Volo Auto Museum

Volo, Illinois

Article and photos by Larry Crain

When I first heard about the Volo Auto Museum, I didn’t know what to expect. Turns out with 35 acres of automotive history and memorabilia, the Volo Auto Museum is one of those hidden gems that gearheads love to find. Every time I’m in the area visiting family, I just gotta visit them to see what’s new on display!

Established in 1960, the location of this unique museum is just off State Highway 12 in Volo, Illinois, just northwest of Chicago. The museum grounds cover such a large area that you actually need one of their maps to find your way from building to building. My very first visit to Volo was in winter, so luckily many of these buildings are attached to one another. Winter in Chicago? Yup, this Southern boy was COLD!

These buildings contain something for just about everyone that loves automotive history including pre-war classics, “Tom’s Garage” that features early Fords dating from the 1920’s and earlier, plus a whole building devoted to military vehicles.  There are also buildings that contain collector cars like Camaros, Mustangs, Challengers, Tri-5 Chevys - many on consignment for sale.

If you are looking for older restored vehicles for sale, there is a building full of everything from early Corvette’s to Wood Wagon’s.

At the time I visited in the summer of 2016, the main exhibit hall had a rare collection of Duesenbergs on display that had to be seen to be believed.

If you love movies that feature cars, there are two huge buildings full of Hollywood movie cars and their set pieces. The Fast and the Furious, Dukes of Hazzard, Bonnie and Clyde, Grease, The Munsters, Star Wars, Transformers…and on and on!

Another building is set aside just for cars of the rich and famous. This building includes one of Carrol Shelby’s newer Cobra’s.

This great facility is not just your ordinary museum; there is an outdoor event site that includes a stage, concession stands and plenty of parking for a car show which many local clubs have used. A few summers ago, I told you I visit them a lot, we stumbled across a Mustang car show being held on the grounds.

When you get hungry there is Betty’s Diner that offers food and drinks all set in a 50’s décor. Besides the automotive side of the Volo Auto Museum there is an antique mall on site with over 300 vendors, some of which carry auto memorabilia. My wife isn’t much of a shopper, yes guys, you read that right…but she loves this place. So let the wife shop while you enjoy the cars!

If you are in the Chicago area, take the time to visit the Volo Auto Museum. It might be on a back road but it is well worth the detour. Be sure you have plenty of time because your visit will probably run several hours or more.

www.volocars.com or 815-385-3644

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