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Behind the scenes: creating the flying Ford Anglia

How do you make a car fly? If you’re Arthur Weasley, you enchant a Muggle vehicle. If only it were that easy for movie directors...

Ford Anglia leaving King's Cross station
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Alas, the filmmakers behind Chamber of Secrets had to find another way.

The light blue car (license number 7990 TD) that appears in the second film was an authentic 1962 Ford Anglia 105E, built in Ford’s factory in the United Kingdom. Special effects supervisor John Richardson took out the engine and gutted the vehicle to make it lighter, and then fitted it onto a rotating crane with a special joint called a gimbal head.

This let the filmmakers rotate, pitch, and roll the car backward and forward. They then fit the gimbal head onto the back of an American pickup truck with specially adapted suspension and outriggers so that they could create all kinds of flying effects while on the move.

The Ford Anglia made the Muggle news when, in 2005, the press reported that the car had been stolen from a film studio and found in a ruined castle in Cornwall. In fact, the car reported stolen was just one of many prop cars used in the making of the film.

‘We had 16 different Anglias,’ reveals John, ‘all of which were differently adapted.’

Some of them were cut in half to allow for filming inside, others had racing engines for high-speed driving, and others were in various stages of being smashed for the scene where the car crashes into the Whomping Willow. According to John, the special effects team also built ‘wild’ cars that had been running around in the Forbidden Forest for a year.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

‘Harry Potter Film Wizardry'

Extracted from
‘Harry Potter: Film Wizardry'