As mentioned previously, the Lane Motor Museum is a very large facility with a very heavy focus on unusual European automobiles. However, the collection is also focused on one-ofs…one of-a-kind vehicles.
This is a worthy stop for anyone who is interested in automobiles and automobile history. Lane Motor Museum is located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville Tennessee. The Museum is open 7 days a week. Admission for adults is $9.00, seniors $6.00 and children (between the ages of 6 and 17) are $3.00. Phone: 615-742-7445. For more information go to http://www.lanemotormuseum.org/.
Now it’s time for more weird, creative and classy automobiles…
This is a 1934 McQuay-Norris Streamliner…with an early camper attached. The Streamliner was created as a promotional vehicle for the McQuay-Norris Company from St. Louis Missouri. This company was key manufacturer of replacement auto parts. Six of these cars were built. In addition to their promotional role, they were also used as test cars. As such they were equipped with groupings of test gauges designed to monitor various components.
The Streamliner was built by the Hill Auto Body Metal Company. The sleek body design was constructed of steel and aluminum over a wood framework. The curved Plexiglas windshield provided a panoramic view, except to the rear. The driver sat in the middle of the auto body.
The Streamliners traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada from 1934 to 1940. With their Ford flathead 85 HP V8 engine, they could reach speeds of 80 MPH. A total of 6 McQuay-Norris Streamliners were built…
This is a 1994 Hobby Car B612B Passport. This multi-purpose vehicle was the 3rd and last model built by the short lived French manufacturer, Hobby Car. Calling Hobby Car a manufacturer is a bit of a stretch. Their vehicles were basically an assembly of parts supplied by a multitude of suppliers. At its peak, only 45 employees worked in assembly and paint shop. A dozen or so employees were engaged in sales and marketing while 35 were involved in Research and Development.
The Passport was the company’s attempt to develop a spacious interior in a compact van. It was certainly different than any multi-purpose van that had been built before… It was pre-wired for phone and fax, making it either a mobile office or a leisure vehicle. Unique to Passport were the 4 parallel-opening double-pivot doors. It also had individual electrically heated memory leather bucket seats.
Only 43 or so Passports were ever built. The factory fell into receivership and all of the vehicles were sold at auction in 1998. This 4-cylinder 4-wheel drive mini-van had an engine that produced 204 HP reaching speeds of 137 MPH. The original cost of each vehicle was $56,000.
This is a German built 1964 Amphicar. This amphibious has a ‘unibody’ steel two-door body with electrically-welded joints. It’s powered by a triumph herald engine providing 43 HP mounted at the rear driving the rear wheels. Two propellers are activated for propulsion when the car is in the water. Top speed is about 7 MPH in the water and 68 MPH on land. The front wheels are used as rudders for steering in the water.
Of 3,878 Amphicars made from 1961 to 1968, 3,046 were imported to the United States and the rest were sold around Europe. The Amphicar was the most successful amphibious car ever produced. It also has the highest tail fins of any production car as they are an inch higher than those on a 1959 Cadillac! These boat/cars sold for between $2,800 and $3,300.
…And yes…there is an International Amphicar Club. Check it out at http://www.amphicar.com/.
This is a 1948 Rover P3. It was the first car manufactured by The Rover Company Ltd. following WWII. The demand for new cars was very high so this model was quite similar to the pre-war Rover model. The P3 was intended to be a ‘stop gap’ production model until a new design could be developed and put into production. This car had an inline 6 cylinder engine, a 4-speed manual transmission and it was the first Rover with independent front suspension. Only 7,837 P3’s were built.
The Rover Company Ltd. was founded in 1878 as the Stanley and Sutton Company. That company produced the first modern bicycle in 1885…the Rover Safety Bicycle. The company was renamed The Rover Company and from 1904 until 1967 they produced automobiles. Then they were purchased by the Leyland Motor Company…and since then ownership of the “Rover” marque has been a confusing and twisted piece of automotive history. For more information, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_Company and also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_(marque).
This red gem of a car is a 1929 BMW Ihle 600. Gebráder Ihle Karosserie und Apparatebau was a body shop and engineering company in Germany. After WWI it supplied vehicles for fairground operators. In 1934, they designed a sports-car body to be mounted on a BMW Dixi chassis. Ihle built a body that closely resembled Bugatti’s competition cars. It was a tiny, light-weight, all-steel body with a flat radiator, a windshield which folded down, and a pointed tail. Customers could purchase the body and install it themselves or deliver an old Dixi chassis to Ihle and the factory would install it for them.
Various versions of these first Ihle models are known, usually differing only in the style of the hood and radiator. The 4-cylinder engine produced 13 HP and the car could reach speeds of up to 50 MPH. Only a few of these chassis/sports-car body combinations were ever built.
This ThermaDor Car Cooler is mounted on a 1956 Volkswagen Beetle. The ‘Cooler’ functioned via evaporation…blowing warm air over a moist area to cool the interior of the car. It was the mid-1950’s before the first driver controlled auto air conditioning systems were available. There were several evaporation based car cooling system on the market when the ThermaDor was in production. However, this unit had few moving parts and sold for only $22.00.
There were a few issues with these systems. This ‘Cooler’ had a fabric blanket inside the metal tube that was attached to a spring mounted roller and a one-gallon water reservoir. Pull a string inside the car and the blanket rolls into the water and then back into the air flow. As long as traffic keeps moving and the humidity is low, the system cools. Of course if the string broke…or the reservoir ran dry, (every 100 miles or so)…you were out of luck!
This strange automobile is a 1932 Helicron. This one-of-a-kind, propeller driven car was discovered in a barn in France in 2000. It was placed there by the original owner in the late 1930s. The Helicron has been completely rebuilt but many of the mechanical components are original, such as the frame, wire wheels, dashboard, steering wheel, steering gear, brake pedal, light switch, headlights, and the type plate. The wood frame was sandblasted and treated, the steering gear was rebuilt, and the interior was upholstered. The car steers with the rear wheels and only those wheels have springs.
It is currently equipped with a Citroën GS engine with the propeller coupled directly to the crankshaft. The Helicron passed a French safety inspection in 2000 and is approved for use on their roads!
One last automobile…but I 'borrowed' this photo from the Lane Motor Museums website. This 1938 Tatra T-97 was not on exhibit during our visit. One of the most advanced designs of the pre-World War II era came from Czechoslovakia. At the time that the Tatra was produced, there was a new emphasis on streamlining being pioneered by aircraft and Zeppelin designer Paul Jaray. The Tatra’s short front end flows to a curved roofline that gracefully slopes into a long fastback tail. When integrated fenders and a full undertray were added, wind resistance was dramatically reduced. A prominent rear dorsal fin ensured high-speed stability.
Tatra was arguably the first production car to take advantage of effective streamlining. The T97 used a horizontally opposed, rear-mounted, 4-cylinder engine with a rigid backbone chassis, four-wheel independent suspension and hydraulic drum brakes. Four were built in 1937, followed by 237 in 1938, and 269 in 1939. Top speed was 80.78 mph, which was truly remarkable for a 40-hp car at the time. I am sorry that we missed seeing this sleek and beautiful art deco inspired automobile…but it was on loan! See Below...
NOTE: During our trip, I was unaware of a major art exhibit at ‘The First – Center of the Visual Arts’ located at 919 Broadway in Nashville Tennessee. Through September 15th, there is an exhibit entitled “Sensuous Steel – Art Deco Automobiles”. Click on the following link to find out more. After you open the link, if you go to the bottom of the page, you will be able to preview the spectacular automobiles and motorcycles that comprise this stunning exhibit! The link is http://fristcenter.org/calendar-exhibitions/detail/sensuous-steel.
Just click on any of the photos of the exhibits shown above to enlarge them…
Thanks for joining us in this tour of the Lane Motor Museum!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave