The man owns the original VW Herbie and travels to Leicester to spread the ‘Love Bug’ joy.

A VW Beetle superfan has shelled out thousands to own one of the original Herbie movie cars. Luke Theochari has had a lifelong passion for the beloved Bugs and after acquiring one of the iconic models from the Herbie franchise, has since traveled the UK, including Leicester, to share the joy of ‘Love Bug’.

Herbie first drove on cinema screens in the 1969 classic The Love Bug, and it was then that 10-year-old Luke developed a passion for cars – but it was Herbie who really captured his heart, the Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own. The famous car had a classic cream paint job with bold red, white and blue racing stripes and is an icon of cinema history, reports SWNS.

Luke dreamed of one day owning his own Herbie and 55 years later that dream has come true. Luke bought his Herbie from an American owner who then shipped him across the pond. He said: “When I’m driving down the street, people are shouting ‘Herbie! Herbie!’, but they don’t realize it’s the real car. That makes it a little easier to move around.”

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Luke’s Herbie is one of three cars used in the first film and was codenamed H2. It was built specifically for the film’s racing scenes, with an uprated Porsche 356 engine and loaded with performance upgrades, including four-wheel Porsche finned brakes, Koni shock absorbers and a suspension system that could handle some serious cornering of the road.

The Love Bug | Unofficial Official Trailer | Disney+

Luke, who is from west London, has been restoring and repairing VW Beetles for nearly four decades. The H2 is the centerpiece of his car collection, but Luke is keen to share the ‘Love Bug’ with as many people as possible and it always gets attention.

He said: “When I park at the shops people come and look at the car and when I used to go to the cafe in the morning the workmen – those very serious builders and roofers would say ‘Hi Herbie!’ and they would go and talk in the car.”

Luke’s VW Beetle was specially built for the racing scenes in The Love Bug(Image: © SWNS)

Away from trips to the shops, the 65-year-old is touring the UK to bring the joy of Herbie to as many people as possible. This included a 212-mile round trip to Leicester for a sick three-year-old boy who was a die-hard Herbie fan.

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