Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lane Motor Museum

                Often when tightening a budget the first luxury to take a hit is entertainment.  Options for a fun fill day get slim real quick.  Forget the movies.  You have to sell a less than vital organ just to get a ticket for a poorly reviewed B-Movie.  A sit down dinner at a descent restaurant will leave you eat Ramen noodles the rest of the week.  So what can you do for a fixed budget but still enjoy yourself?  For car enthusiasts I’ve found the perfect solution in the most surprising place.  The Lane Motor Museum is located just a few miles east of downtown Nashville, TN and for a $7 fee visitors are treated to the largest European automotive collection in North America.  I recently visited the museum and I wanted to take a moment to tell you about my visit.
                I have to tell on myself a little here.  The museum will celebrate its tenth year in 2013 and I’ve lived just down the interstate the whole time.  Yet, I just learned about the museum.  So, shame on me for being misinformed.  I had no idea what I was missing.  From the outside the museum doesn’t look like much.  The museum is located in an old bread factory of all things.  The exterior of the building is a very simple white with modest signage.  Even looking for it, I nearly passed right no by.  When stepping into the front doors Lane Motor Museum is quick to get your heart racing.  Right there on the floor of the lobby is a map of the Le Mans racing circuit in France.  Instantly you know these guys mean business when it comes to cars.  You pay your entrance fee and are given a sticker to wear to show that you didn’t sneak in the back and you walk on through the awaiting showroom. 
                Entering the showroom puts you in a place of shock.  I had to stand in astonishment at what lay before me.  The room is a large expanse with high ceilings and natural light flowing through large overhead windows.  The room shows its age.  It hasn’t been totally restored.  There are scuff marks on the floor and the walls aren’t perfect.  It shows that this room used to be used for work and if needed it could be used again.  Don’t read what I’m not saying.  The museum is incredibly clean. It brings to mind how you wish every garage looked. 

                The expanse of cars is well over one hundred in count and almost all are visible from the moment you walk in.  It was everything in my power to overcome my A.D.D. tendencies and focus on what is in front of me.  My first impulse was to run screaming and filling my car mind with everything all at once.  A museum like this cannot be tamed that way.  You will exhaust yourself in fifteen minutes.  When entering this place you must have a method of attack.  Find the nearest vehicle that interests you and attack.  Walk that direction and keep walking that way until you hit a wall then start walking the other way until you have crisscrossed the room.  This way you will enjoy the whole thing and not get overwhelmed.  I personally spent well over two hours and if it weren’t for other plans I had made that afternoon I would have stayed all day.  A true car lover will never get bored.
                There aren’t enough keys on my keyboard to tell you all the cars, motorcycles, airplanes, and other vehicles the Lane Motor Museum has to offer but I will share a few of my favorites.  The museum focuses mainly on European vehicles.  The Japanese are also well represented.  Fans of American metal will be feeling a bit left out but that’s OK.  You can go to countless car shows and museums and see your Corvettes, Mustangs, and ’57 Chevy’s.  This museum specializes in showcasing automobiles even veteran car guys would be amazed to see.  Many of the cars in the collection are the first I have ever seen or even heard of.  Also there are usually two or three examples of something I never though existed.  A good example is a miniature car collection that will bring a smile to everyone’s inner child. I would be shocked if there was a bigger three-wheel car collection in the world than hear at the Lane Motor Museum.  Cars like the Morgan Three-Wheeler are things I have been reading about for years.  I never thought I was going to see that.  A pre-World War II BMW  racer in bright fire engine red is leaking oil right next to a magnificent blue BMW sedan from the 1950’s that shows how and why Germans know luxury better than anyone.  More than any car there I wanted to climbed into that one and see how she drove.  That car must have meant something back then.  I cannot imagine many Germans affording a luxury like that right after the ravages of war.  Not far away sits a car that many believe to be the most beautiful car ever produced, the Jaguar E-Type.  Even in understated brown it looks amazing. 
                I am going to try and stop rambling now.  I have posted a link to the Lane Motor Museum website on this post and they can be found through Google and on twitter.  They hold many special events so be sure to keep up with them.  I plan to make several more trips and will post about special cars they have on display when I do.  So use your entertainment money wisely and visit this little gem.  You will be rewarded. 
First steps into showroom

From the outside

3 Three-Wheelers sitting together

How BMW learned to drive