Herbie #16: 1963 VW Beetle

1963 Beetle Herbie #16

After posting this 1963 Beetle to the Reader’s Find and seeing the overwhelming interest, I thought we had better take a closer look at this little Bug. As you can see, the car is painted to look like our favorite Beetle, Herbie. The seller claims this is one of the actual cars used in Herbie Goes Bananas, but there are some issues with their story that need to be addressed. You can currently find it here on eBay, where bidding is already over $28k!

1963 VW Beetle

The seller claims this car is Herbie #16, which was built for a very specific purpose in the film. This Herbie had to be able to float! They actually built two water tight Herbies, but this is the only one to have survived. After filming was completed, one car was destroyed, and the other auctioned off. This is claimed to be the car that was auctioned off, but since it was sold without an engine, transmission, or front end it was sold without a title. The seller claims that it somehow made its way to a salvage yard and that’s where it was discovered. This part of the story isn’t all that hard to believe, the problem is paperwork.

Herbie #16 Glove Box

The seller claims to have a binder full of paperwork for the car, plus some never released photos of this car during filming. Both of which help to prove their story a bit, the only problem is that when the car was found it was in rough shape. The floors were extensively damaged during filming and a previous owner supposedly replaced them and used the donor car’s VIN to get a title.

After purchasing it, the seller replaced the replacement pan and most of the underside to make the car roadworthy. So at this point, we have no way of knowing how much of this car is really Herbie #16. For all we know someone simply found the old bill of sale, a Herbie glove box, and some old photos, then bought a Beetle and painted it to look like Herbie.

Herbie Floating

I want to believe so badly that this is Herbie #16, but with all the changes that have been made to it the seller is going to need to present more evidence to make me a believer. They claim to have some of the original body panels that were used during filming and that there is other evidence that this car is what they say. If they could provide the original VIN number or any type of documentation from Disney, it would make believing this story so much easier. If this turns out to be #16 it will be an important piece of movie and automotive history! So do you believe the seller’s story or do you think someone is trying to pull a fast one?


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  1. jimbosidecar

    Looks like a lot of bidders already are believers. Me, I’d have to see a lot more proof than what is offered.

  2. herbiemania

    It’s real. I saw it prior to restoration and three owners ago. Unfortunately, since there is no Disney title to be had it won’t claim as much money like some of the others.

  3. jim s

    i would love to have a beetle again but not this one. i like to drive them and at current bid with reserve not met this one is not going to be a driver. for the current bid i could have a fleet of beetle to drive. as for the claimed history it is the sellers to prove.

    • Josh Staff

      Hi Jim,
      I totally forgot to give you credit for sending this one in. Sorry about that! Everyone, Jim S was the one who shared this Beetle with me! Thanks for all your submissions Jim!

  4. Jonny the Boy

    The “rust” looks faked to me. Can’t remember if Herbie looked like this in the movie.
    Story and evidence seems plausible, especially the remote-controlled functions. Somebody went through a lot of trouble to make the car seem authentic, if it isn’t actually a movie car. I tend to think its the real thing. And even if it isn’t, it would be reasonable to bid fairly high just for a good facsimile.

  5. Brendon

    The car is legit. You can see more about it here:


    I believe Tory sold it to the current owner/ seller who changed it like you see it.

    • Horse Radish

      you mean he went from good to worse ?
      And who is trying to reward him for that ?

      • Horse Radish

        worse !

  6. Horse Radish

    looks like shill bidder s***n (1279) is backing off.
    It’s all up for grabs now !


    any bid close to 30 big ones should get it !

  7. Chris

    As someone who is a part of the Herbie community, this is without a doubt the original HGB #16. To write an article on a car slurring its owner and claiming that they are trying to dupe prospective buyers is incredibly unprofessional Josh, considering that you don’t appear to have done any research. There are plenty of people out there you could’ve asked for more information, including the previous owner, seeing as you did an article on the other original herbie he bought to replace this.

    • Josh Staff

      Hi Chris,
      I didn’t mean to offend anyone, I simply was bringing up the fact that the seller didn’t provide any hard evidence that this car is what they state it to be. All it would have taken was a link to http://lovebugfans.net/herbie16.htm to have helped make their case. There are lots of people out there that clone these cars, making it extremely important that anyone with one of the real cars presents proof that it is what they say when they try to sell it. I hate to say it, but there are a lot of people out there that have no problem lying to make a quick buck. It would be unprofessional of me to sell this car to our readers without bringing up the fact that there is a lot of missing information in the seller’s ad. I don’t know the seller, so I can only assume that they are an honest person that simply didn’t realize the scrutiny their car was going to face on the internet, but you just don’t ever know. On the upside their car has garnered a lot of attention across the web and like they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity! I wish them the best though and I hope whoever ends up with this Herbie enjoys it!

    • Don Andreina

      I don’t think Josh was out of line. There’s no slur, just questions being asked which can be satisfactorily and politely answered by people such as yourself.

      As to Herbie, I think Barnfinds already know how to share the love.



  8. Vince Habel

    Don’t care if it is#16. It is too much money for this junker.

  9. GaryMc

    He should have left it alone. The false patina is not even well done.

    Like 1
  10. Vince Habel

    When you go to the Love bug site for this car it shows it restored. How did it get back to this shape?

  11. Jim Douglas

    The originality has been compromised – new bodywork, paint, crappy faux sponged rust etc etc. not worth much more than today’s scrap price of $175 tops. And why would you want to make this eye sore road worthy – there are cool rat rods and rusto mods etc but this is a sure stretch to own an original cool car. Herbie would not approve!!!

  12. bobsmyuncle

    Some here don’t seem quite clear.

    Pans, front beam, and engine are not original due to circumstances reaching back to post filming. Fine.

    My concern appears as it takes three edits of the ad before the seller remembers to point out that the panels on the car arent original either.

    Yes he has the original and apparently you can “faintly” make out the stripes.

    The seller made an appearance on another site briefly and did nothing to address the questions or allay the concerns. They whined about the unsolicited exposure and packed up their toys and went home in a huff.

    So we have an assembled replica with some apparently original panels no proof of provenance and a (if nothing else) amateur seller doing the bare minimum to facilitate the sale.

    Even IF the car had papers would it be a $28 000 car?

  13. Cameron

    I am heavily involved in the herbie scene and this car is very well known to all of us. I have seen the complete restoration and “rusteration” if you will, take place through photos. I promise you. The body on this car was used in Herbie Goes Bananas. However most of the body parts and the floor pans have been replaced.

  14. Jason

    Bad fake patina, bad attitude from “Chris”.

  15. Chuck Black

    When I was living in LA their were in my territory in Burbank … On way to the machine shop building I walked past some of the Herbies as they were filming in studios …. One was definitely painted to be muddy as the one here … Another one was bolted to a barge as flat top so it could be pulled through the water as if skiing … Another was one of the stunt cars painted in standard Herbie fashion … They were by the sound stages but outside the buildings … I can not remember the street they were on but Disney Studios named all the lanes between buildings … Was very interesting place …

  16. Jeff Lavery Staff

    The car as originally restored in the link posted above appears to resemble the “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” variety as opposed to how it appeared pre-submerged in “Herbie Goes Bananas.”

    My issue is it just seems like the restoration has been flawed a few times over. If it was one of the original submerged Herbies, it should be restored as such the first time, not as Monte Carlo knock-off. It’s just now getting back to where it should have been from the start, but the seller is doing nothing to help buyers feel better about the purchase. Plus, the fake rust looks really, really fake.

    It’s good that he or she is known inside the community, because I doubt anyone else will feel comfortable spending big $ on this. Too many questions without obvious answers to anyone not in the “scene.”

    • Albert

      The problem with restoring it to how it was in the movie means you have a static prop that if you wanted to take it somewhere would require a lot of resources. The car had no moveable wheels when it was built for floating. They didn’t even roll, let alone have the front wheels steer. Picture the James Bond submarine Lotus. It’s the same principle. So what do you do with it at that point if it was restored to it’s original film function, Let it sit in a garage? Put it in a museum? Or would you rather be able to get behind the wheel and drive it?

  17. Albert

    I knew this car very well. I own the original Herbie that was in the “Another Herbie Uncovered” article. It is the real deal. And despite the fact that some aren’t crazy about the faux rust paint, that is how it looked in the movie. And while the sell did make an admirable attempt to try and recreate it. It’s extremely difficult to replicate something that a team of artists created. And even though some body panels were replaced, the seller never posted a picture of what the car looked like prior to restoration. It sat abandoned in a junkyard owned by a Hollywood stuntman along with 4 other Herbies that survived. Some of the cars were striped, to be used in other films. This particular car was also seen briefly in the film “Camp Nowhere”. The cars later were sold and bounced around the country, always being stored outside with the elements taking their toll on them. This car had at one point another car stacked on top of it. But like I said, it had been in a junkyard. The gentleman that did the restoration did preserve the original pieces though. So even though the body panels that aren’t on the car, you can still lay hands on them. My car is the same way, the hood, drivers door, and drivers side front fender on my car have been replaced, but rather than from damage (except the hood), they were purposely left off and preserved, and I can lay my hands on them. As for the pan replacement on the car. To make it driveable, that was necessary. When the cars were built, Disney didn’t use CGI. So each car did specific stunts. This car was set up to float, so weight was a big deal, the front beam was cut off, the engine and trans were removed, etc. As it is, VWs didn’t have engine numbers that matched the chassis. My Herbie doesn’t even have the original motor. That doesn’t make it any less original. I think the owner got a fair price for the car. But like any car auction on eBay, it can always be better with more detailed pictures, and disclosures.
    The photo I attached is of Herbie #16 at one of the auctions the car was listed at. So take a look and you be the judge. The car certainly isn’t a piece of junk anymore.

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