Herbie The Love Bug Drag Racing Barona Drag Strip 6-3-2012
charger steve's movie car drag racing grand national watch as herbie
becomes the movie car champion Herbie is an anthropomorphic 1963 Volkswagen
Beetle, a character that is featured in several Disney motion pictures
starting with the 1968 feature film The Love Bug. He has a mind of his own
and is capable of driving himself, and is a serious contender in auto
racing competitions. Throughout most of the franchise, Herbie is
distinguished by red, white and blue racing stripes from front to back
bumper, a racing-style number "53" on the front trunk lid, doors, and
engine lid, and a yellow-on-black '63 California license plate that says,
"OFP 857". One exception to this is his introduction in The Love Bug, where
he initially appears as a nondescript white vehicle with a gray colored
fabric sunroof (a.k.a. "ragtop"), the style of sunroof offered on VW
Beetles made through 1963.
Herbie's origins are established in The Love Bug, wherein Herbie was bought
from Peter Thorndyke's showroom by San Francisco socialite Mrs. Van Luit
for her upstairs maid, but returned shortly afterward and purchased by
race-driver Jim Douglas (Dean Jones), who had earlier stood up for him
against the pompous Thordyke. Tennessee Steinmetz, Jim's friend and
roommate, names the car "Herbie" after his uncle Herb.
In Herbie Rides Again, after several successful races with Herbie, Douglas
enters foreign racing circuits, while his sidekick Tennessee is residing in
Tibet to help his ailing instructor. Before Tennessee departs, he leaves
Herbie in the care of his great-aunt, the widowed Mrs. Steinmetz (Helen
By Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Douglas enters Herbie in the Trans-France
Race and recruits mechanic friend Wheeley Applegate (Don Knotts) to assist,
after Herbie falls in love with a Lancia Scorpion named Giselle and Douglas
with her driver Diane Darcy (Julie Sommars). Herbie also finds himself in
the wrong place at the wrong time when the stolen Etoile de Joie diamond is
hidden in his gas tank.
In Herbie Goes Bananas, Douglas has retired from racing after the Monte
Carlo race and leaves Herbie to his nephew, Pete Stancheck (Stephen W.
Burns), who plans to enter Herbie in the Brazil Grand Primeo race. In the
interim, Herbie befriends an orphan named Paco, with whom he wreaks havoc
onboard cruise ship the Sun Princess, prompting the overzealous Captain
Blythe (Harvey Korman) to force Herbie to "walk the plank". Having fallen
into the ocean, Herbie is rescued by Paco and disguised as a taxi, later to
stop a gang of con artists from stealing ancient Inca gold. Early in their
partnership, Paco gives Herbie the nickname "Ocho", the Spanish word for
the number 8; purportedly because the digits 5 and 3 in Herbie's racing
number, 53, were combined to produce '8' (5+3 = 8) and possibly to rhyme
with "Vocho", the Beetle's name in Mexico.
After the Mexico debacle, Douglas takes Herbie and opens a driving school
in Herbie the Matchmaker.
Hank Cooper (Bruce Campbell) becomes the owner of Herbie in the 1997
made-for-television movie The Love Bug, wherein Herbie's designer, an
elderly German engineer named Dr. Gustav Stumgel, designed him as a "living
machine"; but was forced to build an evil Volkswagen counterpart to Herbie,
"Horace the Hate Bug," responsible for killing the true Herbie at one point
in the film. Horace is of course painted monochrome black, with louvered
windows, contributing to his "evil" look. Cooper then buries Herbie; but
the return of Jim Douglas sets Cooper to rebuild the fallen Love Bug (with
the help of repentant Dr. Stumgel) and have him race against evil
doppelganger Horace. In this race, Herbie ultimately divides himself in
half (as in the original film) to win the race.