Monday, July 29, 2013

Automobiles, Motorcycles and More! (Part 3)

Once again, this is a continuation of our tour of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville Tennessee.  Prepare to see a combination of weird and wonderful motor vehicles…

This is the facility that houses the Lane Motor Museum… As mentioned previously, the exhibit space covers 132,000 sq. ft.  There is a covered/indoor parking area, (off to the left of this photo), which also contains other motor vehicles, many of them related to military use.

One more motorcycle… This is a NSU 501 Konsul II- 1952    NSU began producing motorcycles in 1901, four years before they began producing cars.  By the mid-1950s, NSU was the world’s biggest motorcycle maker.  It’s suspected that the name “Konsul” was selected for this motorcycle because it incorporated the company’s letters “nsu.”  An advertising slogan they used was “Intelligent heads buy Konsul.”  This motorcycle was often used with a sidecar.  For those who know about these things, NSU also built the first production car powered by a Wankel engine–the Wankel Spider Convertible.  FYI…the Lane Motor Museum has a variety of NSU cars in their German collection. 
The 1952 NSU 501 Konsul II was manufactured by NSU Motorenwerke AG.  The engine is a single cylinder unit that produces 21 HP, which will produce speeds of up to 76 MPH.  Roughly 6,000 units were produced between 1951 and 1954.

This rather unusual auto is a 1950 Martin Stationette.  It has a rear mounted 4-cylinder engine, a 3-speed manual transmission and it could reach 60 MPH.  This is a one-of-a-kind or a one-off prototype, but the plan was to sell these cars for $995.00 each. 
James V. Martin was an inventor who spent a lot of his life trying to design cars that someone would like to produce.  This was his final attempt.  The Stationette is an all-wooden monocoque construction.  There isn’t a propeller shaft and there aren’t any axles or shock absorbers…which were intended to hold down the cost of building the car. (Apparently, he had never driven on Chicago streets in the pothole season!) The Stationette was shown at the 1954 World Motor Sports Show as “America’s Economy Car of the Future”…optimistic to say the least! 
OK…I didn’t know what monocoque meant either so I had to look it up!  It is a structural approach that supports loads through an object's external skin, similar to a pingpong ball or egg shell. The term is sometimes used to indicate a form of vehicle construction in which the skin provides the main structural support.
Note: Martin invented applications that advanced aircraft design as well.  For more about James V. Martin, go to

This sleek futuristic vehicle was also designed by James V. Martin…back in 1928!  The Martin, despite heavy promotion, was never produced.  Only 3 prototypes were built.  This model is another one-of-a-kind automobile.  Martin’s idea was to produce a streamlined car with four seats based on a Paul Jaray’s streamlining design principles. Paul Jaray was a forward-thinking Hungarian designer who designed autos for many auto companies both in the US and in Europe.  See   

The Martin Aerodynamic car has a pontoon-shaped underbody, fully covered rear wheels, and a deep-sloping front with the body tapering toward the rear.  It is powered by a 4 cylinder, water cooled rear engine that was capable of speeds of 107 MPH.  It has airplane-type suspension–which means no springs. The aluminum body has just one door that opens into the back seat.  This particular Martin, which cost $17,000, was built for Air Force General William “Billy” Mitchell of World War I fame.  The Martin was presented at the 1932 National Automobile Show in New York but with the Great Depression upon the USA, the Martin was never built.
FYI… General Billy Mitchell is generally recognized as the founder of the US Air Force.  To learn about his life, his career and his impact on US air power, just go to

What the heck!!??  These boats are mounted at one end of the Lane Motors Museum exhibit space.  They were provided by Chuck Webb, and since they seem a bit out of place, he must be or must have been a good friend of the Lane family or of the museum.  Chuck’s great grandfather had a boat building company called the Hafer Boat Company in Spirit Lake Iowa.  Chuck got into the business too and for some time he apparently operated the Waterloo Wooden Boat Company based in Austin Texas.  For more about the old Hafer Boats, go to
These boats on the wall are built from strips of Red Cedar with pieces of Cherry and Mahogany as either accents or as structural elements.  The stems are either steam bent ash or an ash laminate.

This powerful and very attractive automobile is a 1933 Panhard Levassor X74.  Panhard and Levassor was a French company founded as an automobile manufacturer back in 1891.  Over the years it has changed ownership as well as the products it manufactures.  The company produced its last automobiles in and now it builds military vehicles. 
The Panhard Levassor X74 was built between 1933 and 1937.  Only 27 copies of this 6-cylinder automobile were ever produced.  It could reach speeds of up to 80 MPH.  For more on Panhard and Levassor, go to

This is another overview of the auto exhibit area at the Lane Motor Museum.  We took photos of just a fraction of the autos that comprise the total collection.  Auto makes or brands in the museum include: A.B.C.; Aero; Alfa Romeo; Alvis; AMC; Austin Healey/Austin; B.S.A.; Berkeley; BMW; Bond; Buick; Burton; Caterham; Citroen; Cumuta-Car; Croco; Crofton; Crosley…and these are just most of the makes that start with A, B or C!!

This is a 1951 Hotchkiss-Gregoire. A total of 247 of these autos were produced in France during 1951 – 1952 by S.A. des Anciens Établissements Hotchkiss et Cie.  With its 4-cylinder engine, it could cruise along at 80 MPH.
Benjamin B. Hotchkiss, an American, was asked by Napoleon II to establish an arms factory in France in 1867.  Hotchkiss already had plants in New England and New York and he was a major supplier of weapons and ammunition during the Civil War.  He patented the Hotchkiss revolving cannon in 1872.  Supposedly, an embarrassment of profits from the weapons business by the turn of the twentieth century prompted the company to move into the car business so they could avoid attracting too much attention from the French government. 
By the turn of the century and with the advent of automobiles, the auto industry began relying on the company’s knowledge of special steels, high precision methods and machinery, as well as skilled machinists to build crankshafts, pistons, rods, gears, and valves.  Hotchkiss introduced its first car in 1904 and produced successful road and rally cars.  In 1948, the board of directors voted to buy a front-wheel drive car designed by J.A. Grégoire.  However, this car was priced higher than other Hotchkiss models and sales were slow.  Consequently few of them were built before all car production discontinued.

This little beauty is a 1949 MG TC Midget Roadster that was built by the MG Car Co. Ltd. in Great Britain.  My grandmother had a slightly later model of one of these for a short time in the early 1950’s.  I still remember my brother and I being terrified as she hit 60 MPH + in a 40 MPH zone near our home in Jackson Michigan!  We told our mom that we would never ride with grandma again… The model pictured above was built between 1945 and 1949.  It had a 4-cylinder engine and it could achieve speeds of up to 78 MPH.  About 10,000 MG TC Midget Roadsters were built.
In 1936, the MG, (which stands for Morris Garages), Car Company began production of the T-series. The MGTA Midget and the MGTB were produced pre-WWII. After the war, MG was back in production much faster than most British companies. The first MGTC came off the line in 1945.  About 2,000 of these cars came to the U.S.  In terms of both mechanical specification and appearance, the Midget found a ready market here and it generated new enthusiasm for sports cars and motor sport in general.
For more on these MG sports cars, go to  There are several US MG car clubs.  For more information regarding these organizations, go to
That’s about it for Part 3 of our tour of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville Tennessee.  There will be one more blog about this interesting museum.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for joining us on our tour!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Amazing how many folks tried to start and sustain car companies in the early years. My college roommates had a 59 MGA and an mid-60's MGB that I enjoyed riding around in. Prior to the MGB, Doug had a very nice 57 Chevy, 2 door Sport Coupe.

  2. Dear Dave, Some of these cars look like what is trying to be introduced today; with the very small cars.
    I like the big sleek cars.
    Your grandma sounds like a spunky gal!
    Blessings, Catherine