Executives of the Volo Auto Museum
Greg Grams, Founder and President
Bill Grams, VP, Pre-War Sales
Jay Grams, VP, Sales
In 1960, William Grams moved his family to a 30-acre dairy farm in Volo, Illinois and established a used-furniture business. Eventually, the property and the business would evolve to become the Volo Auto Museum.
William and his two sons, Greg and Bill, loved to tinker with old cars. Bill's first car was a 1929 Packard Coupe that he purchased at a junkyard and restored to showroom condition. Greg was 12 when his father bought him a Ford Model-T for $30. While Bill was away at Monmouth University, William and Greg started buying up junk cars. Soon, the family's uninsulated, gravel-floored warehouse was packed with pre-war cars and parts.
Bill used his connections with several antique automobile clubs to spread the word about the growing collection of unrestored gems. Soon people were coming from all over to see the brothers' display. Visitors began to leave their cars behind for the Grams to display to other auto enthusiasts or sell on consignment.
The brothers started buying, fixing and selling antique cars. Their first big score was a 1931 Chrysler Roadster purchased for $300 and sold for $25,000. Greg used the money to turn the warehouse into a proper showroom with concrete floors, wood paneling and heat. The Volo Auto Museum was born. Greg and Bill became the industry's foremost experts in purchasing and selling collectible automobiles.
In the mid-80s, Greg expanded the museum to showcase and sell the cars of the 60s and early 70s. When the muscle-car market exploded in the late 80s, Greg invested the profits back into his business. The simple warehouse grew to five climate-controlled showrooms. The dairy-farm dirt was replaced with shade trees, flower gardens and winding brick walkways. He also added a food court and gift shop. Today, more than 500,000 people visit the family's complex each year.
After several recessions killed the furniture business, Bill turned the failing furniture store into five successful antique malls. Today, he manages the malls and heads the sales and promotion of the museum's pre-war cars.
A master marketer and promoter, Greg established www.volocars.com in 1997. The site quickly grew into an Internet sales leader of collectible automobiles. Greg again invested back into the museum, boosting the entertainment factor with several legendary cars from American movies and television shows, such as the General Lee from "The Dukes of Hazzard" and Eleanor from "Gone in 60 Seconds."