Growing up, it’s safe to say that my favorite movie was Disney’s “The Love Bug.” As a kid living in a world before Pixar’s “Cars” it was fairly the best car movie. I loved vehicles, races, stunts and of course harbies, titled Love Bugs. As a result I had a lot of die-cast Beetles, and it certainly played a role in my 2013 Beetle purchase a few years ago.
My devotion has not diminished. I still love movies, probably more than when I was younger. I picked up a gag I didn’t get as a kid. I saw the bonus features to learn about making movies. And I clearly think of the part behind the scenes where the people in the film discuss how they cast Herbie. They brought different cars into the studio, and they noticed that people reacted very differently to the Beetle than to regular cars, sometimes pushing it and treating it almost as if it were something alive. Since watching it, the thought has crossed my mind: How would you cast “The Love Bug” if it was remade today? (Disney is doing a lot of remakes these days.) Well, I guess I have an idea, and not just for our Hero cars.
Now that I know, choosing the Beatles’ final generation, like the Spanish version 53 shown at the top, seems a lot like a police-out, and I may seem biased. That may be true. However, I have good reasons. An important point is that the Beetle, even the new version, is probably the most shamelessly clever car offered in the United States in the last 10 years. Also, you can’t re-cast a movie with a different car without renaming it. The Beetle still has a big smile and happy round lights. Even the Minis and Fiat 500s have some frown. ND Miata still smiles, and this would probably be my second choice if the Beetle were too old to be offered to a premium car dealer, but it was even more repulsive with its squinting lights. As in the 1960s, there was a lack of friendly cars.
The Beetle ticks a few more boxes. This fits the description of something that a rich man might have bought their housekeeper for transportation (the story behind Herbie). It still has a rear seat, so you can have three main human heroes in it. And real life cars have a harmonious turbo counterpart that lends itself A little The reliability of a Beetle hanging with a production-based race car.
Tennessee Yard Art
A gag at the very beginning of the film that persuades Jim Douglas to go find a car. After coming home from a bad day on the track, Jim plans to go on a dirt track and asks his friend Tennessee (played by Buddy Hackett) to lend him where his car is. Tennessee’s car has become an adsense. Well, that Was An Edsell. Tennessee cut it apart and turned it into a yard industry. He explains with the following quote: “It came upon me suddenly. It was the only decent thing to do.”
It went over my head as a kid who didn’t really know what an edsel was, but now I see it as a reference to fun, pop culture. But what could be the equivalent of the ugliness and flop-qualification of an Edsell these days? Easy: Pontiac Aztec. Nothing needs to change in this scene except the car parts of the firehouse yard.
One of the other original machines in the movie was the “Thorndike Special”, which was the Apollo GT. Although very European in design, the front-facing sports car was All-American, and under the hood was the Buick V8.
External front-engine sports cars nowadays are very rare and far away, especially from the United States so it takes us to Europe. The Ferrari 812 GTS is a strong competitor, but I think the Aston Martin DBS would be a good pick. It has a more terrifying edge in front, which is perfect for an opponent’s car. Also, I doubt it would be easier to deal with Aston Martin as a film contributor than Ferrari.
While Harbi is being test-driven, a guy in a T-bucket hot rod challenges Jim to run and has fun. Jim isn’t in it, but Herbie says otherwise and goes ahead to trans the hot radar. The result is respect for the Hot Radar, as well as Jim’s interest in the Beatles.
The modified car scene has been extremely healthy over the past few decades, so a full host of cars can fill a T-bucket. But just as hot rods based on American cars of the 30’s and 40’s were a major factor in customization at the time, Hondas dominated the affordable, convertible cars at the turn of the millennium. So a hop-up civic seems to be the best choice. And I think there’s a possibility that there’s more to a speedy Beetle than a speedy Beetle owner, say, the owner of a speedy challenger, whom I can see moving away and praying that no one is taking video of the phone. Race
When Jim and Carol’s test drive isn’t over, Harbi takes them for a drive-in for some dinner. Next to them is a pair of hippies in a customized van. One of them teases Carol as she tries to get out of the car. Interestingly, the hippie in question is actually Dean Jones, the man who played Jim Douglas.
I had a few ideas for what could be the new equivalent of this van and its owners. It could be a kind of budget overlander with some alternative-medicine-loving modern-style hippies. Although it’s hard to imagine that they’re in any kind of fast-food joint. So I think it would be a better idea to feature an old ’70s or’ 80s custom full-size van, complete with airbrushed paint on the side. It may even refer to Van’s paint from Pixar’s “Onward”. And with one exception, it would be a great opportunity to bring in Tommy Chong as owner and driver.
In the darkest part of the movie, Jim comes home with a Lamborghini from Thorndike. It is meant to be a substitute for Harbi. Surprisingly, Harbi doesn’t take it well, immediately breaks down the car and escapes.
The original car was a Lamborghini 400 GT, which for a while overlapped with the heated Miura. As such, a high-powered Huracan seems to be the best modern equivalent, since the Aventador would be like the modern Mura. And a high-performance variant would be ideal, since Jim bought the car for track and racing purposes.
And it wraps up the original vehicles of “The Love Bug” fairly. What do you think of my choice? Do you have different ideas? Would you like to see more car movie requests? Let us know in the comments.