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A brown 1936 Duesenberg was sold by the museum to be used in “The Great Gatsby.” The classic car was painted yellow and is used in one of the movie posters (above). (Photo provided)

A couple of classic cars from the Volo Auto Museum in Volo will make their premiere Friday in “The Great Gatsby.”

The museum, at 27582 Volo Village Road, sold two 1936 Duesenbergs to the makers of the film. 

The cars, originally red and brown, were repainted yellow and driven by Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays Jay Gatsby in the film, museum Director Brian Grams said.

In the F. Scott Fitzgerald book based on the movie, Gatsby drove a yellow Rolls-Royce as part of his prodigal lifestyle. 

The cars that originated in Volo take on that part, and already have appeared in a movie poster, a trailer and previews for the film, Grams said.

“The car is just a main part of the storyline,” he said. “The movie is basically centered around that car.”

And because of this, he said he’d love to buy them back for use at the museum.

“We are trying to buy one or both of them, but they’re not ready to release them yet,” Grams said. “We’re at the top of their list, but they’re not ready to sell.”

The cars were shipped to Australia for the filming of the movie. 

Because of a confidentiality agreement, Grams said he could not reveal the sales price of the cars. 

The deal occurred about the same time he sold 50 cars for use in the “Man of Steel” film, slated for release June 14. The film is a reboot of the Superman movie franchise starring Henry Cavill as Superman and Costner as Jonathan Kent, Clark Kent’s adopted father.

“We supplied nearly all of the cars for that movie,” Grams said.

The museum kept the film’s “Kent family farm truck,” or the Dodge truck driven by Kevin Costner’s character, and has used it to partner with the McHenry Outdoor Theater. 

As part of a promotion, the truck will sit in a prime spot at the drive-in, facing backward with seats in its bed. The “Superhero Seats” will be raffled off each week throughout the season. Winners will earn free tickets to watch movies from the bed of the Superman truck.

The raffle will go toward the fundraising needed to save the drive-in theater as it struggles to raise money to replace its 35mm projector with new digital projection equipment. Hollywood is planning to convert its films to an all-digital arrangement by the fall. 

“They’re on their last limb there and needed a promotional boost,” Grams said. “We’re hoping to help them raise some money.”

The museum recently was featured on, a division of USA Today Travel, among the top 10 most “jaw-dropping” car museums in the country.

The list is part of the online publication’s “May: Go Car Crazy!” installment. The feature, which can be found at, includes a photo of the museum’s bright yellow Dick Tracy car, among its numerous movie-related automobiles.

“I thought it was fantastic,” museum Director Brian Grams said, noting there are hundreds of car museums in the country. “There’s everyone’s opinion, but USA Today is pretty credible.

“The biggest thing we have to offer is entertainment,” he said. “If you go to the Petersen Museum [in Los Angeles] or the Blackhawk Collection [in Danville, Calif.], they’re there for the purists ... We’re here for the everyday people.”