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Herbie is a 1963' Volkswagen Beetle and the titular character of all installments in the Herbie franchise. The latest being 2005's Herbie: Fully Loaded.
Herbie-love-bug

1968 Model Herbie

The Love BugEdit

In The Love Bug (1968) Herbie is first introduced after Jim Douglas enters Mr. Thorndyke's Car Dealership. It is then explained by Carole Bennett that the VW Bug (not yet named Herbie) was bought by Mrs. Van Luit for her upstairs maid but was returned due to complaints about reliability. Jim left the shop but was unknowingly followed home by Herbie, sparking the police's beliefs that Douglas had stolen the car and that Thorndyke was pressing charges for grand theft. A heated argument between Jim and Thorndyke is settled when Carole persuades Thorndyke to drop the charges if Jim buys the car on a system of monthly payments.

Herbie the love bug part 1

Herbie. Not yet a racecar.

Jim soon finds the little car is prone to going completely out of his control and is led to believe Thorndyke had conned him. However, Jim's friend and housemate Tennessee Steinmetz believes certain inanimate objects have hearts and minds of their own, ultimately befriending the Beetle. It is Tennessee who names the car Herbie after his own Uncle Herb, a boxer whose broken nose greatly resembled the hood of a VW Beetle. Jim's feelings about Herbie are changed when it appears Herbie is trying to bring him and Carole together. Jim also discovers Herbie has incredible speed for a car of his class and model, and enters him into racing, now equipped with his iconic "53" and racing stripes. After watching Jim and Herbie win their first race together, Thorndyke, himself a major force on the local racing scene, offers to cancel the remaining payments Jim owes on Herbie if Jim can win a race that they will both be competing in at Riverside later that month. Jim accepts, and despite Thorndyke's underhanded tactics, he and Herbie take victory. Over the next few months they go on to become the toast of the Californian racing circuit, while Thorndyke suffers increasingly humiliating defeats. Thorndyke finally snaps, and persuades Carole to take Jim out on a date while he sneaks round to Jim's house. After getting Tennessee drunk on his own Irish coffee recipe, Thorndyke proceeds to tip the remainder of the whipped cream into Herbie's gasoline tank. At the following day's race, an apparently hung-over Herbie shudders to a halt and backfires while Thorndyke blasts to victory. However, as the crowd admires Thorndyke's victory, Herbie blows some cream from the coffee out of his exhaust pipe, covering Thorndyke.

That evening, Jim returns home in a brand new Lamborghini 400GT, having agreed to sell Herbie to Thorndyke to pay the remaining installments he owes on it. Jim states he needs a 'real car' for the upcoming El Dorado road race, but finds no sympathy from Tennessee, Carole, or Herbie, who jealously proceeds to smash up the Lamborghini, proving to Jim once and for all he has a mind of his own. By the time Thorndyke arrives to collect Herbie, the Volkswagen is nowhere to be found, and Jim sets off into the night hoping to find Herbie and make amends before the car is seized by Thorndyke's goons. After narrowly escaping being torn apart in Thorndyke's workshop, and a destructive spree through Chinatown, Herbie is about to launch himself off the Golden Gate Bridge when Jim reaches him. In his attempt to stop Herbie from driving off the bridge, Jim himself nearly falls into the water. Herbie pulls Jim back to safety, but then is impounded by the San Francisco Police Department. There, Mr. Wu, (Benson Fong) a Chinese businessman whose store was damaged during Herbie's rampage, demands compensation that Jim can no longer afford. Using the Chinese he learned while in Tibet, Tennessee tries to reason with Wu, and learns that he is a huge racing fan who knows all about Jim and Herbie's exploits. Wu is willing to drop the charges in exchange for becoming Herbie's new owner. Jim agrees to this, as long as Wu allows him to race the car in the El Dorado. If Jim wins, Wu will be able to keep the prize money but has to sell Herbie back for a dollar. Wu replies to this proposal in clear English: 'Now you speak my language!'.

The El Dorado runs through the Sierra Nevada mountains from Yosemite Valley to Virginia City and back. Before the start of the race, Thorndyke persuades Mr. Wu to make a wager with him on its outcome. Thorndyke (with his assistant Havershaw acting as co-driver) pulls every trick in the book to ensure he and his Thorndyke Special are leading at end of the first leg of the race. As a result of Thorndyke's shenanigans, Jim (with Carole and Tennessee as co-drivers) limps home last with Herbie missing two wheels and having to use a wagon wheel to get to the finish line. Despite Tennessee's best efforts, it looks as if Herbie will be unable to start the return leg of the race the following morning. Thorndyke then arrives and claims that this makes him the new owner of the car. Wu regretfully tells Jim of the wager and that in accordance with its terms this is true. Thorndyke, thinking he is Herbie's new owner, gloats to Jim about what he's going to do to Herbie and kicks Herbies front fender, but Herbie then unexpectedly lurches into life and chases Thorndyke from the scene, showing he is more than willing to race on. Thanks to some ingenious shortcuts, Jim is able to make up for lost time in the second leg and is neck and neck with Thorndyke as they approach the finish line. In the ensuing dogfight, Herbie's hastily welded-together body splits in two. The back half of the car (carrying Tennessee and the engine) crosses the line just ahead of Thorndyke, while the front (carrying Jim and Carole) rolls over the line just behind, meaning Herbie takes both first and third place.

In accordance with the terms of the wager, Mr. Wu takes over Thorndyke's car dealership (hiring Tennessee as his assistant), while Thorndyke and Havershaw are relegated to lowly mechanics. Meanwhile, a fully repaired Herbie chauffeurs the newlywed Jim and Carole away on their honeymoon.

Herbie Rides AgainEdit

Ruthless real estate magnate Alonzo Hawk (Keenan Wynn) is pursuing his newest indoor shopping center, the 130-story Hawk Plaza. His only obstacle is an archaic firehouse inhabited by "Grandma" Steinmetz (Helen Hayes), widow of its former owner, Fire Captain Steinmetz, and aunt of mechanic Tennessee Steinmetz who appeared in The Love Bug; her displaced neighbor, flight attendant Nicole Harris (Stefanie Powers); and their sentient machines: Herbie the Love Bug, an orchestrion that chooses its own songs, and a retired cable car known as "Old No. 22". It is explained that Tennessee has gone to Tibet to visit his ailing philosophy teacher, while Herbie's former owner, Jim Douglas, has gone to Europe.
Herbie-Rides-Again-Mrs -Steinmetz

Herbie and Mrs. Steinmetz

Hawk has made numerous attempts at evicting Mrs. Steinmetz, intending to imprison her in a retirement home of his own making; but Hawk's lawyers have been unsuccessful in these attempts, and when his lawyer nephew Willoughby Whitfield (Ken Berry) comes to visit him, Hawk sends him to Mrs. Steinmetz in their stead. Having met the firehouse's inhabitants, Willoughby becomes disillusioned and decides to return home to Missouri. Having lost him, Hawk attempts to capture Herbie; but when Hawk insults him, Herbie causes a series of traffic collisions and discards Hawk at his own office door, where Hawk orders his subordinates to capture Herbie again, followed by a Policeman giving Hawk several tickets for traffic offenses. While Herbie takes Mrs. Steinmetz to market, they are chased by Hawk's men; whereupon Herbie makes several daring escapes culminating in travel through the 1909 landmark Sheraton Palace Hotel and along a suspension cable on the Golden Gate Bridge, leaving Mrs. Steinmetz unaware of his activity throughout.

Willoughby having decided to go home in disguise, he is convinced by Nicole to stay after she hears him criticize his uncle (a ruse for her benefit, the call having disconnected). On their return to the firehouse, they find that every item of furniture has been removed by Hawk; whereupon Mrs. Steinmetz, Willoughby, Nicole, and Herbie track the theft to a warehouse, which they invade to recover the furniture and whence they return, Mrs. Steinmetz riding "No. 22" while Nicole and Willoughby follow in Herbie. Piled into "No. 22" is Steinmetz's furniture, as well as a drunk named Judson (John McIntire), who thinks himself on a public cable car. Hawk pursues; but Herbie distracts him and later rescues Mrs. Steinmetz and Judson from a potential crash.

Hawk thereafter recruits an independent demolition agent named Loostgarten (Chuck McCann); while Mrs Steinmetz decides to confront Hawk herself. Accompanied by Willoughby, she drives Herbie onto the window-cleaning machine of Hawk’s skyscraper to reach his office, where Mrs. Steinmetz overhears a telephoned conversation with Loostgarten about the deal to demolish the firehouse and activates the window cleaning machine to fill the office with foam and water. This done, Herbie pursues Hawk around the building's perimetre until Mrs Steinmetz orders him to desist.

Disguising his voice to resemble his uncle's, Willoughby directs Loostgarten to demolish Hawk's own house. Loostgarten then telephones Hawk to confirm the demolition, waking Hawk from several nightmares showing himself at the mercy of Herbie; whereupon Hawk gives confirmation, but belatedly realizes that he has condemned his own residence and attacks Loostgarten after his house is demolished around him.

In the morning, Hawk calls a truce with Mrs. Steinmetz, and thinking him sincere Willoughby and Nicole go for dinner, while Mrs. Steinmetz invites Judson to a similar meeting; but Hawk violates the truce by sending earthmovers to crush the firehouse and its inhabitants, prompting Herbie to go in search of Nicole and Willoughby. In the absence of Herbie, the only means of defense is an antique Fire hose, which Judson uses against the earthmovers.

Having obtained Nicole and Willoughby, Herbie animates several other Volkswagen Beetles from various places in the city, with whom to frighten Hawk's men and ruin his scheme. Hawk is pursued from the grounds by Herbie, and later captured by the police; and later, Nicole and Willoughby are married, and ride Herbie through an arch formed by the other Volkswagen Beetles.

Herbie Goes To Monte CarloEdit

The film stars Dean Jones as returning champion race car driver Jim Douglas, joined by his somewhat cynical and eccentric riding mechanic Wheely Applegate (Don Knotts). Together with Herbie, the "Love Bug", a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, they are participating in the fictional Trans-France Race, from Paris, France, to Monte Carlo, Monaco. According to dialogue, they hope to stage a racing comeback in the event. For the Trans-France Race, Douglas and Herbie have three major opponents:

Bruno von Stickle (Eric Braeden): He is a dark-haired, moustached German driver with experience in the "European Racing Circuit". His car was a powerful Porsche 917 clone painted in the colors of the German national flag, and bearing the number 17. In fact, as referred in the movie, the kit car he drives is a Lazer 917 GT coupé with numerous components including the engine and chassis from the Beetle. Von Stickle is deemed to be a formidable contender prior to and during the race.

Claude Gilbert (Mike Kulcsar): Claude is a blond-haired—and, like von Stickle, moustached—French driver of unknown discipline, although it would seem likely that he was also a regular on the European Racing circuit. Gilbert, known for wearing a full-faced crash helmet, was the driver of an equally power-hungry De Tomaso Pantera. Gilbert's car was black with white stripes and a number 66 on the hood and the sides. His dominance in the race seemed similar to that of von Stickle, until he crashed in the later stages.

Diane Darcy (Julie Sommars): Diane Darcy is a very beautiful, if somewhat icy and feminist-minded, young American woman with strawberry blonde hair, and is the only female driver in the Trans-France Race. She initially hates Jim for apparently his, but what was actually Herbie's, knee-jerk behavior that ruined her chances of succeeding during the first qualifying rounds. This was because of Herbie sighting and falling in love at first sight with her race car. Diane's car is a powder-blue 1976 Lancia Scorpion with yellow and white stripes, as well as a fancy dark blue or black numeral 7. As being a car with whom Herbie falls in love during the film (much as Jim seems to be attracted to Diane herself), Herbie's infatuation with Diane's Lancia results in his compromising his full original plan of winning the Trans-France Race, and turning against that same will of his partners, Jim and Wheely. However, Diane does not appear to believe in any cars that can be alive and have a mind of their own; thinking this was merely an excuse for what she believed as an act of possible misogyny or sexism from Jim. To this extent, she bluntly but sarcastically tells Jim that she would like nothing more than to see him and his car completely vanish. Along with being the lone female driver in the race, she is ostensibly a rookie, although her level of racing experience is never discussed in the movie. Relatively little was seen of Diane's performance in the Trans-France Race itself, although she was never passed over by the Herbie team and was in the lead when she had to leave the race (she was not even seen in the film for 18 minutes beforehand).
Herbie and Gizelle

Herbie eyeing Diane's Lancia

Diane and her Lancia unfortunately crash into a lake towards the end of the race, and with victory in sight. But Herbie and Jim manage to save both car and woman from drowning. Because of this, she soon changes her attitude toward Jim after he saves her life and she witnesses Herbie towing her Lancia out of the lake. All three watch as Herbie crawls next to the Lancia and the two cars hold doors like holding hands. When Herbie seems to have trouble restarting because of being determined to stay with the Lancia, Diane is now fully convinced that cars can have minds of their own because she now knows her own car is alive as well. She encourages the little car not to relent in the quest for victory in the Trans-France Race (with the added agreement of the Lancia's horn), and bids Jim good luck with a light kiss on one cheek.

With Diane now out of the race (followed shortly thereafter by Claude Gilbert in the aforementioned crash), Jim pursues Von Stickle through the streets of Monte Carlo, combatants in a thrilling duel for the win. In the end, though, Bruno von Stickle is overtaken by the little car in the famous tunnel of the Formula One race track, Herbie outracing him by outsmarting him through driving upside down on the tunnel roof. Jim drives Herbie to victory for (also according to dialogue) the 20th time in their careers.

As the film progresses, two thieves, Max (Bernard Fox) and Quincey (Roy Kinnear), steal the famous Étoile de Joie (French for "Star of Joy") diamond and cleverly hide it in Herbie's fuel tank (Herbie was fitted with an external fuel filler cap for this film - a 1963 Beetle's cap actually being inside the front luggage compartment) in order to avoid being captured by a swarm of searching policemen. But little did they know that they picked the wrong car to hide it in, because of one car that was alive and had a mind of its own. That causes them to blow every chance they get in getting back the diamond they hid in him. Because of this, and on a count of an attempt where they at one point tried to threaten Jim and Wheely at gunpoint to relinquish the car to them, an encounter from which Herbie managed to escape, and thanks to a misunderstood conclusion thereafter that Diane would have tried to mastermind the whole event. Subsequently, Herbie is placed under the protection of the French police.

With a perfect opportunity of what it would mean for him, Inspector Bouchet volunteers completely to be the caretaker, but the impulsive and not punctual Detective Fontenoy squeezes in at the last moment taking over the caretaker business. The little car is therefore five minutes late in starting the Trans-France Race (this despite having won the pole in record time, and otherwise sharing the front row with his beloved Lancia). As a result of this, the Lancia tries to stay put at the starting line. Wheely tricks the Lancia to going ahead in the race, by lying that Herbie has abandoned her for another. After a convincing enough lie from him and with some help from Jim, she complies with going on just in time. On Herbie's part, when he is finally brought back in a small delay, he causes a longer delay by going on a search for the Lancia. Wheely convinces Herbie to join the race by telling him the same kind of fast-talk lie that he told the Lancia, except he tells Herbie that she just went off into the race by abandoning him all together, without reason. After the Lancia gets into an accident, the truth comes out to Herbie thanks to Jim's selfless talk, forcing Wheely to have to confess and owe him a major apology.

It is also revealed not too far in that Inspector Bouchet (Jacques Marin), also known as "Double X" especially as a code name to the thieves, is the mastermind behind the museum robbery, though the fact of his scheme is revealed near the end of the movie. It is the eager, and somewhat knee-jerk and unpunctual young detective Fontenoy (Xavier Saint-Macary), of whom the Inspector is the superior officer, who unravels the mystery of L'Étoile de Joie, and has Bouchet clapped in handcuffs. All the way through the plot, Inspector Bouchet appears to have an annoyance and sour attitude towards Detective Fontenoy. The reasons are never plain, but some of them could be due to things that the Inspector tells the Head Official of Monaco about the detective when he tries to persuade him to cancel out a diamond search that the detective ordered for.

In the end, Jim and Diane begin to fall in love, as do Wheely and the Monte Carlo trophy girl (Katia Tchenko); even breaking a pact they made in the beginning. Most of all, Herbie and Giselle (Diane's Lancia) fall in love again as well.

Herbie Goes BananasEdit

Loosely picking up where Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo left off, protagonist Pete Stancheck (Stephen W. Burns) has inherited Herbie from Jim Douglas, and travels to Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) with his friend Davy "D.J." Johns (Charles Martin Smith) to retrieve the car. There, they befriend Paco (Joaquin Garay, III), a comically mischievous, orphaned pickpocket.

Pete and D.J. board the Sun Princess, a cruise ship, to Rio de Janeiro to enter Herbie in the Brazil Grand Primeo, while Paco follows hidden in Herbie's cargo compartment. En route they meet an anthropology student named Melissa (Elyssa Davalos) and her extravagant, eccentric aunt Louise (Cloris Leachman), who is trying to find a husband for her niece. When Herbie wreaks havoc on board, Pete pretends to court Melissa, intending that her Aunt Louise will sponsor their race.

Meanwhile, Herbie helps Paco, who has dubbed the car 'Ocho', escape captivity. When the ship's captain Blythe (Harvey Korman) has his costume party wrecked by the boy and car, he puts Herbie on trial and sentences him to be dropped in the sea. However later on land, Herbie resurfaces from the water to reunite with Paco, who then goes into business with Herbie as a taxi.
Bananas (57a)

Herbie being rescued from the sea

Thereafter follow three villains (John Vernon, Alex Rocco, and Richard Jaeckel) seeking to capture an antique gold disc, and to find Paco as earlier he had pickpocketed their wallets which contained important film by threatening to use an acetylene torch to cut up Herbie; Herbie's matador part in a bullfight; romance between Aunt Louise and Captain Blythe; and bananas initially used to conceal Herbie among farm vehicles traveling to market and later used by Herbie and Paco to stop the villains escaping justice. Ultimately, the villains are captured, and the protagonists re-unite on the Sun Princess to celebrate. The group enters Herbie in an upcoming race, with Paco dressed as the driver. Davy finally asks Paco why he keeps referring to Herbie as "Ocho", since that is Spanish for eight. Paco looks at Herbie's "53" and remarks that 5+3=8.

The Love Bug (1997)Edit

The narrator, Jim Douglas (Dean Jones), unfolds the story of Herbie the Volkswagen Beetle. Herbie was owned by an egotistic man named Simon Moore III (John Hannah). Due to his arrogance, he does not treat Herbie very well. During a race, Simon Moore III swears at Herbie, which caused Herbie to not want to listen to his owner. They end up in last place for the race. Simon was not pleased and he throws out Herbie to the garbage dump.

For the time being, a man named Hank Cooper, who works in a small mechanic garage, is persuaded to do a race and pick Herbie. He saw Herbie near his mechanic garage and is stunned to the little car. In the race, the judges are Donny Shotz (Micky Dolenz), who is obsessed with cars and finally Alex (Alexandra Wentworth), who Hank used to date and finally Simon. At the race, Hank wins first place. Herbie is very fond of Hank, and approves of how he is being treated. After the race, Alex, who is one of the judges, questions his car, and later he takes her out for a friend. However, Herbie does not seem fond of her and drives to an isolated area. While this is happening, Simon is searching for an engineer who invented Herbie. He eventually finds the owner: Dr. Gustav Stumpfel (Harold Gould). He asked Dr. Gustav to created another car, but he wants the car to be pure evil and black. He ended up naming the second car Horace.

Herbie created Hank a big job opportunity and leaves Herbie behind. Devastated, Herbie is looking for Hank, but is then followed by the black edition car Horace and Rupert. They cornered Herbie in a dark alley and continuously smashes Herbie until he is completely destroyed. Afterwards, Hank finds Herbie, saddened and believing that Herbie has died, gives him a funeral. However, Herbie's former owner, Jim Douglas, explains to Hank that he can be repaired. Hank then fixes Herbie and looks for Simon and makes a for a race between Horace and Herbie.

At the race, Horace tracks down Herbie, and removes his tire, terrorizes Herbie with bombs and attempts to cut Herbie in half. However, that did not stop Herbie from competing in the race. Although he was not in the greatest condition, Herbie still won the race. Furious, Horace tries to destroy Herbie again, but he ends up killing himself. The car owner of Horace and his partner Rupert were then arrested.
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Herbie vs Horace

The movie ends with Hank and Alex, being in love again, driving off in Herbie.

Herbie: Fully LoadedEdit

The story focuses on Herbie, a Volkswagen Beetle, and Maggie Peyton (Lohan), the youngest member of the Peyton racing clan. Herbie is towed to a junkyard after losing several races, and Maggie's father, Ray Peyton Sr. (Keaton), takes Maggie to the junkyard to buy her a car as a college graduation present. After Maggie selects Herbie, he takes her against her will to the garage where her boyfriend Kevin (Long) works as a mechanic. Kevin persuades Maggie to take Herbie to a car show to buy parts for Herbie, but when they arrive, Herbie tricks Maggie into disguising herself in a racing suit and helmet and challenging NASCAR champion Trip Murphy (Dillon) to an impromptu race, which Herbie wins by a second.
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Herbie about to race Trip Murphy

This delights Kevin, who tries to talk Maggie into racing again, but worries Ray Sr., who has forbidden her from racing since she was hospitalized after a street racing accident years ago. It also infuriates Murphy, who becomes obsessed with Herbie. Murphy organizes a local street-racing competition to lure Herbie back for a rematch, which Maggie and Kevin enter. Herbie easily defeats the other cars and qualifies for the final match with Murphy, but when Murphy talks Maggie into racing for pink slips (where the winner takes possession of the opponent's car), Herbie becomes alarmed over Maggie's desire to win Murphy's stock car --- incorrectly assuming that Maggie will have him scrapped if she wins the other car, and also unaware that the vindictive Murphy only agreed to the match so that he could have Herbie scrapped if he got possession of him --- and intentionally loses the race against Murphy's Corvette C6 Z06. Maggie is publicly embarrassed, Herbie is towed away, and Ray Sr. scolds Maggie for racing without his permission.

However, encouraged by her friend Charisma, Maggie decides to race professionally. She tries to buy Herbie back from Murphy, but Murphy has entered Herbie in a demolition derby. Desperate to save Herbie from destruction, Maggie goes to the derby, runs onto the field while the derby is in progress, pleads with Herbie to help her, and wins the derby.

Meanwhile, the Peyton racing team may have to forfeit an upcoming stock-car race due to financial troubles and two crashes by the team's driver, Ray Peyton Jr. (Meyer). Ray Sr. declines Maggie's offer to drive for the team, but Ray Jr. decides on his own that she will take his place and sends the Team Peyton crew to help her and Kevin prepare Herbie for the race. At the race track, Maggie and Herbie have a heart-to-heart conversation, and Murphy ominously warns Maggie that the race will be dangerous.

Herbie starts the race slowly, but he eventually catches up and begins passing the other cars before Maggie makes her first pit stop. Meanwhile, Ray Sr., who has been watching the race at home, decides to join the crowd in person. On the track again, Herbie is soon boxed in by some other cars, but Ray Sr. arrives at the track and encourages Maggie over the team radio, and Maggie escapes the trap by driving directly over Tony Stewart who was in front of her. This damages Herbie's oil system, so Maggie makes another pit stop and Kevin hurriedly extracts a replacement part from the yellow New Beetle, which Herbie has been eyeing amorously throughout the film, owned by Sally, one of Team Peyton's few remaining sponsors. The jerry-rigged oil system is fragile, and Murphy is intent on preventing Herbie from winning.

With Maggie, Herbie, and Ray Sr. now working together, Maggie and Herbie catch up to Murphy. Murphy tries to damage Herbie by pushing him into the track wall when Maggie tries to pass him, but he is caught off guard and crashes into the wall when she slams on the brakes during his next attempt. Herbie passes Murphy's car, now upside down on the track, by climbing onto the fence above the wall. After landing back on the track, Maggie and Herbie win the race. Maggie is congratulated by her father and brother, and Murphy is driven away in an ambulance, raging furiously about Herbie, as Maggie and Kevin kiss. The film ends with a photograph of Herbie's victory and a scene in which Ray Sr. warns Herbie and Sally's New Beetle not to stay out too long on their date. In the end, Maggie continues to race with Herbie in NASCAR.

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