Best cars for a ‘Love Bug’ remake – Autoblog
Growing up, it’s safe to say my absolute favorite movie was Disney’s “The Love Bug.” As a kid living in a world before Pixar’s “Cars,” it was pretty much the best car movie. I loved the vehicles, the racing, the stunts, and, of course, Herbie, the titular Love Bug. I had so many die-cast Beetles as a result, and it definitely played a role in me buying my 2013 Beetle a couple of years ago.
My fandom hasn’t waned. I still love the movie, maybe more so than when I was little. I picked up on gags I didn’t get as a kid. I watched bonus features to learn about the making of the movie. And I distinctly remember a part of one behind-the-scenes segment where people on the film discussed how they cast Herbie. They brought out various cars to the studio, and they noticed that people reacted very differently to the Beetle than to regular cars, sometimes patting it and treating it like something almost alive. Ever since watching that, the thought has crossed my mind: How would you cast “The Love Bug” if it were remade today? (Disney’s doing a lot of remakes these days.) Well, I think I have an idea, and not just for our hero car.
Now I know, choosing the final generation of Beetle like the Spanish Edition 53 shown at top seems like a bit of a cop-out, and may seem like I’m biased. Some of that may be true. However, I have good reasons. A key ones is that the Beetle, even the newest version, is still probably the most unabashedly cute car to be offered in the U.S. in the past 10 years. Plus, you couldn’t recast with a different vehicle without renaming the movie. The Beetle still has a big smile and happy round lights. Even Minis and Fiat 500s have a bit of a frown. The ND Miata still smiles, and it would probably be my second choice if the Beetle had gotten too old to plausibly be offered at a premium car dealer, but it’s got more of a scowl with its squinting lights. Like in the 1960s, there’s a dearth of friendly looking cars.
The Beetle also ticks a few other boxes. It fits the description of being something a rich person might’ve bought their housekeeper for transportation (Herbie’s backstory). It also still has a back seat, so you can have the three main human protagonists in it. And the real-life car has a tuneable turbo counterpart that lends a little believability to a Beetle hanging with production-based race cars.
Tennessee’s Yard Art
Right at the beginning of the film is the gag that prompts Jim Douglas to go looking for a car. After arriving home from a bad day at the track, Jim plans to go to a dirt track and asks his friend Tennessee (played by Buddy Hackett) where his car is, to borrow it. Tennessee’s car turns out to be an Edsel. Well, it was an Edsel. Tennessee cut it apart and turned it into yard art. He explained with the following quote: “It came over me all of a sudden. 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 for the funny, pop culture reference it is. But what could possibly equal the ugliness and flop-worthiness of an Edsel nowadays? Easy: the Pontiac Aztek. Basically nothing …….