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Riding in the ‘Bumblebee’

CL man wins chance to drive Transformers car to outdoor movie showing

Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 11:42 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Dan Felice of Crystal Lake has a huge smile on his face while he sits in the original "Bumblebee" 1977 Camaro while waiting for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" to start at the McHenry Outdoor Drive-In Theater Friday, June 27, 2014. The Volo Auto Museum started a contest early this year in which the number printed on each admission wristband could be entered in an online sweepstakes. Felice’s name was drawn this month. The prize was driving Bumblebee – actor Shia LeBeouf’s beater Camaro that turns out to be an Autobot – to see “Transformers: Age of Extinction” on opening night.
Caption
(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
The original "Bumblebee" 1977 Camaro was parked at the McHenry Outdoor Drive-In Theater Friday, June 27, 2014. The Volo Auto Museum started a contest early this year in which the number printed on each admission wristband could be entered in an online sweepstakes. A Crystal Lake man's name was drawn this month. The prize was driving Bumblebee — actor Shia LeBeouf’s beater Camaro that turns out to be an Autobot — to see “Transformers: Age of Extinction” on opening night.
Caption
(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Dan Felice of Crystal Lake sticks his head out of the original "Bumblebee" 1977 Camaro while waiting for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" to start at the McHenry Outdoor Drive-In Theater Friday, June 27, 2014. The Volo Auto Museum started a contest early this year in which the number printed on each admission wristband could be entered in an online sweepstakes. Felice’s name was drawn this month. The prize was driving Bumblebee — character Sam Witwicky’s beater Camaro that turns out to be an Autobot — to see “Transformers: Age of Extinction” on opening night.

McHENRY – Dan Felice rode in a Transformer to see Transformers.

Felice and his wife, Jamie, rolled into the McHenry Outdoor Theater on Friday in a Camaro, and not just any Camaro, but a 1977 Camaro used in the first film of the Transformers movie franchise.

Felice, of Crystal Lake, won the chance to be in the driver’s seat of the car called “Bumblebee” as part of a contest held by the Volo Auto Museum. He drove the car, with its yellow paint job and black racing stripes, to the Outdoor from the museum and was given free admission to see “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” plus concessions.

“I am so excited,” Felice said. “I didn’t want to drive too fast because I wanted this to last. I am just so beside-myself excited.”

He wasn’t nervous at all.

“I could not wait to get in it,” Felice said. “And not only because it’s the movie car, but because I haven’t been in an older car in years and I grew up with cars like that. It was really cool to hold those old keys, look at the old knobs.”

As soon as they pulled out of the museum, a car stopped and the driver took his phone out to take a picture, Felice said.

“He knew exactly what it was,” he said.

Felice works only a few miles away from the auto museum as a technical writer at Baxter. He purchased a museum membership and has unlimited free admission so he could visit on his lunch breaks.

While in a work meeting earlier this month, Felice saw the email with a “You Win!” subject line.

He had to remain serious and keep his composure until the end of the meeting, which he said wasn’t easy.

Following Felice on the way to the Outdoor was museum director Brian Grams, who was behind the wheel of the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. It was luck of the draw, but Grams said he couldn’t have hand-picked a better winner if he had tried.

“I’m pulling a name out of a hat blindly,” Grams said. “I didn’t know if we were going to get some 18-year-old kid that was going to go out there and smoke the tires and want to beat on the car.”

Volo Auto Museum, 27582 Volo Village Road, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and features roughly 300 classic, antique, muscle and Hollywood cars. For information, visit volocars.com, call 815-385-3644 or find Volo Auto Museum on Facebook.

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