Wednesday 20th February 1895
Born on this day, Count Zborowski, who built and a drove a number of celebrated English racing cars in the 1920s. The wealthy son of a Polish Count and Margaret Laura Astor Carey, a heiress to the Astor wealth, Louis Zborowski appeared on the international scene in 1923 racing for Aston Martin at Brooklands and in the 1923 French Grand Prix. He drove a Bugatti in the Indianapolis 500 and there he made a deal to drive an American Miller 122 in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He joined the Mercedes team for the 1924 season but died in one when he hit a tree during the Italian Grand Prix. Zborowski is best remembered for the race cars he built in the stables at Higham Park, assisted by his engineer and co-driver Captain Clive Gallop. who was later racing engineer to the “Bentley Boys”. The first car was powered by a 23,093 cc six-cylinder Maybach aero engine and called “Chitty Bang Bang”. A second “Chitty Bang Bang” was powered by 18,8828 cc Benz aero engine. A third car was based on a Mercedes 28/95, but fitted with a 14,778 cc 6-cylinder Mercedes aero engine and was referred to as the White Mercedes. These cars achieved some success at Brooklands. These cars inspired Ian Fleming to write his novel “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car” on which was the start for the 1968 musical film with a script by Roald Dahl and Ken Hughes. The song “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” was nominated for an Academy Award.