The History of Herbie

We got Herbie No. I exactly six years ago. On May 31, 2006, Leopold Katzmayer, an older gentleman from our hometown Klosterneuburg, sold the Love Bug to Domi. But at that time he had no racing stripes or even gumballs with the number “53”. After Domi found out that his “new” Beetle has the very same age and color as the original Herbie from the movies, he decided to shape his “Vee Dub” just like that.

Herbie was gaining his stardom already before his transformation. In summer 2006 he won his first award, getting elected the most original as well as beautiful vehicle at the grand air-cooled Volkswagen meeting in Vienna, Austria (see picture below). Just one year later, Herbie prevailed at his very first rally he participated in (see article above). Back then, he already had his friend, “QEK Junior” the camper, in tow.

Herbie got his first registration on March 15, 1963, after he was made in Wolfsburg.

The color of Herbie is ivory (or pearl white). The international color code is “L87”.

The engine: 34 hp (horsepower), 25 kW (kilowatt) and 1,192 cc (cubic centimeter).

The Love Bug got an original venetian blinds jalousie by “Gradulux” from France.

Meanwhile there is a Herbie No. II as well as another “QEK Junior” camper to pull.

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Stop at the Barbershop

Domi had his last hair cut in summer 2009, just before we went on traveling. While we were on the road, he let his hair grow. Yesterday he eventually met the barber again.

The cropped plait you see above will be donated to an aid organization producing high-quality wigs for cancer patients who lost their hair due chemotherapy.

That’s how Domi looked from the back before he went to the hairdresser the other day. The last visit at a coiffeur was in our Austrian hometown already three years ago.

It was a historical moment for Domi and his hair. The barber is cutting off his long grown braid. That took him quite a while, because Domi’s hair is so rich and thick.

The hair is gone! But this doesn’t mean that Herbie’s World Tour is over. We are now thinking about what will be next. As soon as we are certain, we’ll let you know.

Flying Home

Only one month to go! We just booked our flight going back home to Vienna, Austria.

So we will take off at the airport of Los Angeles (LAX), California, on June 29, arriving in Vienna on Saturday, June 30. But Herbie’s World Tour will be continued!

Feels Like Home

Yesterday we got back to our camp in Ridgecrest, located in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. For the last four months we were traveling across the USA, Mexico and South America along the “Pan-American Highway”. Herbie made 18,166 miles (29,236 kilometers) going down south and all the way back.

It really feels like home being back in California. Even though we’ll have to fly back to Austria, Herbie already got a resident of Kern County. For the next couple weeks, we’re planning to take Herbie for some rides exploring more of Southern California, before we’ll go home in order to prepare Herbie No. II for another adventure.

Get Your Kicks On Route 66

Today we were following the legendary Route 66 aka the “Mother Road” of America. We took several business loops in order to get through cities like Holbrook, Winslow and Seligman. In New Mexico we crossed the so-called Continental Divide. We ended up in Kingman, Arizona, at the end of the day, but we’ll continue our road trip towards Ridgecrest, Southern California, tomorrow.

Herbie’s Underworld Tour

After traveling the USA for more than sixteen months, we got the chance to visit almost all National Parks across the 48 lower United States. Only a few are missing. Yesterday we explored Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the Southeast of New Mexico.

Later on we headed north on Highway 285 until hitting Interstate 40, which replaces the old Route 66. Even though the so-called “Mother Road”  doesn’t exist anymore, it remains as an important American icon as well as a true legend with all its stories.

Texas Mountain Trail

Following the so-called Texas Mountain Trail towards New Mexico brought us through Guadalupe Mountains National Park. We had a pretty gusty cross wind while gaining height. Road signs got blown away and Domi had to steer very carefully.

Think Small? 150,000 Kilometers!

Herbie is still running. We’ve already driven almost 150,000 kilometers (more than 93,000 miles) around the planet. And Herbie’s World Tour has not even ended yet!

Right now we’re following old American trade routes as well as the legendary Route 66 traveling across the Southwest of the US towards Southern California.

Friends from Paraguay

As posted here before, Herbie got featured in the Paraguayan “ABC Color” magazine. Thanks to Jorge Ortiz from Asunción we just received a copy of the printed version.

ABC Color 1

The Classic VW Club Paraguay also published a story with a lot of photos about our meeting with Osvaldo Espínola, Jorge Ortiz and Natalia Florentin on their website.

We’re still looking back to our terrific experience traveling through Paraguay and meeting such wonderful people like Osvaldo, Jorge and Natalia as well as their Bug.

Herbie’s Wild West

We just arrived in Van Horn, Texas, after crossing the second largest United State. The landscape changed dramatically while Herbie followed old American trade routes.

Tomorrow we’ll head north to Roswell, Artesia and Carlsbad in New Mexico, visiting its Caverns National Park right after crossing the state border on Highway No. 62 or 180.

Our plan is to get further north to the old Route 66 (today’s Interstate 40), heading west across New Mexico and Arizona towards California and our final destination.