Vintage car, once owned by Hastert, will join him in hiding

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Even Dennis Hastert’s car is going into hiding.

The Volo Auto Museum put a 1942 Lincoln Zephyr “from the personal collection of Dennis Hastert” on display at the Illinois Tollway’s Belvidere Oasis earlier this year. Brian Grams, one of the museum’s owners, said it did so before news broke of the criminal charges against the former U.S. House speaker.

But Wednesday — two days after the Chicago Sun-Times reported his plans to keep it on display — Grams said it will be swapped out for a “really nice” 1941 Buick. Hastert’s old Zephyr, sold to the museum around 2007, will go into a warehouse for storage, he said, “after getting a little media on it.” He called it a joint decision between his museum and the Tollway.

“The car is what it is,” Grams said. “The car didn’t hurt anybody. Can’t change the fact that Hastert owned it. But we’re a family place. So we’ll just put it under wraps.”

Grams said earlier this week that the car had already generated curiosity and controversy since Hastert’s indictment for allegedly skirting banking laws and lying to the FBI as part of a hush-money scheme to cover up sexual misconduct. Photos of the car on the museum’s website show it bearing an Illinois license plate that reads “42 SPKR.”

Hastert pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Chicago to the charges leveled against him. It was his first public appearance since his May 28 indictment, and he left the courthouse without commenting.

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