- Article & Photos By Fan Contributor Mark Fontanetta -
If you are driving on
the outskirts of Chicago, heading north up Route 12, and you just passed
Route 120, there is a small gas station just a block away that you will
notice almost immediately. The thing you will notice about it though, is
that you can't get gas from it, not only because it is a novelty station,
but famous cars are just sitting there. If you make a left down W. Volo
Village Road, you will come across the Volo Auto Museum, one of the
worlds largest car museums in the USA. The museum has almost 10 buildings,
most of them are for storing their wide collection of old, muscle, exotic,
and movie/television vehicles. There is also a few antique malls there for
the person looking for something else vintage besides cars.
The Volo Auto Museum
has a large collection of revamped and restored vintage cars such as Dodge
Chargers and Challengers, Chevorlet Corvettes and Camaros, Pontiac
FireBirds and Trans Ams, and Ford Mustangs and Thunderbirds. That is not
all, they also have cars dating back to the early 1900's. You can
occassionally come across some old battered and also restored Ford Model
T's, and some really nice old Pick-Up Trucks, and 1930's cars.
There is good variety of famous television and movie vehicles such
as the Jake and Elwoods BluesMobile from Blues Brothers, Bo and Lukes
General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard movie and show, the original BatMobile
from the old series staring Adam West, and Michael Knights KITT from
Knight Rider. Also there is the Ecto 1 driven by the Ghostbusters, Fast
and Furious cars from both movies, the Plymoth Fury from Christine, and
Marty and Docs DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future. There are
also a handfull of cases displaying props and pictures from some of these
shows and movies.
The Museum also has a whole 2 buildings dedicated to Military
vehicle displays, consisting of Tanks, Willys Jeeps, Half Trax, Scooters,
as well as a whole area filled with military memorobilia. News papers,
uniforms, badges, bullets, flags, and even pop cans from Iraq are among
some of the amazing things you will find in the military show room
Now, if you are a motorsports and off road fan much like myself, a
few vehicles will stand out to you. First One is an Open Wheel race car
that you are actually aloud to sit in and take pictures of.
The next vehicles would be the Ford GT Rock Crawler, and the D-Rex
Mini Monster DeLorean.
The newest one would be the Little Red Wagon Dragster, it is an old
Dodge Wheel Standing Dragster Van, which reminded me of the old 2WD Ford
Puller called the "Psycho". Stuck to this vehicle was a picture of the
rumored original LRD, the picture says it all.
And now the reason that this is even on the Monster Blog. Going to
the museum that day, I had been wanting to ask one of the workers a
question all day. Only until later, after I had been through the museum a
few more times(which was alot to begin with), did I deside to go into one
of the offices. I walked in thinking that I wouldn't be able to do what I
was going to ask. But after I asked, the guy said hold on just a second,
called someone, and the next thing I know the doors unlocked and I am
inside the cab of one of the oldest Monster Trucks ever made, the BRUTTE
While being given the privilage to take pictures and be in the
Brutte, I desided to make sure it was something I could share with others.
So I opened almost every compartment, and took pictures of almost
everything I could.
Last time I was at Volo, the Brutte was missing its front clip and
engine. While doing a display, they broke and engine Rod and had to
Now the story of the Brutte is a fairly simple one to tell. Around
the late 1970's, Randy Weber of Elkhart, Indiana, was tired of being
snowed in during the winter. He was determined to make a vehicle to be
able to go through the snow and plow it. Now during the time of his
brainstorming, he had seen the rising star BigFoot Monster Truck, and that
triggered an idea inside him. Why not build a monster sized snow plow. He
started building the truck shortly after. During construction, Randy soon
realized that he couldnt fit the plow on without it causing any trouble
with driving, but, that did not stop him from finishing. Instead, a failed
idea of a oversized snow plow turned into just creating a unique looking
vehicle, and upon realizing what he had made, he deside to go with the
idea of having the worlds only TRUCTOR. His son Garret was a big fan of
the show Dukes of Hazzard, which inspired him to call the vehicle Brutte
Boss Hogg. At one point, Randy was talking with the producers to try and
get the truck on the show. Concern arose that the truck might be damaged,
and before anything more could be worked out, the show was cancelled. The
Brutte was featured in many pulling and off-road magazines, and featured
on a handfull of television stations, local and worldwide. From 1985 to
around the time of the millenium, the Brutte sat unused in storage. Garret
Weber was now older, and desided to restore his fathers truck. It only
took hm six months to completely restore the truck. With a new paintjob
and revamping, the truck was featured in the 2001 Cavalcade of Wheels.
Since that time, the truck was later sold, and now is on perminant display
at the Volo Auto Museum. On some occassions it is pulled out to do some
good old fashioned car crushing.
With that being said, and after snapping my last picture, I headed
back home to Chicago, which was more like an adventure due to a wrong
turn. But that could not bring me down, because I got to sit in what is
one of the last standing gladiators of Monster Truck History.