Movie Fanatic Builds Replica 'Herbie' for $3,600

A movie fanatic in England built a replica Herbie for $3,600.

Ross Nicholson, 27, bought a 1972 Beetle for $2,400 on Facebook Marketplace and painstakingly tracked down authentic accessories to make it resemble the cult race car from the iconic Disney movie The Love Bug.

Film buff Nicholson said going out in Herbie sparks a wave of affection from other drivers, including fellow VW geeks who flash their lights at him.

He often sees parents telling their kids about the car, and said it has taken a bit of getting used to.

Ross Nicholson makes replica Herbie VW car
Ross Nicholson, 27, bought a 1972 Beetle for $2,400 on Facebook Marketplace and painstakingly tracked down authentic accessories to make it resemble the cult race car from the iconic Disney movie. Katielee Arrowsmith/Zenger

Other film props which Nicholson has replicated include a 6.5-foot Terminator, which took six months to make in his garage in Gorebridge, Midlothian, England.

Nicholson spent $600 on transporting Herbie up from London, another $240 on vinyl stickers to go on the white paintwork, $360 on a new carpet, and used his own skills along with a friend to give the engine some TLC.

He spent $240 on a race stick-shift that is a replica of the original used in Herbie, made by American firm GMPI, and $120 on making the wheels look identical, using stickers to recreate Goodyear GT Radials, which are so old they are no longer produced.

He plans to save up for a 2.5-liter "cage engine" to replace the 1300cc one that came with the Beetle - which now is identical to the Love Bug in the 1963 Disney film.

"When I got it, the body had been painted white, the car was originally blue," Nicholson said.

"It was partially renovated, the previous owners had it completely redone. When I got it, the seats inside were for a Porsche.

Ross Nicholson makes replica Herbie VW car
Ross Nicholson, 27, bought a 1972 Beetle for $2,400 on Facebook Marketplace and painstakingly tracked down authentic accessories to make it resemble the cult race car from the iconic Disney movie. Katielee Arrowsmith/Zenger

"I got a new carpet, a new gearstick, the stripes were huge vinyl stickers.

"Cosmetically all the work is done now but I would like to replace the engine.

"It looks pretty good now, Herbie is fun to go out in, when people see him they always smile.

"I went out with a pal in the car and everyone was waving and he was saying 'it will take a bit of getting used to.'

"I make props from my favorite films but Herbie has been constant, every day.

"It needed a substantial amount of engine work but I did that with a friend, I've had a lot of modified cars."

Nicholson has been making props for fun since 2007, including a remote control from Back to the Future which lights up, and a gun from Alien.

He also made an initiation pistol from Robocop, and either sells them or finds they are in demand from friends.

He plans to take Herbie to car rallies this summer.

"We've been doing a lot of car shows with it," Nicholson said. "I drive it into work a couple of times a week and to my parents.

"It's 50 years old and I had never driven anything that old myself, I remember being nervous to drive it at first."

Ross Nicholson makes replica Herbie VW car
Ross Nicholson, 27, bought a 1972 Beetle for $2,400 on Facebook Marketplace and painstakingly tracked down authentic accessories to make it resemble the cult race car from the iconic Disney movie. Katielee Arrowsmith/Zenger

"It's actually pretty good, it's nice to drive. I thought it would be old and rickety," he said, adding the car is exempt from road tax and inspections because of its age.

"If you are out in a Beetle and you see someone else driving an old VW they always flash their lights and wave.

"It's like an unofficial club."

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This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.