Volo Museum exhibit pays homage to popular National Lampoon films

  • Volo Museum Director Brian Grams, left, helps offload the "National Lampoon's Animal House" Corvette from a trailer after the museum purchased the car this fall. It is part of a special "Christmas Vacation" exhibit running through Jan. 2.

    Volo Museum Director Brian Grams, left, helps offload the "National Lampoon's Animal House" Corvette from a trailer after the museum purchased the car this fall. It is part of a special "Christmas Vacation" exhibit running through Jan. 2. Courtesy of Volo Museum

 
 
Posted12/17/2021 12:04 PM

Bluto Blutarsky meet Clark Griswold when the Volo Museum tips its Santa hat to a trio of National Lampoon's film faves this holiday season.

"We're transforming the entryway to Showroom 1 into a temporary tribute to National Lampoon's best-loved films," said Brian Grams, director of the museum, 27582 Volo Village Road.

 

"We've got the 1959 Corvette from 'Animal House,' the family truckster from 'Vacation,' and a 'Christmas Vacation' RV photo op backdrop your cousin Eddie will love."

The Corvette -- which featured prominently in the 1978 breakout John Belushi hit "Animal House" and in posters marketing the movie -- spent decades in a pole barn near Eugene, Oregon, where the movie was filmed.

Grams said its previous owner, Paul Smith, bought it in 1975 as a gift for his wife. But neither liked the car much, so it sat, accumulating only about 200 miles on the odometer since '75, most of those during filming in 1977.

"Paul's an old-time drag racer and car guy," Grams said. "He used to scout cars for film projects, and he offered his 'vette when the producers of 'Animal House' were looking."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Purchased this fall, the film-famous car will remain on view at the Volo Museum in the tribute display until Jan. 2, 2022.

The road to procuring the "Animal House" Corvette was a winding one. Grams said Smith wanted his six-figure payment in cash -- specifically in $100 bills -- even though the car's keys were misplaced and the car hadn't run since the 1980s.

Still, there's much to love for Grams, including the transportation coordinator-signed copy of the original film script that came with it and the Oct. 24, 1977, dated Universal City Studios receipt for four weeks of rental, along with a copy of the $400 check written to Smith.

Additionally, Grams said, the car has great value both as a verified piece of movie history and as a solid 1959 model featuring a dual quad high-performance engine and original paint.

"Corvette people are purists," he said. "They love original paint, even if it does have a few battle scars."

Visitors can enjoy the National Lampoon's Christmas display -- along with all of the other star cars, vintage muscle cars and numerous other attractions that now make up the museum -- from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Regular admission is $12.95 for children ages 5-12 and free for those 4 and younger. Adult admission is $19.95.

Those wishing to add a visit to the adjacent Jurassic Gardens indoor dinosaur park can buy a combo ticket for $24.95 for children ages 5-12 or $31.95 for adults. Combo tickets are good for both parks for two consecutive days.

State COVID-19 guidelines are in place. For other details, visit volocars.com, find Volo Auto Museum or Jurassic Gardens on Facebook, or call (815) 385-3644.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.