Volo Museum debuts National Lampoon Christmas exhibit

  • 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 starting Dec. 4.

    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 starting Dec. 4. Courtesy of Volo Museum

 
 
Updated 11/26/2021 7:16 PM

Bluto Blutarsky, meet Clark Griswold: The Volo Museum is tipping its Santa hat to a trio of National Lampoon's film faves this holiday season, and you're invited to the festive fun.

"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 at 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 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."

Purchased this fall, the film-famous car makes its Volo Museum debut in the tribute display Dec. 4, Grams said. The exhibit will remain on view until Jan. 2, 2022.

The road to procuring the "Animal House" Corvette was a winding one. Grams said the mercurial Mr. 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.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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 to 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 to 12 or $31.95 for adults. Combo tickets are good for both parks for two consecutive days.

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.