Dean Jones credits the film's success to the fact that it was the last live-action film that Walt Disney had authorized for production.
Dean Jones who plays Jim Douglas in the movie, also plays the role of the hippy in the drive-in scene.
According to the filmmakers in the DVD documentary, Herbie's #53 comes from star baseball pitcher Don Drysdale of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
During the exchange between Jim Douglas and Mr. Wu while hanging from Herbie's rear bumper: "Car very strong." "And very fast." "The strength of forty horses." The stock Volkswagen Beetle engine did have forty horsepower.
Herbie got his name when the crew of the film was watching one of Buddy Hackett's skits about a ski instructor with a funny accent. Then Hackett said, "If you ain't got a herbie pronounced hoy-bie, I ain't goin'." The name stuck.
Herbie The Love Bug was a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle deluxe ragtop sedan painted in Volkswagen L87 pearl white. Under normal circumstances, the interior would be a matching white. However, Herbie's interior was painted a special non-reflective grey color so the camera and studio lights would not reflect.
Herbie's license plate is OFP-857; his number is 53.
The backdrop in the race scenes is of the Riverside International Raceway.
The only existing "trick" Herbie from the movie which can do everything that Herbie is known for, like squirting oil and opening his doors by himself, is owned by Dean Jones.
The yellow "Thorndike Special" was an Apollo GT. Apollos were built in Pasadena, California. The body shells were fabricated in Italy and shipped to the US, where aluminum Buick 215 CID V8 engines were installed. The same company later made another sports car called the Intermeccanica Italia. One of these appears in the Disney movie The Million Dollar Duck.
When beginning production of the film, Disney set up a casting call for about a dozen cars, and kept them outside the studios for the crew to examine during their breaks. Among the lineup were Toyotas, Volvos, and of course, the pearl white Volkswagen Beetle. When the crew walked by to inspect the cars, they would kick the tires and grab the steering wheel to see how it handled. However, when they came across the Volkswagen, they began to pet it, and so the Beetle got the job.