Unique cars a staple in Grand Island collection

Pure Nebraska
Published: Jan. 15, 2023 at 1:33 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KOLN) - We caught up with a man who has an incredible car collection, and his aim is to build a future event center where the cars can one day be showcased.

John Nikodym currently houses his car collection in what was most recently a bowling alley. “This building was hit by the Grand Island tornado,” Nikodym said. “It was most recently called Super Bowl. When I was looking to relocate to Grand Island in 2019, this property was for sale. I bought it with the idea of stripping out the bowling equipment and having a place for my cars.”

Nikodym says he wants to turn the old bowling alley and storage space for his vehicles into an event center. “As of a year ago, we started a housing development around the building,” Nikodym said. “There’s 20 acres around this property and the whole development plan includes the complete remodeling of the former Super Bowl into an event center, that will also house my car collection. So there would be a car museum within the event center.” The event center would also feature a coffee shop.

The car collection features many highlights. “I was told by a friend of mine that I should consider buying a Viele car, because Willard Viele was John Deere’s grandson,” Nikodym said. “I was able to purchase in 1997 a 1918 Viele touring car. Then I got a little carried away, and one thing led to another, and now I have a substantial collection of early cars. The core of my collection is Viele cars. Veile Motor Company of Moline, Illinois, built cars from 1909 to 1928. I have in my collection one of each year, and the star of the collection is the very first Viele built, which is serial number 1.”

“Other cars I have in my collection, I have a group of Moline automobiles,” Nikodym said. “The Moline automobile company built cars from 1904 to 1924. They started out as the Moline automobile, then they were called the Moline-Knight, and then in 1902, they changed the name to R & V Knight. The parent company was Root and VanDervoort, which started by building gasoline engines. I also have three unique cars in my collection, they were all built in the state of Nebraska. I have a 1909 Jonz car that was built in Beatrice. I have a 1919 Douglas car that was built in Omaha, and I have a 1909 Fuller car that was built in Angus, Nebraska. I also have a 1917 Rauch and Lang electric car, and a 1900 Milwaulkee steam car. It’s kind of a unique collection of the odd, unusual and unique.”

If you would want to see this collection, it’s by appointment only. Nikodym says when the event center and museum is eventually built, the cars will be more accessible.