There are some 60-odd authentic “Herbie” Beetles knocking about. Bookended by the original 1969 flick and the most recent 2005 version, each movie used a fleet of Volkswagen’s most popular model for all sorts of odd scenarios — such as in “Herbie Fully Loaded” where the body is mounted backwards so it appears as if the car has rear wheel steering, and another from “Herbie Goes Bananas” that’s lined with fiberglass to hold water for the pond scene, as well as from “The Love Bug” where the car actually splits in two. Needless to say, most of these cars today aren’t drivable, or have received so much restoration work that the car’s authenticity is now in question. Others have simply been scrapped.
One Bug that has no such issues is Herbie “5916,” featured in both “Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo” and “Herbie Goes Bananas.” Not only is the car roadworthy, but it’s spent years racing on the Sports Car Club of America circuit in the hands of vintage racer Arthur Porter. Now it heads to Barrett Jackson later this month seeking a new owner.
Over the years Herbie “5916,” as named by Disney, has had many owners, including Porter who bought the car from the first post-film owner Bob Haug. The story goes that Haug purchased Herbie in 1980 after it was found neglected in a parking lot at a rental agency that leased cars for use in Hollywood movies. When Porter bought the car off Haug years later, he restored it to its original “Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo” appearance, removed the bumpers, and then went SCCA racing in the late ‘90s.
From there, Herbie found new homes, and will soon be in the hand’s of another owner come April 17-19 at Barrett Jackson’s Palm Beach auction. The 1963 Volkswagen Beetle was known as the “oil squirting” car, and still features the original oil pump used in “Monte Carlo” to douse the police officer’s foot at the beginning of the movie. That system today is in working order.
Number “5916″ is one of the few cars used both for driving and interior shots in two separate “Herbie” movies, and has an actual racing pedigree to boot. Of all the Bugs still in existence, that makes this one pretty special; the last time a similar Bug came to an auction block was nearly three years ago, when it brought $66,000. Let’s just hope that when Craig Jackson sends the “oil squirter” under the hammer, he does so wearing an old pair of shoes.