Lili – October 1, 2018
I was particularly excited to stop by at The Danish Home recently because it gave me chance to take my new car for a spin. It was quite a co-incidence when I discovered that some of the male residents had just returned from a visit to the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois.
Residents enjoy regular group outings, and visiting a car museum with thousands of cars and over 33 exhibits seemed the perfect choice for an end-of-summer trip.
The Volo Museum boasts a lot more than historic cars. If you walk its halls, you’ll find old gas pumps and garage memorabilia, fun cars from TV and movies, and dozens of iconic neon signs. There’s a great exhibit on old camper vans, and you can even tour the site in a special train.
Farfar, a resident I met through Ingrid, another descendant of a Danish Home founder, told me he particularly enjoyed the military exhibit, as he was a member of the Royal Danish Guard serving in WWII.
“We took our daughters to the museum years ago and it was a lot of fun,” I told him, “but I don’t remember seeing that.”
“Your kids may remember that the café was pretty good,” said Farfar. “Next time you go you should try their pizza!”
“Did they have any Volvos?” I asked.
Farfar laughed. “Volvos in Volo? I’m not sure, to be honest, but I used to drive an old Volvo myself! Why do you ask?”
“Well, while you were looking at old cars, I was picking up my brand new one, a Volvo XC60,” I said. “If you want to come outside with me, I’ll show you.” Farfar joked that he’d fire up his wheelchair, and we’d take a ride out to the parking area to see my new wheels. “Well, they don’t make ’em like they used to,” he said, running his hand along the sleek new finish.
With so many historic cars to see at the Volo Museum, I’d be surprised if they didn’t have a few Volvos like the one Farfar used to drive. The Swedish company manufactured its first automobile, the ÖV 4, in 1927, three years after Farfar was born.
My dad always drove Volvos. With no hugely popular Danish autos here in the United States, he felt that driving a Swedish car was the next best thing. The Danes do make a super car called the Zenvo ST1, assembled completely by hand by a small team of auto makers for the price of 660,000 Euros, but I dare say, that’s not a likely purchase for most motorists!
I remember when my dad got a Volvo 960, which had an integrated child booster cushion instead of the conventional arm rest in the back.
Dad always said the thing he liked about them most was the safety aspect. The Volvo Car Corporation has a distinctive and prized history for its emphasis on safety, which is what mattered most to my father – and most parents – when he was driving my brother and me around. Of course a Scandinavian company would think of safety first!
The Danes are happy to support their Swedish neighbors. In Denmark, Volvo sales have risen steadily since 2012, with more than 3,000 sold last year alone.
In January of this year, the most popular car in Denmark was actually the French-made Peugeot 208, with 7,492 of them sold. The German Volkswagen Up was second, with 5,408, and the Japanese Nissan Qashqai was third, with 4,839. By August of this year, however, the Qashqai was named the best-selling car in Denmark for the third month running.
Farfar was suitably impressed with my new car, although he didn’t have time to take a ride.
“Off on another trip already?” I asked.
“Yes, but this time just inside for some chair yoga,” he laughed. “Have to burn off that pizza somehow.”