Museums

8 don’t-miss museums for Volkswagen brand enthusiasts

A Volkswagen ID.3 electric car stands on an elevator platform inside one of the twin towers used as storage at the Autostadt promotional facility next to the Volkswagen factory on October 26, 2020 in Wolfsburg, Germany. The facility contains a multi-brand museum.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Volkswagens hold a place in many hearts. From the classic Type 2 Bus to the sleek Karmann Ghia to the Beetle, there's a heritage of Volkswagens for nearly every type of enthusiast. Museums across the world are dedicated to sharing those models, including some of the rarest Volkswagens ever made. Scroll down to see some of the best places to see VWs.

LeMay – America's Car Museum (Tacoma, Washington, USA)

Volkswagen Type 2 at Lemay America's Car Museum

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "America's Car Museum preserves the history, technology and influence of cars in the U.S. through its 12 rotating exhibits. Among the museum's collection of over 250 cars is a light green 1967 Volkswagen Type 2 double-door camper (shown above), which has been restored with its original interior, wood cabinets, fold-down table and bed. The car was donated by renowned blown-glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, who was born in Tacoma. The museum also features a turquoise 1962 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, which was owned by museum founders Harold and Nancy LeMay."

AutoMuseum Volkswagen (Wolfsburg, Germany)

AutoMuseum Volkswagen is one of the few museums in the world dedicated entirely to Volkswagen branded automobiles. Among the models in the collection are a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Convertible, 1969 "Herbie" Beetle, 1971 "Basket Beetle", and 1963 T1 fire brigade pickup truck.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing (Ocala, Florida, USA)

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "Automotive engineer and racecar driver Don Garlits is considered the father of drag racing. As a young man, Garlits would buy a new Volkswagen every year, and the vintage vehicle wing of his museum reflects his love of the brand. Most notable in his collection is his green 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that he purchased from a car dealership auction. The vehicle has only been driven for 27 dealer test miles and has never been titled. From the same auction, Garlits also purchased a black 1950 Volkswagen Beetle — one of only 151 that were imported to the U.S. that year — and restored it himself before displaying it at his museum."

Lane Motor Museum (Nashville, Tennessee, USA)

Lane Motor Museum has a rotating collection, of which five are Volkswagens: 1956 Volkswagen Beetle, 2002 Volkswagen Beetle, 2003 Volkswagen Beetle, 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit "Rocket Car", and 2014 Volkswagen XL1. The '81 and '14 models are the most unique. The Rocket Car has Buck Rogers fiberglass bodywork that helps the car reportedly get over 50 mpg. VW's XL1 is a diesel-powered plug-in hybrid. Just 200 were sold.

Volo Museum (Volo, Illinois, USA)

Volo Museum

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "On your next trip to the Windy City, head to the suburbs to see the Volo Museum's exhibits of classic cars, including many from TV and movies. The pearl white, No. 53 Beetle is a movie star worth visiting. About 35 models of the iconic car were built for the 2005 sequel, 'Herbie: Fully Reloaded,' but this model really does come to life, thanks to over a mile of wires concealed under the hood. The museum has rigged it to a motion sensor, so the Beetle still reacts when someone walks by."

ZeitHaus (Wolfsburg, Germany)

The Zeithaus museum is housed within the Autostadt, the world's largest new car delivery center. ZeitHaus is a multi-brand museum with over 60 brands represented. The museum is filled with examples of all aspects of automotive past and present, including concept cars, early autos, and examples of the automating process. Museum managers frequently change out the vehicles on display

The National Automobile Museum (Reno, Nevada, USA)

The National Automobile Museum

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "See over 200 vintage vehicles dating as far back as the 1890s in downtown Reno's National Automobile Museum. An air-cooled, four-cylinder black 1947 Volkswagen Type II Limousine is on display. Visitors are often surprised to see that the small four-seat car is called a "limousine," but in Germany where the car was built, the term simply means "full-sized sedan." A ruby-red 1964 Volkswagen 1200 Deluxe Convertible is also on display, after being completely disassembled and restored by the museum."

The Petersen Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA)

The Petersen Museum

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen: "With over 100,000 square feet of exhibits and 300 vehicles, the Petersen Museum is one of the world's largest automotive museums. Its exhibits feature many iconic Volkswagens, including the yellow 1979 Volkswagen Transporter Van driven in the 2006 film, "Little Miss Sunshine." Also on display is the 1966 Volkswagen Type 2 "Jenkins Bus," formerly used by civil rights pioneers Esau and Janie B. Jenkins in Johns Island, South Carolina. The bus was used to transport hundreds of residents of the island to Charleston, where they could attend high school. The Jenkins family helped Black citizens pass discriminatory voting literacy tests, and later opened businesses on Johns Island to support the community. The bus has been carefully preserved and still bears the marks of its over 40 years with the Jenkins family."

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The final versions of the McLaren 620R have been delivered to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive
McLaren recently shipped its last Sports Series cars to the U.S., marking the end of production of the popular models that have been staples of the luxury carmaker's lineup for the last half-decade. Over 8,500 cars were sold globally.

The Sports Series debuted in 2015 with the 570S, and also included the 540C, 570S Spider, 570GT, 600LT coupe, 600LT Spider, and 620R. The final examples of the series were built at the company's Woking, U.K. headquarters at the end of 2020. The 620R was the last off the line.

The McLaren 620R is a road legal version of a race car. It's based on the McLaren 570S GT4 and uses motorsport technology without the restriction of racing regulations. It is the most powerful Sports Series model ever, with a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 producing 611 brake horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque.

Final examples of the McLaren 620R

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

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The 620R shares aerodynamic hardware with the 570S GT4, creating 408-pounds of downforce at 155 mph. It can handle the road (and you can hear it coming) thanks to its wider track, carbon ceramic brakes and center locking wheels, and low-exit stainless steel sports exhaust.

"As the McLaren range has matured, we've tailored our North American model line-up to closely match customers' requirements, with a car suitable for every personality," explained Tony Joseph, President, McLaren, the Americas. "Limited-numbers models with the highest levels of performance – cars like the 620R, which feels like a race car on the street or at a track day - are in demand not only because of the driving experience they offer but because they have even greater exclusivity. You can see how this has played out with the 765LT as well, with all of the available volume sold."

Of the 225 examples of the 620R produced, only 70 were slated for the North American market. All North American 620R models come with a special MSO upgrade package that features a gloss finish Visual Carbon Fibre roof with a roof scoop to maximize engine intake and exhaust sound, MSO Defined gloss finish carbon fibre roof cantrails and the McLaren Track Telemetry system with lap time function and three cameras to record on-track performance.

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The WarnerMediaRIDE App provides thousands of hours of streaming content to Toyota and Lexus vehicle owners.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

If there's one thing parents want, it's a way to keep kids from fighting in the car. Not only that, it has to work. Toyota and AT&T have teamed up to deliver just such a solution to Toyota and Lexus vehicle owners.

When connected to AT&T in-car Wi-Fi, the WarnerMedia RIDE App allows Toyota and Lexus owners to connect up to five compatible devices to browse, stream and share content from the open road. Passengers can view a rotating selection of live and on-demand content, including thousands of hours of hit TV shows and movies from top channels and services such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, and TruTV, spanning animation, news and sports programming and more.

Owners of select 2020 model year and newer Toyota and Lexus vehicles are eligible for a complimentary Wi-Fi data plan trial for up to 90 days. Owners can activate their trial within the Toyota and Lexus owners app.

2021 Toyota Highlander Select Toyota vehicles will get the tech. Expect the Toyota Sienna to be one of them. Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

"By working with AT&T to provide access to WarnerMedia RIDE, we are reimagining the in-vehicle entertainment experience and ensuring that passengers have access to their favorite content wherever the road may take them," said Steve Basra, group vice president, Toyota Motor North America, Connected Technologies. "We're also excited to offer additional enhancements within our customer app and to provide one resource for our customers to access their in-vehicle features."

"Customers are hungry for access to new experiences with integrated, everywhere connectivity. Our relationship with Toyota is helping us deliver more for our customers – whether they're on a long road trip or short commute," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T Business. "Since the launch of WarnerMedia RIDE, passengers are enjoying their favorite animated friends with 'Looney Tunes', 'Tom & Jerry', and 'The Jetsons' as some of our most watched content."

The WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers. The Toyota and Lexus Owner App download is available for iPhone or Android smartphones.

Toyota isn't the only company getting into the streaming game. Stellantis recently announced that select customers will be able to stream Amazon Prime TV programming in their new Jeep Wagoneers.

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