How did Herbie's appearance change throughout the movies?
A. In each of the films Herbie appears
slightly different. To educate you on this, LoveBugFans.com
has put together this Herbie
Over the Years page. Enjoy!
Who wrote the original story?
A. "The Love Bug" was based
on the story "Car, Boy, Girl," written by Gordon Buford in 1961.
What were Herbie's films and TV shows?
A. "The Love Bug," 1969. VHS
"Herbie Rides Again," 1974. VHS and DVD.*
"Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo," 1977. VHS and DVD.*
"Herbie Goes Bananas," 1980. VHS and DVD.*
*The above films also saw limited LaserDisc release in various countries,
and are available as a DVD boxed set internationally with a bonus DVD.
"The Love Bug" TV series, 1982. 5 Episodes. Unreleased.
"The Love Bug" made-for-TV movie, 1997. VHS.
"Herbie: Fully Loaded," 2005. DVD.
Herbie has also appeared in the 1974 Disney On Ice show,
and as a regular cast member in parades and stunt shows in various Disney
Q. What year and model Volkswagen was
A. Herbie was a 1963 Model 117 Deluxe
Sunroof Sedan, but Disney often substituted other VWs and modified them to
resemble 1963 models.
The bodies of 1958-1964 VW Beetles are nearly identical. The large sliding sunroof was discontinued in 1963. Models up to 1966
are easily backdated, although the windows in the Beetle all grew larger in 1965.
However, even newer Beetles can be backdated more easily with the recent
availability of parts made just for this purpose!
Quick list of backdates for U.S. spec. Beetles (others may differ):
1958-1961 (actually, an update); add 1962-1967 style tail lights.
1964-1966; add 1958-1963 style smaller license plate light and front turn signals
with clear lenses.
1967; all of the above + earlier front fenders and headlights.
1968 and up; all of the above + earlier style bumpers and tail lights.
1973 and up; all of the above + earlier back fenders.
Most of these modifications are quite easy to make. 1958-1966 style
decklids can also be added with a little more effort. Because of their
unique front fenders and hoods, avoid a Super Beetle if your goal is a
very accurate Herbie.
Q. How many Herbies were built?
A. Upwards of 100 cars were used in all
the films, parades, ice shows and promotions, but only about 50 known cars
survive today. (And just four from the original film.) Many cars were
destroyed in stunts during filming or simply sold off, repainted, and
lived out their lives as regular VWs.
color is Herbie?
A. Herbie was painted Pearlweiss (Pearl
White), an original 1963 VW color, color code L87. (Note: Pearl White is
the name of the color - the color is not pearlescent.
The exception to this is the pearlescent white paint on the tricked out
street-racer Herbies in "Herbie: Fully Loaded.")
Q. How did Herbie drive himself?
A. In some Herbies, there was an
elaborate system of sprockets and pulleys connected to a second steering
column under the front seat for a rear seat driver. Additionally, there
was a second set of pedal assemblies, clutch cables and a shifter
There have even been at least 2 Herbies built with their bodies mounted
backwards on their chassis'!
Q. What about the interior?
A. Herbie had a matte gray interior to
avoid reflecting the bright camera lights in the first 4 movies.
Everything was gray, including seats and door panels. Most cars also
lacked a headliner.
This is not true in the 1997 remake of "The Love Bug" and
"...Fully Loaded." in which Herbie had a stock interior.
Chrome parts were not painted, but were often dull coated to reduce glare.
Several AM radios were used. Herbie used the stock seats for the first two
films, and sprouted white highback seats in "Monte Carlo" and
"Bananas," which had a screen through the headrests for the
hidden back-seat driver to see through. Many Herbies lack rear-view
We've heard tell from owners of 2 original Herbies that Big Lots'
Battleship Grey Floor Paint (brush applied) and most regular gray spray
primers are spot on matches for the gray interior. Many people that build replicas simply opt for
stock gray components for a stock look that remains true to the character.
Q. Where did the number "53" come
A. Bill Walsh, producer of
"The Love Bug," (and co-producer with Walt of the "Mickey
Mouse Club" and "Davy Crockett" TV series and theatrical
features) came up with the number 53 from baseball player Don Drysdale's
uniform. He also chose the red, white and blue racing stripes for a
Q. Who thought of the name
A. According to Buddy Hackett, the name
"Herbie" came from his Las Vegas ski routine, "Sorry, I
only date guys named Herbie."
Q. Who was Herbie's real driver in the
A. The man who did most of the driving
in "The Love Bug" was veteran stunt driver (since 1933) Carey
Loftin. Loftin had doubled for Robert Mitchum ("Thunder
Road"), Fred Astaire ("On the Beach"), Lee Marvin
("Point Blank"), and posed as the woman who drove madly on the
motorcycle in "The Russians are Coming the Russians are Coming."
For "The Love Bug," he gathered many of the drivers who had
worked in "Grand Prix."
Q. What kind of engine and modifications
did Herbie have?
A. In "The Love Bug," at
least one car was equipped with a Porsche Super 90 engine (Herbie #2 still
survives), and some had modified Transporter engines, with big-bore
cylinders and early Type 3 dual-port heads and dual carbs. The cars
were also equipped with Porsche brakes, KONI shocks and EMPI camber
compensators. In later films, Herbie was often equipped with an
1835cc Volkswagen engine with 2 bbl carb, heavy-duty valve springs,
external oil cooler and deep sump. The cars used in "Herbie
Goes to Monte Carlo" and "Herbie Goes Bananas" often had up
to four shocks per wheel.
"Herbie: Fully Loaded" cars featured a number of different
engines ranging from original 40 horsepower 1200cc engines, to souped up
engines over 2000cc.
Q. What size wheels did Herbie have?
A. "The Love Bug," 15"
stock, and 15" widened to 6".
"Herbie Rides Again," 15" stock.
"Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo," 14" widened to 6".
Goodyear sponsored Radial GT tires.
"Herbie Goes Bananas," 14" widened to 6". Goodyear
sponsored Radial GT tires.
"The Love Bug" TV series, 15" stock.
"The Love Bug" made-for-TV movie, 15" stock.
"Herbie: Fully Loaded," 15" stock, 15" widened to
6", Custom widened chrome, and custom racing wheels build for NASCAR
Q. Where is Dean Jones from?
A. He's a native of Decatur, Ala., and
got his start as a folk singer at Knott's Berry Farm in Anaheim,
California (Home of Disneyland).
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