A beloved Hollywood icon recently went under the hammer at auction in New York. Herbie, made famous for the family-friendly Love Bug films of the 1960’s and onwards, sold for a ‘Fully Loaded’, $86,250.
The vintage Volkswagen Beetle, seen in Herbie Rides Again and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, is one of the most famous movie cars of all time, and the only car invited to leave its tyre print at Grauman's Chinese theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. And Herbie is in good company. From Shirley Temple to Ben Stiller, a huge number of Hollywood legends have left their mark at Grauman’s.
And in case you were wondering how Herbie managed all of those stunts, well ‘he’ was modified for a literal back-seat driver. A series of gears and pulleys allowed a stunt driver to sit out of view in the rear seat, making it look as if the car were driving itself. Who knew?
Offered as part of the Treasures from the Dream Factory auction, held by Bonhams and Turner Classic Moviest the winning bid, according to the records at Sports Car Market, makes this the most valuable Beetle ever sold at auction. According to records it narrowly beat the $82,500 paid for a flawless '55 cabrio at Amelia Island in 2014. This very same Herbie (verified by its chassis number) sold less than a year ago on eBay for $55,200 – which makes this a rather profitable turnaround for the consigner.
Other lots in the auction included the racing suit that Steve McQueen wore in the filming of Le Mans which sold for $425,000 – far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $200,000-300,000. The biggest sale of the day, however, was the blue gingham dress worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. It sold for an eye watering $1.56 million - which is just over half of what the whole movie cost to make in 1939.
Will Herbie ride again? Well that’s up to the lucky new owner!