Herbie is a sentient, 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, is capable of driving himself and has been 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 is cheerful, energetic, has a sense of humor and likes to play practical jokes on people. No one knows exactly how he is alive, but it doesn't really seem all that important to them. Despite being incapable of verbal speech, there is appearent commuication between him and humans or, at times, other cars.
He is, for the most part good-natured, but he'll also show a dark side, when prvoked. Although aggressive and competitive, he is nevertheless sensitive to the feelings of the humans he drives and will not comply with them if abused. Herbie was named by Tennesse Steinmetz after being reminded of his Uncle Herb. As his nickname indicates, he has a knack for matchmaking.
Behind The Scenes
Before production of The Love Bug began Herbie wasn't always going to be a 1963 Volkswagen beetle to begin with. In order to find the right car to play Herbie they had a casting of cars parked outside the studio, they had Toyotas, a TVR, a handful of Volvos, an MG and a pearl white Volkswagen Beetle. At lunch the producers would come outside and watch people's reaction towards the cars. They would see them kick the tires or grab the steering wheel to see how it handle but when they approached the Volkswagen they reached out and petted it as if it was like a friend, so out of all the other cars the Volkswagen Beetle was chosen to play the role of Herbie.
Herbie's racing number "53" was chosen by producer Bill Walsh, who was a fan of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player Don Drysdale (Drysdale's jersey number, later retired by the team, was 53).
The Love Bug
Herbie Rides Again
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo
Herbie Goes Bananas
The Love Bug (1997 film)
Herbie: Fully Loaded
House of Mouse
Herbie only appeared in the episodes, "Max's New Car" and "Dining Goofy."
Herbie also had his own television series in 1982 entitled Herbie the Matchmaker (aka Herbie, the Love Bug), however, it was cancelled after five episodes.
A car very similar to Herbie made a cameo in Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension when Ferb Fletcher is going after Perry the Platypus after the Robot Riot sequence of the movie.
In the 1982 Herbie TV series, Herbie was known to beep his horn to the tune of the Bridal Chorus as well as Happy Birthday.
Since Herbie: Fully Loaded was released in theaters, Herbie lost his "OFP 857" license plate and gained his eyelids and the abilty to smile or frown using his front bumper.
Throughout the six films Herbie's appearance changes a lot. The most changes Herbie makes is in Herbie Fully Loaded.
Racing Stripes In the Love Bug, Herbie's stripes started out Blue White and Red and in the later three films he had darker blue stripes that can be mistaken for black. In the 1997 television film and the 2005 film, Herbie's stripes are the original Blue White and Red.
53 Font The font of herbie's 53 remains the same in the first four films, large, round and bold but from the 1997 television film to the 2005 film the font changes to smaller and finner.
Rear View Mirror From The Love Bug to Herbie Rides Again, Herbie side mirror is a round shape, from Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo to the 1997 Love Bug the mirror changes to an oval mirror and returns to a round mirror in Herbie Fully Loaded.
Rag-Top Roof In the first four films, Herbie's rag-top roof always has the racing stripes across from the front to the back but int the 1997 Love Bug he has a white rag-top with no stripes across but returns to the gray colour in Herbie Fully Loaded but without the stripes.