Architect Envisions Habitat For Herbie

November 2, 2011
The United Arab Emirates is both car heaven and hell. The Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park celebrates all things Maranello, while the heartbreak of a sun-baked and dust-caked Enzo abandoned in Dubai is all too fresh in our minds.

So what chance does a 1963 Volkswagen have here?

We'll know soon enough, if Graham Henderson has his way.  According to The New York Times, the Dubai-based architect envisions a theme park centered around Herbie, title car and character of The Love Bug.

For those too young to have seen Disney's 1968 film and its sequels--or for anyone who steered clear of 2005's Herbie: Fully Loaded with, coincidentally, Lindsay Lohan--the storyline is simple. An underdog race driver discovers an unloved Beetle and its self-possessive powers, and together they take to the track and persevere against evil rivals.

Henderson may be able to relate. Said to own a Herbie replica and race Beetles himself, we have to presume he faces an uphill battle to build the theme park and its Herbiedome central-attraction, given the niche appeal and global economy.

There's no comment on project funding or of Disney licensing the rights, but an undeterred Henderson hints an unnamed American source has a "potential consignment" of seven film-featured Herbies to serve as rides around a closed course.

We'll say it again: the United Arab Emirates is both car heaven and hell.

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