Film: The Love Bug

aka: Herbie Goes Bananas

A series of Disney live-action films (the first in the series was one of the last movies personally overseen by Walt Disney himself) concerning the adventures of Sentient Vehicle Herbie, a '63 Volkswagen Beetle with a mind and heart of its own.

The main series consists of:
  • The Love Bug (1968) — Down-on-his-luck racing driver Jim Douglas gets more than he bargained for when he acquires a second-hand Beetle. The car is named "Herbie" by his mechanic, Tennessee Steinmetz, who is the first to realise that the car's odd behavior is more than just an idiosyncratic collection of mechanical faults. Peter Thorndyke, the snooty car salesman and race car driver who sold Herbie to Jim, is driven crazy when Jim starts winning races with his new car. Thorndyke tries to find out the secret of "the little car" while also sabotaging it. Meanwhile, Jim falls in love with Carole, Thorndyke's assistant.
  • Herbie Rides Again (1974) — Herbie is left with Tennessee's aunt while Jim and Tennessee are out of the country, and helps save her home from an evil property developer.
  • Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) — Herbie and Jim reunite for a career comeback in a French car rally. To add to their troubles, jewel thieves hide a stolen diamond in Herbie.
  • Herbie Goes Bananas (1980) — Jim's nephew, Pete Stancheck, takes Herbie to South America for a big race. They encounter gold thieves, bull fights, a heartwarming orphan pickpocket, and some bananas.
  • Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) — Herbie is bought from a junkyard as a college graduation present for Maggie Peyton, the youngest member of a racing family, and maneuvers to become a racing car again.

Herbie also made two forays into television:

  • Herbie, the Love Bug (1982) — Only lasted six episodes. Jim Douglas runs a driving school and romances a divorcee. Watch the opening credits (complete with cheesy theme song sung by Dean Jones/Jim Douglas) here.
  • The Love Bug (1997) — TV movie. Repeats the basic "Herbie helps out a down-on-his-luck driver" plot of the original (it's not a reboot, but more of an example of how events tend to repeat themselves). Bruce Campbell stars and Jim Douglas makes a cameo. An attempt is made to explain why Herbie is alive, but it's nonsensical. This movie is contradicted by Herbie: Fully Loaded, but you can read about it at The Other Wiki here.

This series provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Pickpocket: Paco in Herbie Goes Bananas.
  • The Alleged Car: Jim had a tendency of picking these up at the start of The Love Bug. Herbie also responds negatively to be referred to as one.
  • Anachronism Stew: The later films used Volkswagens past the '63 model Herbie is, which have changes such as larger windows or a slightly differently shaped body, likely due to the difficulty in procuring multiple '63s further and further past their production finished.
  • Angrish: Alonzo Hawk is a master of it.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Notably averted for Grandma Steinmetz in Herbie Rides Again. She doesn't have the same teachings her son Tennesse's does, but she's entirely accepting of the philosophy that mechanical and natural things still have life in them. It helps that Herbie's a pretty strong piece of evidence to the idea.
    • Diane Darcy in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo has quite a hard time believing that Herbie, and indeed her own Lancia, are sentient and capable of driving themselves, despite witnessing quite a bit of odd behavior involving both vehicles. It's only when she witnesses Herbie pulling her Lancia out of a river, and her Lancia making several actions on its own accord, that she finally starts believing.
  • Artistic License Sports: Fully Loaded takes place in what is clearly NASCAR, where Herbie wouldn't have qualified as a pace car.
  • Asian Store-Owner: Mr. Wu in The Love Bug, who takes ownership of Herbie when Herbie plows into his fruit stand, and winds up helping the heroes beat Thorndyke.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Tennessee's conversation with Mr. Wu in the first film.
    • Notably averted in "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo", which had a French production staff and a thanks to the city of France and the principality of Monaco for their cooperation in making the film.
  • Bad Boss: Most of the villains, Thorndyke and especially Alonzo Hawk in particular.
  • Baguette Beatdown: In Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, there is a scene where Herbie is waiting at a stoplight at an intersection when a truck driver gets a French woman carrying some groceries angry at him. She proceeds to pound on the side of the truck with a baguette, causing no obvious damage to the bread or to the truck. It does result in the Love Bug getting dirty.
  • Bears Are Bad News: As Thorndyke's car is stuck in mud and and Havershaw is pushing it out, a bear makes it way into the car, enticed by their food. Because his driving goggles are covered with mud, Thorndyke doesn't realize the bear is in the car until he strikes it and it growls, making him faint.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Herbie has one across the films by being insulted for his looks or capability, his usual retaliation ranging from squirting oil across someone's foot, to honking at them to, if they're inside him, going to mach 20 to prove just how wrong they are. The only people who avoid this are those Herbie has developed an attachment to, and even then usually only if they mean it in an affectionate way.
    • Nicole Harris from Herbie Rides Again has a particularly sensitive one towards Alonzo Hawk - she punches Willoughby when she thought he was harassing Grandma Steinmetz in the jaw, and socked him again with a freshly boiled lobster off the balcony of the seafood establishment into the water below when she learned Willoughby was Hawk's nephew. Willoughby does manage to slowly disengage that button with his genuine and gentle nature though, and Nicole herself recognizes she was in the wrong in both the aforementioned incidents soon after they happened.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Herbie and Grandma Steinmetz get this treatment and then some in Herbie Rides Again; Grandma visits Alonzo Hawk, the man trying to tear down her firehouse, in a window cleaner cart, and, when Hawk refuses to back down, douses him and his entire office in massive amounts of suds. When Hawk hits Herbie, Herbie gets mad, chasing Hawk down inside of his own office! Though Grandma has some fun with this at first, even she finds Herbie going a bit too far when he follows Hawk out on a ledge, outside of the building near the top floor. However, even her attempts to calm Herbie down required some prodding from Whilloughby...which consisted of barely veiled threats to visit a used car lot. note 
  • The Big Race: Often the climax or a pivotal plot point.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Tennessee shouts this in response to Jim agreeing to sell Herbie to Thorndyke:
    Jim: (talking on the phone with Thorndyke) Thorndyke, I don't like you, but I can use your money. You got yourself a deal, Thorndyke. Come and get it. (hangs up)
    Tennessee: What do you mean you got yourself a deal?
    Jim: I'm selling the little car.
    Tennessee: You're what?!
    Jim: Now, don't make a fuss, okay? I need the money.
    Tennessee: You crumb! You can't do that to Herbie!
  • Biker Babe: Maggie in Fully Loaded.
  • Bilingual Backfire: In the first film, Tennessee speaks to Mr. Wu in Chinese (or an approximation of it), and Jim asks Tennessee to ask Mr. Wu if he would let him drive Herbie in the El Dorado race, with the condition that Mr. Wu will keep the winnings. This prompts Mr. Wu to say, in English, "Now you speak my language!".
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo" is filled with French.
  • Bungled Suicide/Interrupted Suicide: At one point a despondent Herbie attempts to leap off the Golden Gate Bridge, a feat made more difficult by the fact that his round wheels don't help him climb very well. His struggles last long enough for Jim to find him and talk him down.
  • Chekhov's Exhibit: The Etoile de Joie diamond in Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo is on display in a museum before it's stolen.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Trip's assistant in Fully Loaded. For the most part he's pretty subdued and calm... Then he's marking up Herbie for the Demolition Derby, and you'd think somewhere between scenes he just completely lost his mind.
    • Captain Blythe in Herbie Goes Bananas.
  • Chew Toy: Havershaw.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: At the end of the original Love Bug Jim and Carole marry and leave for their honeymoon. By the end of Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, however, Jim is dating fellow race car driver Diane Darcy with nary a mention of Carole, despite her being a major character in the first film, and, oh yeah, his wife.
    • Tennesse is also missing in Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo, replaced by a new mechanic entirely named Wheelie. That said, Herbie Rides Again does offer something of an explanation - in that film, Tennesse had to go take care of his guru while Jim went off racing in Europe, leaving his grandmother to take care of the firehouse and Herbie.
  • Cool Car: Herbie, so cool he's his own Badass Driver.
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandma Steinmetz in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Evil property developer Alonzo Hawk in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Alonzo Hawk is this, showing a good understanding of people and their methods both bad and good. The problem is that, understandably, he keeps underestimating the capabilities of one Volkswagen. He develops a healthy fear of Herbie after a point.
  • Darker and Edgier: The 1997 telefilm is considered to be this, due to the presence of the Herbie's Evil Knockoff and Knight of Cerebus Horace and featuring unpleasent living car deaths of Herbie (until he was rebuilt and and revived with the help from his original owner Jim Douglas) and Horace.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat:
    • Thorndyke and his co-driver Havershaw stop to change a road sign, leading Herbie and the rest of the race cars to travel down an old mine. Another time is when Thorndyke rolls a tree in Herbie's path, and ends up stuffed into his trunk.
    • Trip from Herbie: Fully Loaded felt compelled to ram Herbie into the wall even though he was in the lead, causing him to crash spectacularly and allowing Herbie to win the race.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Thorndyke disposes of Tennessee's Irish coffees by pouring them into Herbie. It works, as Thorndyke wins the race the next day because Herbie is drunk.
  • Dog Food Diet: The Love Bug (the first one) has Jim Douglas rooting through the cabinets looking for something to eat. He wonders why they have bird food when they don't even own a bird. He ends up eating pressed kelp.
  • Doomed New Clothes: In The Love Bug, the Irish Coffee-inebriated Herbie projectile-coughs whipped cream all over Thorndyke's freshly-pressed driving uniform. Mind you, it was Thorndyke who poured Irish Coffee into Herbie's system in the first place, so chalk this one up to Laser-Guided Karma.
  • The Driver: Herbie, ironically enough.
  • Drives Like Crazy: What anyone's likely to think of someone popping a wheelie in a Volkswagen Bug, unaware that it's the car itself doing it.
  • Driving a Desk: Used in The Love Bug for all the races as well as for various San Francisco establishing shots.
  • Epic Race:
    • The El Dorado race at the climax of The Love Bug.
    • The Paris-to-Monte Carlo race in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.
    • The California Speedway battle for Herbie: Fully Loaded.
  • Easily Forgiven: Nicole's two points of assault against Willoughby in Herbie Rides Again are fairly quickly forgiven by him, though it helps that she apologizes for the first one after Willoughby proves willing to listen to her side of the story. Even the incident with the boiled lobster is overlooked by Willoughby before she apologizes for both assaults on the beach. It makes some sense though, given these are her only two violent acts onscreen.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Mrs. Steinmetz is known by most people as Grandma, which is fitting given how grandmotherly she is towards most people.
  • Evil Brit: Thorndyke is a snooty, arrogant Brit.
  • Evil Knockoff: Herbie has one briefly in the form of Horace from the TV movie.
  • Faster Than They Look: Herbie in a nutshell, regularly proving that, despite his appearance, he can outrace most professional vehicles and their drivers.
  • Flashback: Herbie's racing career is seen in a Flashback Montage in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Fortune Teller: In Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie rampages through a Gypsy camp. A Gypsy fortune teller tells a horrified client that "Darkness is about to fall on you." The next instant, Herbie hits the tent, collapsing it.
  • Friendly Rival: Diane Darcy in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo...eventually. She starts off frustrated with Jim at the start due to perceived sexism from her being a female race driver (which, to be fair, she could have gotten a fair amount of) and the repeated antics of Herbie with her Lancia and Jim's attempts to explain it only make her understandably more exacerbated towards him. Things hit a peak when Jim confronts her about supposedly hiring gunmen to take them out of the race, when in fact it was for an entirely unrelated incident, leading to her throwing items at Jim while asserting that she'd win the race legitimately. The morning after at the The Big Race, however, Diane finds Jim and they apologize for their respective behaviour, and remain on good terms throughout the rest of the film.
  • Fruit Cart: An erratically driving Herbie plows into a sidewalk fruit stand. Instead of a one-off gag, it turns out to be an important plot point, as the Asian Store-Owner whose display Herbie wrecks finds Herbie and winds up owning him.
    • The Pretzel cart in Herbie Rides Again is a more straight version of the for how Herbie vaults a line of carts with it.
  • Genre Shift:
    • Herbie Rides Again has virtually no racing in it, save for Herbie escaping Alonzo Hawk and his men at various points; it's instead about Tennessee's mother watching over the firehouse and Herbie while also dealing with Alonzo Hawk.
    • Herbie Goes Bananas likewise has little racing in it, shifting very early on to having Herbie dropped off a ship by the overzealous captain for a public embarrassment to an ancient gold plot Herbie and a plucky Mexican boy named Paco have to stop.
  • Giggling Villain: Thorndyke in The Love Bug has a high-pitched giggle that he breaks into when he's up to no good.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Alonzo Hawk shatters the glass of a phone booth with his angrish over the phone in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Thorndyke makes a wager with Mr. Wu after the latter becomes Herbie's owner and sponsor, offering the man his own dealership if Herbie won and buying back Herbie if Douglas and his team lost the race. Unfortunately for Thorndyke, he and Havershaw are ultimately reduced to ordinary mechanics in their own shop when Herbie triumphs; Havershaw lampshades this foolish move, adding insult to injury.
  • Hypocritical Humor: All through the El Dorado race in The Love Bug, Thorndyke goes out of his way with cheating in order to make Jim lose. But towards the end, Herbie is leading but also literally falling apart, and is blocking Thorndyke's car, making him say "Rotten sportsmanship if you ask me!".
  • I Choose to Stay: Diane's Lancia in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, refusing to leave without Herbie, requiring Wheelie to make up a story that Herbie was just playing her. Herbie in turn roams around the starting area looking for the Lancia, and has to be told a similar lie before he'll start racing. The lie nearly backfires horribly when, near the middle of the race, Diane skids into a river and nearly drowns in her own car, Herbie refusing to go back and help until Jim admits to the lie. Herbie and the Lancia rekindle this trope once he pulls her free, though he's convinced to win the race for her.
  • Implausible Boarding Skills: Herbie goes surfing in Herbie Rides Again and imitates skateboarding tricks in Fully Loaded
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: From Love Bug;
    Peter Thorndyke: What part of Ireland did you say your mother came from?
    Tennessee Steinmetz: Coney Ireland. [starts laughing]
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: Herbie's only method of communication is honking/beeping. Understood by specific people: Tennessee in the first movie, Grandma Steinmetz and Nicole in the second, Jim in the third, Paco in the fourth.
    • This provides for a humorous scene in Herbie Goes Bananas, since nobody knows he's named Herbie. Paco asks for his name, and all Herbie can do is give two prolonged honks (Her...bie!, so to speak). Note that when we say Paco can "understand" him, we don't mean literal English translations.
  • "King Kong" Climb: One of Alonzo's nightmares in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Horace from the TV movie.
  • Land Poor: Mrs. Steinmetz in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Large Ham: Almost all the villains in the Herbie films, with particular reference to Peter Thorndyke and Alonzo Hawk from the first two films.
  • Love Imbues Life: Tennessee's theory as to Herbie's origins, made "canon" in the 1997 TV movie.
  • Luminescent Blush: Herbie gets one at the climax of Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, after being kissed by the museum director for saving the diamond and stopping the crooks. Even the characters who observe it are confused, if not amused by it.
  • Made of Iron: Pun side, even compared to other cars in the movies, Herbie takes a beating and still manages to come away with, at most, superficial damage. Even when he was reduced to a rusted heap in Herbie Goes Bananas he still managed to find it in himself to start running to full power again. Most of the time anyways. The movie with Bruce Campbell has Herbie come on the other side of this, when Horace...takes umbrage with Herbie.
  • Magic Bus: Herbie
  • The Matchmaker: Herbie has elements of this in various films, though The Love Bug (1968) and Herbie Rides Again has the strongest of them. Herbie Rides Again also has Grandma Steinmetz, who works with Herbie to help bring Willoughby and Nicole together.
  • Mean Brit: Peter Thorndyke in The Love Bug and Simon Moore III in The Love Bug (1997)
  • Motorcycle Jousting: The Knights in Herbie Rides Again, who joust in cars.
  • Multiple-Choice Past:
    • The Love Bug: We are given every reason to expect that Herbie is the only sentient car in the world. Tennessee theorizes that what with all the love and attention some people give their cars, once in a while sentience will be granted to it. Compare The Velveteen Rabbit.
    • Herbie Rides Again: All older-style Volkswagen Beetles are sentient. They can be summoned in a sequence similar to the "Twilight Bark" from The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Grandma Steinetz also has a orchestrion and a retired cable car known as Old No. 22, both similarly sentient if immobile items that Herbie has either rescued or made friends with. Unusually, Old No. 22 seems to only be able to ring its bell - Willoughby needs to pull its brakes himself to get it to stop when it's rolling downhill.
    • Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo: Sentient cars are extremely rare, but Herbie isn't unique, nor do they have to be Volkswagen Beetles. He falls in love with Giselle, a Lancia Scorpion.
    • Herbie Goes Bananas: Once again Herbie is the only sentient car seen, but the issue of others like him is never brought up. It's possible that they exist.
    • The Love Bug (1997 TV movie): Herbie is unique. He was specifically created to be sentient via The Power of Love. Horace the Hate Bug is created via The Power of Hate, but a "seed" from Herbie was required.
    • Herbie Fully Loaded: The topic is never brought up, though Herbie is seen going on a "date" at the end with a modern Beetle, which he had been given a part from as an emergency earlier in the film.
  • Multi-Track Drifting: Herbie in Herbie: Fully Loaded, most especially the final NASCAR racing sequence where the anthropomorphic Volkswagen was seen climbing onto the fence above the wall, trying to avoid being trade-painted.
  • My Car Hates Me: One of those cases where it's more than just a metaphor. Herbie refusing to start at a really inopportune moment because his feelings have been hurt happens at least once a movie.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: A minor version, but Herbie keeps coming up with new, increasingly impossible tricks he can employ for the movies. This ranges from driving up walls (or ceilings), vaulting long distances by using other cars as ramps, to outright bending his own body in ways cars were not meant to in Herbie Goes Bananas.
  • Nice Guy: Willoughby Whitfield in Herbie Rides Again; it's what helps him get into a relationship with Nicole, despite his blood-ties to Alonzo Hawk.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Alonzo Hawk's crazy dreams in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Not Actually The Ultimate Question: In The Love Bug, when Jim and Carole find out that the VW Bug has a mind of its own, and it won't let either of them exit the car, Carole tries to call for help from some hippies in the van parked next to them:
    Carole: Help, I'm a prisoner! I can't get out!
    Hippie: We all prisoners, chickee-baby. We all locked in.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now: The Love Bug features the villain's henchman telling him "You can't lose, sir! You can't possibly lo...", trailing off as he sees that Herbie (half of him anyway) is passing them right before the finish line. Later the villain tells him "Couldn't lose, I think you said."
    • Alonzo Hawk in Herbie Rides Again makes a habit of employing this attitude, at least until he discovers just how much of an obstacle a certain little car can be.
  • Oh, Crap: Any time Herbie takes a disliking to someone usually results in this.
    • Alonzo Hawk in Herbie Rides Again when asked to confirm the false address of his next demolition:
    Alonzo: Of course it is, you moron. I know it like I know my own address! .....Wait a minute. It IS my own address!
  • Oil Slick: Employed in "The Love Bug" against Herbie to great effect.
  • Only The Chosen May Ride: An interesting take occurs in the first movie. Herbie, the titular vehicle is a living car that moves on its own, has emotions, and even speaks to some degree (albeit only through use of his horn). He decides for himself who he'll let drive him, and anyone he doesn't like could just as easily be thrown out of the seat.
    • Also interestingly, Alonzo Hawk actually managed to break into Herbie and drive him around...only for Herbie to halt and cause several accidents when insulted by Hawk, absolutely refusing to move despite several police cars attempting to move him. One has to wonder if Herbie was simply curious enough to allow it before that point, given his refusal to be stolen by two similarly determined men in Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo.
  • Plucky Girl: Nicole Harris is one, going from stopping an airplane hijacker with a bottle of wine to regularly deterring people sent by Alonzo Hawk from harassing Grandma Steinmetz. She's also a more reasonable one, regularly trying to deter Grandma Steinmetz's more drastic reactions.
  • Product Displacement: In the first movie, there are no VW emblems anywhere on Herbie and the words "VW", "Beetle", and "Volkswagen" are never uttered; the characters call him "Herbie" or "the little car". According to The Other Wiki, VW allowed Disney to use its trademarks and logos beginning with Herbie Rides Again, as the Bug's sales were in decline.
  • Road Sign Reversal:
    • Happens in The Love Bug, sending Herbie (and everyone behind him) into a mine instead of along a mountain road.
    • In Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, the misdirecting arrow sends our heroes onto a very narrow cliff edge and almost causes them to die via avalanche.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Alonzo Hawk attempted to steal Herbie in Herbie Rides Again, and stole Grandma Steinmetz's belongings, she makes a visit to Alonzo Hawk...with a window cleaner cart with Herbie inside. Hawk then makes the very poor choice of making Herbie angry, which involves chasing Hawk down in his own office while it's full of suds. Even Grandma Steinmetz has trouble calming Herbie down, having to resort to making barely veiled threats of visiting a used car lot, albeit with some prodding.
  • Running Gag: Thorndyke in The Love Bug getting splattered with various unpleasant things, like Herbie's oil and the Irish coffee that Herbie burps up. This shows up in the other films as well.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl:
    • Tennessee Steinmetz from The Love Bug, in the scene where he and Carole are trying to keep Herbie balanced after he (Herbie) lost a tire.
    • Thorndyke. Particularly when he encounters the bear in his car.
  • Sentient Vehicle:
    • Herbie
    • In Herbie Rides Again, every Volkswagen Beetle in the city comes to help out at the climax.
    • The Lancia later named Giselle Herbie falls in love with in Monte Carlo.
    • The TV movie introduces (and disposes of) Herbie's evil counterpart, Horace.
    • Sally's New Beetle
  • Serial Escalation: Alonzo Hawk goes through several, increasingly illegal levels in Herbie Rides Again, all committed in the name of his monstrosity of an office building. Unusually for a comedy, Hawk's reasoning is actually elaborated somewhat - he's paying 80,000 dollars a day to a wrecking and building company, who constantly calls him asking when they can get to work, whether or not they actually have any building to do, and that's set before inflation. note 
  • Sore Loser: Thorndyke whenever he loses a race to Herbie in The Love Bug, and Trip Murphy at the end of Fully Loaded.
  • Spanner in the Works: Herbie tends to be this to both friends and foes. To be fair, it is hard to predict the actions of a living car that can't speak, much less that one exists.
  • Suppressed Mammaries: Lindsay Lohan's bust was digitally reduced for Fully Loaded to avoid 'offending' audiences.
  • Sycophantic Servant:
    • Havershaw in The Love Bug.
    • Loostgarten in Herbie Rides Again.
  • This Is What the Building Will Look Like: The Hawk Plaza in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The 1997 TV movie had Herbie face-off against a "Hate Bug" in all-black which resembled a KdF-Wagen with wartime blackout lights.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody seems to take interest when Herbie drives around without someone behind the wheel, despite having no tinted windows and often driving in broad daylight, unless they're part of the main cast. The only exception is a waiter in "Herbie Rides to Monte Carlo", who witnesses and is duly shocked by Herbie's attempts to woo the Lancia.
    • Likewise, the police are never involved if and when Herbie pulls a wheelie and races down a public road and through traffic - nobody is ever hurt in these incidents, but it's still a massive traffic violation.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The "Hate Bug" Horace from the telefilm, who is an outright monstrous villain, filled with pure evil in comparison to the previous Laughably Evil villains in the past theatrical films.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Nicole's general method to detering those who'd harass Grandma Steinmetz in Herbie Rides Again. It also also helps convince Willoughby that his uncle's really not the generous man that his mother had led him to believe (although Hawk's aggressive angrish and shattering glass with his enraged yell over the phone sealed the deal there). That said, actual violence from her is rather limited, and she does prove to be a pretty nice person when Hawk isn't involved.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • Mr. Thorndyke, at least until his customers and employees find out firsthand what kind of man he is.
    • Alonzo Hawk, who spares no expense to elevate his image with the upper classes of society even as he is actively uprooting the citizens of San Francisco to add more to his self-styled empire; his own nephew awarded him a humanitarian award, having been raised to view his uncle as a giant among men before learning from an unbiased perspective what a monster he actually is.
  • Walk on Water: Herbie drives on water in Herbie Rides Again, albeit while being partially submerged in it.
    • The Love Bug features a variant on the trope, where Herbie instead skips across a pond like a rock. He still needs to actually drive out by the end though.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Herbie is considered to be junk by many characters; it's one of the fastest way to trigger a My Car Hates Me response. As per the trope, of course, there's much more to him than appearance suggests.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In The Love Bug, Carole gives one of these to Jim about his racing success, which was actually Herbie's doing.
  • Woman Scorned: Grandma Steinmetz, understandably so, after Alonzo Hawk ilegally stole all her belongings on top of his constant hounding of her property in Herbie Rides Again.
  • Wrote the Book: In Herbie Rides Again, Alonzo claims to have written the book on harassment.

Alternative Title(s):

Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas, Herbie Fully Loaded