VOLO – On June 22, 2001, a relatively low-budget film absolutely floored fans, propelling several actors – and one especially epic car – to stardom.
The careers of Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster would never be the same as “The Fast and the Furious” launched a globally celebrated film franchise now worth billions of dollars. And that figure is likely to balloon with the release of “F9: The Fast Saga.” The COVID-19-delayed but highly anticipated film is set to debut in theaters June 25, three days after the 20th anniversary of its iconic progenitor.
And the scene-stealing, blower-flexing Dodge Charger R/T from the movie that started it all? The car that has remained as much a character in the Fast & Furious franchise as Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto will be glimpsed yet again in F9.
That car – the one that fans will forever recall popping a wheelie as it street races Brian O’Conner’s orange Supra toward a speeding train in the first film – is in Volo.
“This is the ultimate No. 1 car from the No. 1 film,” said Brian Grams, director of the Volo Auto Museum at 27582 Volo Village Road. “This car played a key role in sparking one of the biggest movie franchises in history.”
The Toretto Charger has been an on-again, off-again exhibit at the museum since 2002. It is one of three Chargers modified for use in “The Fast and the Furious,” which had a production budget of $38 million, according to industry website the-numbers.com.
“The Charger we have is the hero car – the glamorous one that was used for close-ups and didn’t get beat up doing stunts,” Grams said. “We’ve had dozens of Fast & Furious vehicles over the years. They have all been cool.
“In fact, we still also have the silver Corvette driven by Vin Diesel in the train heist scene in ‘Fast Five’ and the Subaru Impreza Walker drove in his final film, ‘Furious 7,’ ” Grams continued. “They are both on display, along with the Charger, and they are impressive. But the Charger ... that car is nearly as big a star of these movies as Vin Diesel himself.”
Those interested in celebrating the Fast & Furious franchise’s 20th anniversary are encouraged to come see the display, and all of the hundreds of other exhibits on view at the museum, the weekend of June 25, Grams said. A $2-off-admission special will be available to those reciting a particular line by Vin Diesel’s character.
“Just say ‘I live my life a quarter-mile at a time’ at the ticket counter and we’ll give you $2 off admission June 25-27,” Grams said.
The Volo Auto Museum reopened in May after more than a year of pandemic-prompted closure. Numerous improvements to the grounds and exhibits were undertaken during the past 14 months, Grams said. Those include the addition of Jurassic Gardens, which features animatronic dinosaurs in a lifelike setting.
The museum is following state COVID-19 guidelines. Visitors who have been vaccinated are not required to wear masks. Those who have not been vaccinated are urged to wear a mask.
Auto museum tickets are $19.95 for adults and $12.95 for children ages 5 to 12. Tickets to see Jurassic Gardens are $15.95 for ages 5 and older and free for those 4 and younger. Combo tickets, which provide entry to both attractions plus a second consecutive day’s entry free of charge, are $31.95 per adult and $24.95 per child.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for both attractions.
For information, find Volo Auto Museum or Jurassic Gardens on Facebook, visit volocars.com or call 815-385-3644.