Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lane's Motor Musem

Lane Motor Museum in Nashville is a 'must see' destination for all European car enthusiasts in the US. The collection primarily features European cars of the 50s and 60s and Jeff Lane and his team have assembled an unrivaled collection of odd and unusual vehicles that range from European micro cars to a gigantic American aquatic tank carrier. Let's go for a tour!

Lanes' has the largest collection of Tatras outside the Czech Republic. During our visit I counted 14, comprising:

Tatra T87

Tatra T97

2 Tatraplans

Tatraplan (with a Panhard)

Tatra T603-1

Tatra T603-3 and Monoposto racer

There were two Tatra T12 racer replicas

Late model Tatra T57

Tatra T11 chassis

An early model Tatra T57

Another late model Tatra T57

Tatra T12 limousine

Tatra aeroluge replica

There was also a decent DKW collection, including a DKW 1000SP and outstandingly rare Monza sports car.

Auto-Union 1000S

Auto-Union 1000SP

DKW Monza, a fibreglass bodied rally and race version of the 1000S

Linking these two marques was a small collection of Czech Aero and Jawa cars. Aero and Jawa were pre-war contemporaries of Tatra but used DKW 2 cylinder engines built under license. Both marques are virtually unknown outside of the Czech Republic.

Aero 30s of 1934 & 1936

Jawa 600

There was a good collection of Borgwards, starting with the three-wheeled Goliath Pioneer through to the elegant Borgard Isabella.

Borgward row starts with Carl Borgward's first car, the Goliath Pioneer. This little three-wheeled budget car was powered by a 200cc single cylinder two-stroke engine. The body was made of plywood covered in leatherette.

Goliath got its start building three-wheeled commercial vehicles. In the late 1920s they expanded into four wheeled lorry's with the Atlas. Its construction is very simple. Oddly the door is at the front of the cab.

When sales of Goliath's cars and commercials began to pick up, Carl Borgward moved to a larger factory opposite the Hansa-Lloyd factory in Bremen. When Hansa fell into financial difficulty during the Depression, Borgward bought the company. He rationalised their range and merged the company with Goliath-Borgward. This is a Hansa 1100 from 1937

After the war Borgward was one of the first German auto companies to adopt a pontoon body style. At this time most cars still had external mudguards and running boards. Borgward's strikingly modern cars were a sensation and sold well. This is a Goliath GP700, which was powered by a small 700cc two-stroke engine mounted transversely in the engine bay.

Borgward's wonderful Isabella set a standard in styling and performance.

A Lloyd LT600 lastenwagen. Despite the damage to Borgward's factories, he was able to get back into production almost immediately after the war. The first car produced was the Lloyd LP300, a very basic wooden car covered in leatherette. The Lloyd LTs were a commercial version of this car. Powered by a 600cc two-stroke motor, they were still primarily built of wood. These cars are very rare.

One of the highlight vehicles in the Lanes collection is a replica of Buckminster Fuller's 1934 Dymaxion streamliner. Pitched as the car of the future, the Dymaxion was a 3 wheeled streamliner powered by a rear mounted V8 Ford engine. Steering was via the single rear wheel, which made the vehicle inherently unstable.

Dymaxion and a couple of propeller cars.

A video of the car being taken on a test drive. It's notable how unstable the car is at speed.

Contemporary film of Buckmeister Fuller and the Dymaxion

The museum also has a collection of other oddball, American streamliners from the 1930s and 40s.

The Erikson streamliner is a garage built car, built sometime in the late 1940s or 50s. It was modeled on the Dymaxion and constructed out of salvaged aircraft parts and a Ford engine.

A series of cars built by aero engineer James Martin.

1932 Martinette

1950 Martin Stationette

More European cars


1930 BMW-Dixi. BMW purchased Dixi in 1928 and quickly adapted Dixi's Austin 7 copy into something more sporty.

Mercedes-Benz 130H

VW Beetle

1938 BMW 320 and Isetta

BMW Isetta and 600


1949 Mochet cyclecar and a 1954 Daus. Otto Daus was formerly chief designer at Vidal & Sohn Tempowerkes. After he left Tempo he developed several light car and truck projects, none of which proved successful.

A French Mochet microcar and Messerschmitt KR200

Messerschmitt KR200

Maico 500 and a Peel 50

Zundapp Janus

Russian invalid car

Two home built microcars - a 1953 Manocar and a 1955 Grataloop. Needless to say these oddballs never became production cars.

1951 Hoffman. This is one of the oddest vehicles ever built. It is asymmetrical, shorter than it is long, and is steered and powered via its back wheel like the Dymaxion. It goes without saying that it is inherently unstable and only a single prototype was ever made.

Fiat Bialla

Fiat Multipla and 500

A pre-war and post-war Fiat 500 'Topolino.'

Ferves Ranger 4x4. This odd four wheel drive utility vehicle was based on Fiat 500 mechanicals.

Toyota 600 and Honda S600

Davis Divan. The Davis story is a little like that Tucker. He attempted to build an entirely new type of car to cash in on the postwar boom but lack of capital and some dodgy business practices led to his prosecution and the collapse of his company.

British 1920s microcar ABC

1936 Peugeot triporter. This vehicle was originally a commercial triporter but was given a wood and leatherette body post-war so it could be used as a personal vehicle.

As impressive as the main hall is, the highlight of any visit has to be a tour of the basement where many of the surplus cars are stored. Some are project cars but most are simply on rotation, waiting their turn to be displayed.

Mochet pedal car from the 1940s

A Buckle-Goggomobil sedan from Australia

Saab 96 rally car

Auto-Union 1000S and East German AWZ P70

Wartburg 313

Skoda cabriolet


New Map Solyto

Saab Sonet

Wartburg and some British car....


Panhard coupe and Citroen H van

NSU 1200 and Tatra T12

Another Auto-Union 1000S


BMW 700 with a DKW Schnellaster in the rear


Heinkel Kabine

Saab 96 coupe

Renault 750

Citroen Traction-Avant

BSA tricycle

DKW F2 with metal bodywork (possibly a Jhle or a post-war re-body)

Peugeot electric car

A rather strangely mutilated Maico or Champion 500. This car is awaiting restoration. Someone's gotta sort out those terrible headlights!

NSU Prinz 4

The Outside Garage




Citroen Kegresse

The military section.

Tempo Gelanger 1200

Steyr-Puch Haflinger

Short wheelbase Tempo Matador

Aquatic military transporter

If you can't make it over to Nashville you can always check out their excellent website here: