Here's What Happened To The Original Herbie VW Beetle From 'The Love Bug'

When we say original, we actually mean one of the original Volkswagen Beatles used for the filming of the Disney classic "The Love Bug," which starred an anthropomorphic VW named Herbie that could think and drive for himself. His human costars were Disney film regular Dean Jones, well-known actress Michele Lee, and comedian Buddy Hackett.

As with almost every film where a car is cast as a main character, the production crew utilizes a proverbial fleet of lookalikes for all of the required shots and stunts performed. In this case, the real number of film-used Bugs varies depending on the source. Many, like Antique Automobile Club of America, Salado Village Voice, and even the current owner of Herbie #10 (on an episode of VW Life), claim that 11 were used during filming. However, IMDb puts the number "over 20," and Disney itself, which should probably be regarded as the authoritative source, says through the D23 Fan Club that 21 were used.

Whatever the actual number, the original Bug we're referring to in this instance is Herbie #10 (a.k.a., the Stunt Bug or Junk Bug). It is not only the oldest original Herbie movie car that remains but also only one of a very few — three or five, depending on who you ask — known to exist still, thus making it pretty unique. Since it was used as the primary stunt car throughout the film, the production team added a roll cage, skid plates, and heavy-duty shocks so it could take all the pounding.

The original Herbie still rides!

The movie car was cosmetically altered, as well, because it was originally a hardtop Horizon Blue 1957 Beetle with a small rear oval window. The roof was converted into a ragtop, and the oval window was enlarged to resemble the wider side-to-side rear window seen on the Pearl White 1963 Herbie in the film. The black and yellow license plate reading OFP 857 — which is said to stand for Official First Production August (8) 57 — was also added.

Herbie #10 returned as a really beat-up junker Bug (not as Herbie) painted in latex house paint in the film "Herbie Rides Again." According to current owner Clayton Capps, after Herbie's film career ended, it sat on the backlot at Disney for several years before going on a roadshow with several other movie cars. After that tour, it went to Swigart Car Museum in Pennsylvania. It was eventually purchased by famed VW Bug collector Tory Alonzo (known as the "Herbie historian" in VW Bug circles).

Alonzo loaned it out to the Antique Automobile Club of America in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to put on display, but in 2016, he decided to sell Herbie. Capps, in turn, bought it from Alonzo for $85,000, which we guess is a steal considering that two of the other originals sold for over $125,000. Capps, who lives in Texas, has owned it ever since. He occasionally takes the Love Bug to local shows, as evidenced by the VW Life interview given at one. Herbie even has an Instagram account where you can keep track of his ongoing adventures.