A total of 23 Volkswagen Beetles were used in the 1980’s movie “Herbie Goes Bananas.” Why so many? Because most got totaled due to all the silly stunts director Vincent McEveety dreamed up during filming. The bug you see here is Herbie number 16, and after more than three decades being brought back from the dead, the little 1963 Beetle appeared for sale on eBay – selling a short while ago for $32,100.
Why so little for such a famous car? Well, it may be due to the fact that this Herbie doesn’t feature the original motor or transmission, or even the floorpan. Some of its bodywork, too, has been replaced.
Herbie #16 falling into the ocean
See, Herbie #16 was built specifically for the water scenes where the iconic Beetle gets dropped off a boat and into the ocean. Two cars were used; one was abandoned on the seabed and is now destroyed, the other is #16. For filming, Herbie needed to float, so an engine and transmission was not necessary; even fake fiberglass wheels were used to keep weight to a minimum.
After a badly worn Herbie was auctioned off post filming, its new owner set about making the car drivable again. To earn a clean title, a new floorpan was required. Over the years a motor and transmission were installed, and later the bodywork gradually returned to the familiar state we all know and love. Even remote control-operated headlights that move from side to side were added, along with a windscreen washer jet that squirts pedestrians. The glove box, too, is signed by Joaquin Garay III, otherwise known as “Paco,” and all the original body parts not salvageable during restoration were included in the sale.
This is one of the few working Herbies in existence. To some, it may be nothing more than a slightly soggy 1963 VW Beetle with a new engine, but for one eBay shopper, it’s a slice of movie history costing less than the price of a fully-loaded Toyota Camry. For the diehard Herbie fan, that’s not a bad deal.