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With 21st century technology inventing driverless cars, movie-goers will reminisce fondly about a much earlier version of a car that could drive itself - namely Herbie, the 1963 Volkswagen Beetle who appeared in a series of Disney films.

While Herbie was fictional, plenty of kids in the 1960s and '70s had a vivid imagination and they believed the endearing little motor who loved racing was real. Herbie was an easily-recognisable car thanks to his red, white and blue racing stripes, the distinctive number 53 on the bonnet and doors, and the California '63 license plate.

Herbie's registration number, OFP 857, remained the same from the first film, The Love Bug, in 1968, until Herbie: Fully Loaded in 2005. The numbers and letters had a secret meaning: Robert Stevenson, producer of The Love Bug, had first worked with Disney in August 1957, so the number plate represented the initials of 'Our First Production', with 857 representing August '57.

The original film starred Dean Jones as Herbie's driver, Jim Douglas, with Michele Lee as his love interest, Carole Bennett. The real star of the show was always Herbie, whose origins were explained at the start of the film. He had been bought from a San Francisco motor showroom by wealthy socialite Mrs Van Luit - but she returned him, claiming unreliability issues.

Then, racing driver Jim Douglas bought Herbie - naming him after his Uncle Herb, a boxer who had broken his nose, leaving it resembling the boot lid of the Volkswagen Beetle! At first, Jim thinks there's a fault on the car when Herbie starts veering out of control, but he's amazed to discover Herbie has a mind of his own – and that he can even drive himself. The car is also a fierce competitor in motor racing events and likes to win. He was actually equipped with a 356 Porsche engine in the racing scenes, so he could go faster.

The Herbie franchise continued with a series of films, including Herbie Rides Again in 1974, when Douglas enters overseas racing circuits and his special car is given to Mrs Steinmetz, played by Helen Hayes. Herbie saves the day when he helps Mrs Steinmetz to save her house from being bulldozed by property baron Alonzo Hawk, who is trying to build a new shopping centre on the land.

Herbie is back with Douglas in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo in 1977, when the intrepid duo enters the Trans-France Race. Herbie falls for a Lancia Montecarlo - while Douglas falls for her driver! In 1980, Herbie Goes Bananas saw the famous car indulging in some high jinxes on a cruise liner. However, he is thrown overboard as a result! Luckily, he is salvaged, and he goes on to prevent a gang of criminals from stealing valuable Inca gold.

In 1997, the franchise re-made The Love Bug in a made-for-television movie on ABC as part of the Wonderful World of Disney series - including a few changes from the original. It was part sequel, part remake, following the plot of the 1968 film to a degree, but with some new elements. For instance, a new storyline was introduced, revealing that Herbie had been built by a German scientist, Dr Gustav Stumpfel, just after World War II. It transpires the doctor built a second car, Herbie's nemesis: a completely evil car, Horace, nicknamed the Hate Bug. Can good triumph over evil as the two cars battle it out?

The most recent outing for the famous car was in 2005, with Herbie: Fully Loaded. He is bought by Maggie Peyton, played by Lindsay Lohan, and begins competing in NASCAR races and demolition derbies. The car has several different looks, including a "street racer" makeover with a rear spoiler, wider tyres, lower suspension and LED lighting; and a NASCAR look, complete with sponsorship decals, a different rear spoiler and larger NASCAR tyres. In fact, more than 30 different VWs were used to create Herbie in this film! There's also a love interest for Herbie when he falls for a yellow Volkswagen Beetle.

To make your car more appealing, Coruba has a range of top-quality vehicle rubber matting. Available in all shapes and sizes and suitable for cars, vans, pick-up trucks or lorries, rubber matting makes it easier to keep the interior of your vehicle clean, while protecting it against wear and tear.

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