Original Herbie Sells For $86,250 At New York Auction
One of the most under-appreciated movie cars of all time just sold at an auction this week for $86,250. No, it’s not any one of the iconic movie Mustangs that we’ve drooled over in the past. It’s not even a Transformers car. It’s a Volkswagen Beetle, or to be more specific, it’s Herbie, the Love Bug.
The iconic movie car went under hammer at the Treasures from the Dream Factory auction, held by Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies in New York. The total might not make your eyes pop out ala Herbie, but at the price that it sold, it immediately became the most expensive Volkswagen Beetle ever sold in an auction setting. According to Sports Car Market, the $86,250 paid for Herbie barely edged out a 1955 Beetle Cabrio that sold at Amelia Island in 2014. That model, considered in mint condition, sold for $82,500.
As far as Herbie is concerned, the model that sold in New York is the actual car that was used in the second and third movies of the Disney franchise, hence its unique status of being the actual movie car, and not a replica. It carries the iconic livery, complete with the red, white, and blue racing stripes and the “53” decals on the hood and doors of the car. It even has the original set of gears and pulleys that were put in place to allow a stunt driver to drive the car from the rear seat, making it look like the car was autonomously being driven.
The identity of the winning bidder wasn’t disclosed, but rest assured, whoever walked out of the auction as the new owner of Herbie had himself a pretty early holiday treat.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Why it matters
With all due respect to all other iconic movie cars, Herbie the Love Bug holds a special place in my heart. I grew up watching the first four movies - The Love Bug, Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas - of the franchise and I remember crying my eyes out because my father’s Toyota Corona couldn’t do the things that Herbie did in the movies.
Don’t worry, I’ve seen learned the difference between a real car and a movie car, so I’ve long been at peace knowing that an anthropomorphic Beetle doesn’t exist in this world. That said, I still remember Herbie fondly after all these years and on one hand, I couldn’t be happier knowing that somebody cared just as much for the car to pay $86,250 for it.
On the other hand, I’m a little bummed that I couldn’t buy Herbie for myself. But that’s neither here nor there. What’s important is that Herbie’s going to a owner who will take far more of the car than the previous owner who saw fit to leave it in a warehouse in Florida for so many years until it was discovered a few years ago.
Take it from somebody who grew up loving the movie franchise. $86,250 may be too much for a Volkswagen Beetle, but this isn’t an ordinary Beetle. Far from it. It’s Herbie the Love Bug and rest assured, if I had the money, it would probably have been sold for more at that auction.
Read our full review on the Volkswagen Beetle here.