be a reference, or they picked the idea, but from whom? This, we don't know.

UPDATE: I found later that a fan page references this book:

Scaramanga's flying Matador was based on the real-life AVE Mizar flying-car developed by American aeronautical engineers Henry Smolinski and Harold Blake. Originally slated to appear in The Man with the Golden Gun, plans to use the Mizar were scrapped after both Smolinski and Blake were killed during a test flight on 11th September 1973. Cork, John; Bruce Scivally (20th September 2002). James Bond: The Legacy (in En). Boxtree Ltd, p.156.

  1. Scaramanga AMC

Car from the movie

  1. AVE Mizar

AVE Mizar

  1. Ford Pinto

Flying Ford Pinto

  1. Lotus Esprit

Lotus Esprit

  1. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

1. Courtesy Solomon Slow

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    Re, "Most of the time, 007 movies wanted to be well ahead of their time..." But also, they often showcased things you actually could buy, but which were so new that most of the viewing audience hadn't heard about it yet. I watched "For Your Eyes Only" sitting beside an avid mountaineer & rock climber, and when James Bond placed a friend in a crack on a cliff face, the guy shouted out, "What the hell is THAT?" The Hamilton LED watch in "Live and Let Die" was another such placement. Jun 7, 2023 at 21:47
  • I think the franchise is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) example of product placement.
    – OldPadawan
    Jun 8, 2023 at 2:44
  • May I borrow one sentence to improve the answer? It conveys a little more precisely and in-depth what I wanted to say :)
    – OldPadawan
    Jun 8, 2023 at 6:41
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    Of course, Yes. Jun 8, 2023 at 11:39
  • Photo 3 Ford Pinto is the same vehicle as photo 2 AVE Mizar. The AVE Mizar was a Ford Pinto. Photo 3 appears to be a colorized version of one of the many black & white photos of the AVE Mizar. There are a few color photos showing that it is actually white with black trim, like this one Aug 5, 2023 at 2:07
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It is hard to prove a negative but it is easy to find discussions on the web of the flying car in The Man With The Golden Gun, and I have not seen one that cited it as a reference to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I think the best hypothesis is that the people involved in both the books and the movies liked that sort of thing, and that's why they included them. James Bond movies are full of devices that start out as one thing and change into another. A flying car totally made sense in that world. And it's also something that a gadget-lover like Fleming might put in a kids' book.

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