Remember the lovable VW Beetle from the Herbie films? It was recently sold at auction ─ and it went for a big pile of money.
A 1963 Beetle may not usually be worth a great deal, but this is no ordinary example. It is, in fact, the car used in the Herbie Rides Again and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo Disney films from the seventies.
Besides being a childhood favourite for many grown adults who grew up with the movies, it’s the only car to have its tyre print at the Grauman Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and now it’s become the most valuable Beetle ever sold at auction.
The Beetle, which was specially modified so it could be driven from the back seat so it could look like it was self-driving, was said to have been lost for decades (that old chesnut) but it was found in a warehouse in Florida of the US.
It was then offered as part of a Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies auction in New York and was sold for US$86,250, beating the original record holder of the 1955 cabrio example sold at Amelia Island in 2014 and its original price tag it fetched on eBay of US$55,200 in the same year.
Herbie’s adventures weren’t just a family favourite. The movie took home US$200 million at the box office, which in today’s money would be US$725,000,000.
Other famous motoring memorabilia sold at the same auction included a racing suit worn by Steve McQueen during filming of Le Mans. It fetched US$425,000. Marilyn Monroe’s suit from Gentleman Prefer Blondes, meanwhile, went for US$425,000.
The most expensive item, however, was the plaid dress worn by Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. That made a cool US$1.56 million. Overall the auction made more than US$4 million.
Bonhams will hold another Entertainment Memorabilia auction in Knightsbridge in London on the 10th of December, in case you fancy owning some rather special pieces of history.