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HERBIE GOES TO MONTE CARLO
Paris - city of love, laughter and the Trans-France Race Exposition! Fresh off the boat at Le Havre race driver Jim Douglas (DEAN JONES), his mechanic Wheely Applegate (DON KNOTTS) and HERBIE, their zippy 1963 Sunroof Volkswagen, arrive for the first annual road race from Paris through the French Alps to Monte Carlo. En route to the city Herbie behaves so smartly that he clearly expresses a mind and will of his own.
As American entrants in the international competition, they pull into a gathering of drivers and racing fans. Among them is a most delectable driver, Diane Darcy (JULIE SOMMARS), whom Jim literally bumps into and falls for. Herbie is so obviously out of place next to the gleaming, powerful Ferraris, Maseratis, Porsches and Panteras that he is laughable.
At this moment two museum thieves are busy nearby. Max (BERNARD FOX) and Quincey (ROY KINNEAR) steal L' Etoile de Joie, the most magnificent diamond in the world, but not before setting off a riot of alarms. In the ensuing uproar, during which police surround the museum area and begin searching everyone within reach, Max disposes of L' Etoile by dropping it into Herbie's gasoline tank. The two thieves then watch in dismay as Jim and Wheely drive away.
Renowned police inspector Bouchet (JACQUES MARIN) is called into the case. Secretly he is 'Double X", the mastermind behind the theft. His guile-less young assistant is detective Fontenoy (XAVIER SAINT MACARY), who never misses a detail but always seems to be in the way.
At the qualifying races outside of Paris, Herbie falls hood over wheels in love. He nearly cracks up at the sight of a cool baby blue Lancia Scorpion driven by Diane Darcy, and starts a flirtation with the car that accelerates into romance as they skylark around Paris together. Herbie's behavior exasperates not only Jim and Wheely, but Diane Darcy as well. It hasn't done much for the jewel thieves either. Although Max and Quincey chase Herbie relentlessly, they cannot quite get their hands on him. The news they phone to "Double X" is always bad.
By the morning of the great race Herbie has survived a number of close calls and is more infatuated than ever with Diane's Lancia. Jim and Wheely are being taunted by two champion drivers, Bruno Von Stickle (ERIC BRAEDEN and Claude Gilbert (MIKE KULCSAR), and Diane is still stand-offside. Thus when the starter finally flags the cars on their way they are the last to go, with Max and Quincey as usual in hot pursuit. Nor have Inspector Bouchet and Detective Fontenoy been idle. Bouchet now knows the whereabouts of L'Etoile de Joie, and he is as eager as his hirelings to get into Herbie's gas tank.
The road to Monte Carlo is full of tricky surprises, most of them staged by the diamond thieves as they chase Herbie by car and helicopter. Booby traps and hairbreadth escapes come or after another, while Herbie, Jim and Wheely do their best to stay in the race which is led by Diane, Von Stickle and Gilbert.
They are approaching Monte Carlo when Herbie sputters to a stop. Wheely fishes around in the gas tank and finds L'Etoile de Joie; at the same time Max and Quincey land in their helicopter and jump out to claim the diamond. In the fight that follows the two thieves get the worst of it, but still manage to reach "Double X" (Inspector Bouchet by helicopter phone and tell him that the diamond has been found.
Meanwhile Herbie is streaking toward Monte Carlo, passing rival racecars right and left. All but Diane's front-running Lancia. The baby blue beauty is nowhere to be seen until Jim spots it half-submerged in a canal off the road. The men save Diane from drowning and Herbie does the same for the Lancia. Then, inspired by a pep talk from Diane and weak but affirmative sounds from the object of his affection, Herbie -with Jim and Wheely aboard - rockets off to join the race once more.
Inspector Bouchet, who has flown from Paris, is waiting as Herbie zoom across the finish line in Monte Carlo to win the Trans-France. But Bouchet's plans to pocket L'Etoile de Joie are thwarted by the arrival of Fontenoy and the museum director (FRANCOIS LALANDE). Bouchet is revealed as the crook that he is, and in a last desperate attempt to make off with the diamond he is defeated by Herbie himself.
So all ends well, and happily too. For in Monte Carlo that very night Jim and Diane fall in love, Wheely finds an attractive companion (KATIA TCHENKO), and Herbie resumes his romance with the bewitching Lancia - whose name turns out to be Giselle and who also has a winning mind of her own.
Ó 1977 Walt Disney Productions