Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about Herbie or the Love Bug films?  Ask!

Q.  How did Herbie's appearance change throughout the movies?
A.  In each of the films Herbie appears slightly different.  To educate you on this, has put together this Herbie Over the Years page.  Enjoy!

Q.  Who wrote the original story?
A.  "The Love Bug" was based on the story "Car, Boy, Girl," written by Gordon Buford in 1961.

Q.  What were Herbie's films and TV shows?
A.  "The Love Bug," 1969. VHS and DVD.*

"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 theme parks.

Q.  What year and model Volkswagen was Herbie?
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.

Q.  What 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 extension.
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 mirrors!
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 from?
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 patriotic theme.

Q.  Who thought of the name "Herbie?"
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 original film?
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 Herbie.

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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