Herbie, the world's most famous Beetle

The Herbie is far from being the most remarkable car in the history of cinema, but it is certainly the most famous Beetle in the world, and that's thanks to the movies.

The first in the series, "If My Beetle Could Talk", was released in 1969, followed by "The New Adventures of the Beetle" (1974), "A Beetle in Monte Carlo" (1977), "The Beetle's Last Crusade" (1980), the remake of "If My Beetle Could Talk" (1997), and, finally, "My Turbinado Beetle" (2005), starring actress Lindsay Lohan.

Various vehicles were used throughout the films for the recordings, something that was always facilitated by the low cost of the car for the production. The original model is a 1963 Beetle Deluxe Sunroof Sedan, but different models and engines were used for the filming of the movies. Discrete physical changes were also made from film to film.

Characterized by the pearl color, the red and blue stripes and the number 53 on the hood, doors and rear, Herbie got this kit from the ideas of producer Bill Walsh, who worked for Disney and produced, among other things, the hit "Mary Poppins".

The 53 was chosen because it was the number that the Los Angeles Dodgers' baseball player Don Drysdale carried on his back. The colors of the stripes, present in the American flag, were thought to give the car a patriotic air according to Walsh. The license plate is also characteristic: OFP 857, from California.

Herbie, a little Beetle with a life of his own, has even fallen in love in the series. In "A Beetle in Monte Carlo" he falls in love with a Lancia Scorpion named Giselle, while in the last film, "My Turbine Beetle", he is enchanted by a New Beetle.

More than 100 Beetles were used for filming, events, and promotional activities, but only about 50 are still active, and only four from the first film have survived. At an auction this year, a Herbie used in the filming of "Monte Carlo" and "The Beetle's Last Crusade" sold for $126,500, joining the hall of the 50 most expensive film cars sold at auction to date.

Scroll to top