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‘Top Gear’ co-host visits Volo Auto Museum

Adam Ferrara was bound to come back to the Volo Auto Museum.

The first time he came, “We let him drive the Batmobile,” museum Owner Brian Grams said.

“We showed him a good time.”

Ferrara, the co-host of “Top Gear,” actor and stand-up comic will host a meet-and-greet from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2 to 4 p.m. at the museum, 27582 Volo Village Road.

In town for six shows Feb. 21 to Feb. 24 at the Chicago Improv in Schaumburg, Ferrara agreed to stop by the museum. His appearance gives the museum the chance to show off its newly remodeled 4,000-square-foot exhibit hall, Grams said.

The meet-and-greet comes with admission to the museum. Visitors will get a sneak-peak of the new exhibit hall, which has a grand opening planned for Father’s Day, Grams said. That event will include a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Dusenberg, one of the world’s most expensive cars, with a collection of six Dusenbergs on display.

Ferrara had visited the museum a few years back to film a television pilot for a show called “United States of Cars” that never was picked up. He and Grams became friends, and Ferrara became a fan of the museum as well as the rare 1970 Ram Air IV GTO convertible he got to drive while there.

“Any time I can spend a day at the Volo Auto Museum, I’m going to do it,” he said.

He’ll sign autographs, pose for photographs and talk cars, or anything else. But, he said, “Don’t come for me. Come for the cars.”

It was that pilot filmed in Volo that lead to Ferrara’s involvement with the History Channel and eventually “Top Gear.”

He had been a fan of the original, popular BBC version of the show, when producers approached him about co-hosting an American version. Primarily about cars, the show is the world’s most widely watched factual television program, beginning in the BBC in 1977.

“I was nervous about undertaking anything with the Top Gear show,” Ferrara said. “You don’t want to do anything to tarnish that image.”

He knew from the get-go the American version couldn’t be an imitation of the British version. Producers, the same as those for the British version, told him to “just be who you are in the format of Top Gear.”

“They gave us some cars to hang out with,” he said. “I’m like, ‘How do you not try this?’

“It’s been a great ride. I get to drive all these high-end cars and have all these adventures and fun.”

The show is starting production of its fourth season.

Ferrara also has played “Chief Needles Nelson” on the FX series “Rescue Me” and appeared in other television series and films, including “Definitely Maybe,” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”

He said he’ll next appear April 14 on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie.”

Having created various comedy specials, including Comedy Central’s “Funny as Hell,” Ferrara is working on his latest special and looking to focus on his stand-up comedy routine.

“I’m a confessions comic,” he said. “Basically I take my life and put it through a confession. I actually try and find humor in that. If I don’t then it’s not funny. It’s just annoying. You have to find laughter in your life.”

He compares the audience to a chisel, while his jokes are blocks of stones.

“They’re going to tell you what’s funny and what’s not funny,” he said. “You can bring an idea on stage and see the reaction of the audience and see where that laugh is taking you. It’s a collaborative kind of process to create a new special.”

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