The real Herbie goes to Smeaton Grange

ALEX Micakovski is one of the lucky people who get to live and breathe their childhood fantasies.

As a youngster, Mr Micakovski grew up watching Walt Disney's 1970s Herbie films.

Herbie is a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle race car that can drive itself and has a mind of its own.

The car is often distinguished by it's red, blue and white race stripes and sticker No.53.

In 2008, Mr Micakovski become a proud owner of one of the seven original Herbies used in making two of the films.

The car was used in Herbie goes to Monte Carlo and Herbie goes Bananas.

Mr Micakovski said it was his childhood dream to own a real Herbie.

"As a kid I thought it was cool the car could drive itself around," he said. "I wished Herbie could drive to Australia so he could drive me around!

"My first car was a Volkswagen Beetle and I tried to do it up as Herbie. I just kept saving my money and then I saw the original up for sale and thought why get a replica when I can have the real deal."

Mr Micakovski spent two years restoring his car in America where he bought it. He said it needed quite a bit of work done to make it roadworthy in Australia.

"In the movies, the car would sit and turn in circles so I had to change the steering so I could drive it," he said. "It needed a new paint job, new stripes and numbers. I had to get used to driving on the left-hand side. I used to grab for the window winder thinking it was the gear stick. But I'm used to it all now."

He said Herbie was popular in Australia and regularly is shown at events.

"It's pretty unique but not everyone's cup of tea. There are only 21 Herbies left — seven of those are in private hands," he said. "I take Herbie to events like Camp Quality and Parkinson's NSW, the Easter Show. Some fans are even crazier about the movies than I am."

To add to his collection of Herbie memorabilia he also has a mini go-kart that was used in Herbie Rides Again and three original movie scripts.

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