The top five museums in the USA for Volkswagen fans include rare and vintage models. One museum has a 1966 Type 2 bus with civil rights history. Another displays a 1974 Karmann Ghia model that’s never been titled. The museums contain expansive collections, so there’s more to see than the Volkswagens, too.
But here’s your ultimate list of rare and vintage Volkswagen museums to plan your next road trip! Or trips because they’re all over the US.
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The National Association of Automobile Museums lists 110 museums located in the United States, with more in Canada and Puerto Rico. And your top five choices for rare vintage Volkswagen museums include the following:
1. LeMay – America’s Car Museum | Tacoma, WA
The LeMay – America’s Car Museum keeps a collection of more than 250 cars. Volkswagen fans visiting this museum enjoy looking at a fully-restored light green 1967 Volkswagen Type 2 double-door camper. There’s also a 1962 turquoise Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.
2. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing | Ocala, FL
Don Garlits, who is considered the father of drag racing, bought a new Volkswagen every year. His collection includes a green 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, with only 27 dealer test miles on it. The museum’s collection also includes a black 1950 Volkswagen Beetle.
3. Find “Herbie” at the Volo Museum | Volo, IL
Fans of the 2005 movie “Herbie: Fully Reloaded” delight in Volo Museum. This collection includes a pearl white, No. 53 Beetle. It’s been rigged with over a mile of wires under its hood to help it come to life. The car uses a motion sensor to detect visitors and react to them as they walk by.
This model is one of about 35 that were built for the movie. And it resides a stone’s throw from where I grew up! :0)
4. The National Automobile Museum | Reno, NV
The National Automobile Museum displays over 200 vintage vehicles. One of the displays is a ruby-red 1964 Volkswagen 1200 Deluxe Convertible. Another display is an air-cooled, four-cylinder black 1947 Volkswagen Type II Limousine.
5. The Petersen Museum | Los Angeles, CA
Bringing it home to SoCal! The Petersen Museum has over 100,000 square feet of exhibits and 300 vehicles. This is one of the most iconic rare and vintage Volkswagen museums because it displays a lot of Volkswagen models. These include a yellow 1979 Volkswagen Transporter Van, which was driven in the 2006 film, “Little Miss Sunshine,” and the Jenkins Bus.
The Jenkins Bus is a 1966 Volkswagen Type 2 van that was used by the Jenkins family, who were civil rights pioneers, to transport black students from Johns Island, South Carolina, to high school in Charleston. The Jenkins family owned this Volkswagen for more than 40 years.