Shell Love Bug Description

Shell Love Bug front hood seashells-2

This 2005 convertible Volkswagen beetle is the ultimate symbol for the love of seashells and shelling… hence the name Shell Love Bug.  Most of the shells used to make this shelldazzled masterpiece are from the personal collection of Pam and Clark Rambo, Sanibel Shell crafters and oodles of shells donated by other obsessed shellers. This is the biggest mobile Sailors Valentine on the planet!

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How Shell Love Bug was Born

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The beaches of Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach are known world wide as having the best beaches in the nation for finding seashells. People from all over the planet come to Lee County to see thousands of seashells wash up on the beach with each wave. After collecting a few shells, one tends to get obsessed by finding over 300 different seashells varieties as well as realizing beach combing is therapeutic for the mind and body so that eventually one becomes a “sheller”.  In 2016, Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau had the brilliant idea of officially making June 20 of each year National Seashell Day to “shellebrate” this wonderful hobby of collecting shells.

Lee VCB asked local “shellebrity” Pam Rambo of how she could help kick off the first annual National Seashell Day with a bang. Pam had the idea of having a car encrusted with seashells to make the largest Sailors Valentine ever on record. Lee VCB took a leap of faith, bought a VW convertible then handed it over to Pam. Within 6 weeks, Pam’s envision of a shelldazzled art car masterpiece came to fruition.

As Pam says… “I had lots of help. Especially Lee VCB wth their willingness to help at any moment, the talent of Sanibel Shell Crafters, shellers who donated shells, the many shellers in the community who helped glue shells, the encouragement of the shelling community and especially the love and support of my husband Clark… we call him Super Sheller Clark. Oh and he found the junonia on the hood… and most of the wentletraps that make up the sand dollar designs… and most of the horse conchs… and…..haha”

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Shell Love Bug seashell car driver side-2

Who designed Shell Love Bug?

Pam Rambo of is the artistic and creative force behind Shell Love Bug. She conceptualized the idea, the overall design, identified specific shell species for the background layers and featured components, and created paper patterns to guide placement of shells for the Sailor’s Valentine heart and individual seashell art pieces. Rambo also created the bumper ladybug, dashboard monarch butterfly, Shell Love Bug front plate, and Worm Shell rearview mirror art. She gratefully credits 65 volunteers for their talents, time and hard work in helping to collect, clean, sort and glue shells which brought Shell Love Bug to life.  She gives special recognition to members of Sanibel Shell Crafters who donated shells and hours of glueing.  Several of these talented ladies worked closely with Rambo to assemble the featured heart and seashell art. (Volunteer pictures link here)

How many hours were spent sorting and adhering shells?

Rambo and the volunteers dedicated over 1,200 glueing hours to the project, which was completed in 34 days.

How many shells are on Shell Love Bug?

Over 20,000 shells adorn the beetle, all of which are native to Southwest Florida beaches.

How many species of shells does Shell Love Bug feature?


How are the shells attached to the car?  

Over 100 tubes of Marine GOOP were used for the shell application process.

How much do the shells weigh?

The combined weight of the glue and shells is over 200 pounds.

Can Shell Love Bug be washed?

Yes, the car can be hosed off with fresh water and soap, using a soft brush for details.

Who owns Shell Love Bug?

The Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau owns the 2005 VW Beetle and provides ongoing operational maintenance for promotional appearances throughout the county.  Pam Rambo ( ) and Lee VCB work jointly in the partnership of Shell Love Bug.

How can I see Shell Love Bug?

Following its debut on 2016 National Seashell Day, Shell Love Bug will appear at designated locations and special events throughout Lee County.  Check the Calendar of Events (CLICK HERE FOR link) regularly for updates.







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