Why you can trust Jerry
Jerry partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more baout how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference out data methodology, or view a list of our partners
With self-driving cars on the roads these days, the notion of a car with a mind of its own doesn't feel fantastical. However, back in the 1960s, it would have been the height of whimsy. The creators of The Love Bug certainly thought so.
The movie became a beloved classic, and the titular VW Beetle, Herbie, became a star in its own right. It never got as pricey as James Bond's cars, but the tale of an underdog and his sentient car is well-remembered for a reason.
History of Herbie, a sentient 1963 Volkswagen Beetle
Alt-Driver sums up the 1968 movie pretty well. Jim Douglas, played by Dean Jones, is down on his luck. He runs into a slimy car dealer, and he gets a beat-up and rusted Volkswagen Beetle from him.
Jim fixes the car and cleans it up, revealing the pearl white VW Bug, Herbie. Jim, his love interest, and his buddies realize Herbie acts like it’s alive and has its own personality. They decide to enter the car in a race.
They get the VW Bug race-ready, and both the man and car grow as characters. Herbie wins the big, important contest. The slimy car dealer loses a lot of money and gets his comeuppance.
The movie sequels
This was a Disney production that was filmed mostly at various California race tracks. It was a huge hit at the box office, and that inspired sequels.
There was Herbie Rides Again, which came out in 1974. There were also Herbie Goes Bananas and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.
In these sequels, Herbie does everything from getting a girlfriend named Lancia to finding an evil twin named Horace. The plot of Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo involves stolen diamonds.
One sequel was Herbie Fully Loaded, which starred Lindsay Lohan. This movie is about Herbie making Lohan a NASCAR star after the car has picked her as its next owner. Of course, it still has its number 53 decal and racing stripes when it takes on NASCAR.
How did Herbie's look change?
The original Herbie had its number decal chosen from someone's favorite LA Dodger player. It also had a red and light blue stripe. Later models got a darker blue stripe and the number decal moved around.
The Disney company had to make many versions of Herbie for each movie. Some of them were outfitted for tricks such as squirting oil, splitting in two, and popping wheelies.
Herbie's gas plate had to move for Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo for the sake of the plot, and other small adjustments were made to its appearance between movies.
In Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, the sunroof was made a shade darker and got GT radial tires. They also changed the blue stripe to black for that movie. A metal VW emblem was added to the car. The basic model's exterior remained the same though.
All of these Herbies have found homes since their star turn. One went to the main actor in the original The Love Bug movie. Another is at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Herbie's license plate, OFP 857, has its own fan club and Disney's Hollywood Studios have trotted the car out for regular appearances. This included Disneyland's 50th-anniversary commercial.
It would take some research to figure out what car insurance sentient cars need, but Jerry makes it easy to save money on your regular car. A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding cheap quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even help you cancel your old policy.