Ever-expanding Volo Auto Museum is year-round destination
VOLO — Andy Schwarz remembers when the Volo Auto Museum had just one building.
He loved it then, bought a membership, and, 25 years later, he’s still among the place’s most frequent visitors. Schwarz said he can’t wait to take in the ever-expanding collection, now situated throughout seven distinct showrooms.
“I generally go once a week, believe it or not,” the Prairie Grove resident said. “There’s always going to be something new.”
Whether you’re in the market to buy an antique or classic car, consign one, or just stroll around and take in the polished, gleaming sights, the museum at 27582 Volo Village Road is the place to be.
These days the Volo Auto Museum features everything from Hollywood cars, a brand new kid-friendly showroom, antique kiddy rides, a trolley, theaters, a food court offering beer and specialty drinks, a military museum and so much more.
“People who were here a couple of years ago and say ‘Oh, I’ve been there,’ well, no, you haven’t,” said Museum Director Brian Grams, noting that just in the last few months the museum has added a grand exhibit hall and a new, freestanding, 10,000-square-foot showroom.
Most of the cars at the museum are for sale, meaning the inventory is continually refreshed. Add to that the new spaces, and today there is more to see than ever — all in climate-controlled buildings that make a trip to the Volo Auto Museum a year-round best bet.
Have kids? Children’s eyes are sure to grow wide in the new showroom geared especially toward them, Grams said.
“It’s going to be fun in there,” Grams said.
Not only will the showroom feature many of Volo’s most whimsical cars like the amazing Seuss-mobile, it also boasts roughly $150,000 worth of Disney statues and statuettes, as well as Buzz Lightyear and Winnie the Pooh rides.
“Each statue set will be in a movie background,” said Grams, the father of two daughters ages 4 and 8. “These used to be on display in Disney stores.”
Those stores nationwide began liquidating the statues in favor of stocking more merchandise, Grams said. So he started snapping them up and acquired nearly 14 complete sets.
“I know that the kids want to go to a place that’s fun for them and not just fun for me, and vice versa,” Grams continued. “We’re trying to make this a place that everyone can enjoy.”
More interested in the classics? Antiques? Volo does not disappoint. From a replica of an 1886 Benz, credited as the world’s first automobile, to classic Mustangs, Corvettes and Cadillacs, row after row of vehicular eye candy gleams.
Visitors will find plenty of celebrity- and movie-associated autos, too, such as the Lotus used in “Pretty Woman,” the Miami Vice “Ferrari,” even the truck from “The Beverly Hillbillies.” These are just a few of the dozens of Star Cars in Volo’s collection.
And in the new grand exhibit hall, the 50-year anniversary of the Lamborghini and 100-year anniversary of the Duesenberg are celebrated in high style.
The Volo Auto Museum also is a great place for car club gatherings. Frequently it is the site of celebrity guest visits, such as the upcoming June 29 John Schneider appearance, and specialty car shows, like the July 6 Voodoo Kings Car Club show featuring flame-throwers and rockabilly music.
“I don’t care what sex you are or what age you are,” Grams said. “You will find something here that will put a smile on your face.”
Schwarz, who owns several collector cars, including a ’36 Chevy Master Deluxe and a ’65 T-bird, couldn’t agree more. The retired chef said he loves everything about the Volo Auto Museum, especially the family-friendly atmosphere.
“Every time I’ve seen little kids there, they’re going ‘Gosh, dad, that really is a cool car!’” he said. “There’s always one you really like, and it doesn’t last long.”