The Lane Motor Museum–Nashville

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This is the second half of our trip to the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN.  In the first part we explored the parking garage and the automotive treasures that are on display there.  This installment we will be exploring the cars inside the museum itself and focus on the micro car exhibit that will be at the museum until sometime in May of this year. 

Greeting us as we stepped through the entrance was a 2013 Peel Trident:

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It was manufactured by Peel Engineering as an updated version of the Peel Trident manufactured and sold back in the 1960s.  A gentleman by the name of Cyril Cannell started the original Peel Engineering on the Isle of Man back then.  He was fascinated with fiberglass as a construction material and his little company designed and manufactured two micro cars, the Peel P-50 and the Peel Trident.  The P-50 being the smallest production car ever produced and the Trident the smallest 2-seater.

P1050999The P-50

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Red seems to be a popular color with micro cars.  Perhaps for safety reasons.

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Above is a 1953 Rovin D4.  Rovin developed motorcycles and motor cars in the 1920s and after WW II he was encouraged by the French government to produce vehicles that were affordable to own and maintain.

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Even though it clearly was low priced and easy to maintain it managed to be a beautiful car that didn’t look cheap.  The rear view mirror just sparkles with class.

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Above is the 1938 Tatra T-97 a Czechoslovakian beauty.  It was rear wheel drive, rear engine with 40 bhp and had a top speed of 80 mph.

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Above is a 1958 Tatra T-603

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This is a 1996 Tatra T-700

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Above is the 1939 JAWA 600. Franisek Janecek was an arms manufacturer during WW I that switched to motorcycles and cars afterwards.  JaWa was from the first two letters of his last name that the first two letters of the motor manufacturer, Wanderer.

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If you ever saw the movie Brazil you might recall this car:

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It is a 1957 Messerschmitt KR200 manufactured at the same post-war factory that made the famous German fighter planes of WW II.  It had a top speed of about 50 mph and could seat three for about half the price of a VW.

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The red pickup truck on the left is a Subaru

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It is a 1970, left-hand drive model. 

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Above is a 1962 Berkley T-260, a very popular three wheeler from England.

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This is a 1967 Toyota Sports 800.  It was a very sporty version indeed coming in at less than 1300 pounds and having a40 hp two-cylinder air-cooled engine.

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Above is a 1991 Honda Beat with a 64 hp 3-cylinder engine it could top out at over 80 mph.

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Take a close look at this Citroen.

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Yes, it is a double car.  Designed as a fire department car that could go in either direction so that it would not get stuck on a narrow road where it could not turn around.

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A racing BMW – 1962 Shirdlu weighing 635 pounds and boasting a hot-rodded 750cc BMW engine.

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The 1977 Urba

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and now for the fastest red car on display

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The 2015 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo with a twin-turbo 3 liter V-6 KERS power plant (hybrid) it was built to compete at LeMans.

 

As my sharp-eyed readers can tell not all the cars on display were red.  But with photos of hundreds of fascinating vehicles on display I had to limit just how many I could share with you.  Please make it a point to see this amazing place yourself and enjoy them all.  I certainly did.

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Nashville and the Lane Motor Car Museum

Last week we took a road trip to see the Lane Motor Car museum in Nashville, TN.  We had heard about it and knew that it has a special exhibit of “micro” cars until May of this year.

After World War II the European car industry was working hard to recover and since the continent was also recovering economically its people were looking for transportation options that were inexpensive.  From this came the development of the micro cars.  Some were spectacularly small and some were just petite.  There was a great deal of creativity in terms of engineering and development of these automobiles.

While we had seen examples of micro cars over the years the museum was offing a chance to see them all in one spot and compare the various approaches to producing micro cars.

The first thing we did was find a spot to park in their garage for the P71.  To our surprise we found that the exhibit started in the parking garage itself.  Here are some examples of what we found:

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Before the Tesla was the Fisker. A high end electric that looks beautiful.

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Looking around were some examples of small post-war cars.

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Above is the 1957 Reliant Regal MkIII

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Three wheelers were a favorite way to build these micro cars as many countries would treat them as motorcycles which was an advantage in registration and taxation.

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Some had two wheels in the front while others, like the one above had two wheels in the rear.

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There were some non-micro cars as well…

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Above is the Amphicar that could drive on roads and then drive into the water and propel itself with propellers.

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The car in the three shots above was derived from an early Volkswagen.

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The Simca above was a beauty from 1954.

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How about this very sporty 1964 Peel Viking Sport.

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Or this 1935 Adler Trumpf Junior

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There were these examples of military vehicles.

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From this angle this Citroen almost looked like an ambulance, but it was really a race car transport.

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There were a pair of classic SAABs…

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The white one was reminiscent of the ones Kurt Vonnegut once sold when he opened a small dealership on Cape Cod in the 1960’s.

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Above is a beautiful example of a BMW E30 M3.

These cars were just a few of those that we browsed before we left the parking garage and headed to the museum proper.

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Our next entry will show some of the hundreds of cars we viewed in the museum building itself.

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Fast Lane Auto Service–Nashville

The Discovery Channel has a series called Garage Rehab that features Richard Rawlings as the guy who finds and rehabilitates service garages that are in real trouble.  He also has a show called Fast n’ Loud that featured his own Gas Monkeys shop.

Richard learned what it takes to turn a so-so car business into a success and this spin-off went around the country looking into mechanics businesses that had lost their way or perhaps never found it in the first place.  Then helped them to rehabilitate their shop so they could become their own successful business.

Since we were going to Nashville to see the Lane Motor Museum it was an opportunity to take a look at one of the shops that had received Garage Rehab’s special touch.  We knew from the episode featuring Fast Lane Auto Service, that it was run by a talented mechanic that lacked many of the basic business tools that a service business requires.  The Garage Rehab crew consisting of Richard, Russell Holmes, and Chris Stephens, analyzed the condition of Fast Lane, its location, building, facilities, and business, and found it in desperate need of help.

After cleaning up the building, helping the owner obtain an education in business book keeping, providing new equipment, and designing a customer friendly reception area – the transformation was complete.  The show invested at least $125,000 in the rehabilitation of Fast Lane and we were curious as to how well it was doing post-rehab.

From my own experience with business I knew that many small business owners not only don’t have the business skills necessary to run a business, but they often bring with them some bad habits that work against them.  From watching Garage Rehab I could see that these things were addressed but I wondered if bad habits would reappear and that these shops might end up back where the show found them in the first place.

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What we found upon our arrival was a business in as good a condition as when the show concluded its episode on Fast Lane.  We entered the customer reception and waiting area and were greeted by John.  He has a very outgoing personality as well as an obvious knowledge of automotive service, especially in hotrods and muscle cars.

We talked to him about the process of becoming part of the series and he told us that he thinks he was nominated by a customer.  He was very genuine and allowed us to take some photos of his shop floor area.

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While they do general automotive service it was clear that John’s heart is in classic muscle cars and hot rods.

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They were in the process of rebuilding the front end of the Mustang.

Outside the shop building is the area that received the most radical change in the Garage Rehab process.  Originally a poorly organized covered metal building, it is now an outside covered parking area that protects and shows off the long term project cars that the shop works on.

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John explained what a transformation the rehabilitation of his shop and business has had as a result of the show.  His business is operating in the black and his life and family is where he always dreamed it could be.  John is a very happy guy.

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It was a treat to get to see one of the Garage Rehab locations in person and especially nice to see that it has resulted in a success to the degree that Fast Lane now enjoys.

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PRI2017–Products

There is so much to see while you cover all the exhibits here in Indianapolis.  So many familiar products and brands. 

This show I decided to explore everywhere that I could and share with you some of the interesting products that are out there, but you may not be aware of.

MSI Racing:

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Many a racer is looking for longer lug studs or, if you have one of the German brands that use lug bolts, you are looking to convert to studs.  MSI Racing has some excellent solutions.

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Borla is certainly not a new product name for most of us, but did you know that they made fuel injectors as well as exhaust solutions?

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Racers have known about the HANS device for years now.  It has made a huge difference in safety since its inception.  Now there is an alternative from the folks at Necksgen:

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They have other safety products as well.

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You may have heard of Stage 8 or perhaps not.  But you should.  They have developed a fool proof solution for the problem of vibration loosening exhaust hardware.  And now they have specific solutions for turbocharger exhausts.  Turbos have become more common in race engines and have much more vibration and heat expansion and contraction than naturally aspirated engine exhaust systems.

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Speaking of exhaust systems you should check out Stainless Works for their many complete systems that include long-tube headers, hi-flo cats, and collector to tailpipe exhausts.

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Northern Radiator is another vendor you should be aware of.  Many of its applications cover popular imports as well as domestics.

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Another exhaust and header supplier you might not have heard about – Kooks.

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How about Alternators and starters?  Hi performance and compact from WOSP.

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Tired of that expensive powder coating cracking or flaking off?  Don’t get me wrong, powder coating has made a world of difference on many applications, but here is a coating you should be checking out:

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Incredibly durable under adverse racing conditions.  Check with Steel-It and see if its what your application needs.

How about upgrading your vehicles suspension with complete solutions.  Check out BMR.

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G Force Axles can stand those extreme hot rods out there such as the Hellcat.

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AEM has been providing aftermarket gauges for many years and now you can move into the 21st Century with their digital dash.

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Speaking of digital how about chassis height measurement?  Check out Chassis Height Measuring System.

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It measures to specific frame points and adjusts for temperature variations.

Lets move on to your tool box.  A company called Spring Tools has a unique solution using spring technology.  From Center punches to hand impact drivers these spring powered tools will change how you work.

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How about finding a way to collect hardware as you take things apart?  Most of us use magnetic trays, but that doesn’t always work on stainless hardware and can only stick on steel and iron, not fiberglass or aluminum.

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When it comes to fabrication or manufacturing there have been three technologies that have dominated.  Welding, machining, and casting.  Today there is another.  It is called 3D printing or additive manufacturing.  At this year’s PRI show there were many examples.

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Windform above.

Stratasys:

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The complex shapes and structures boggle the mind.  This new technology needs a new way of envisioning design.

Along with 3D printing comes 3D scanning so that objects can be converted to be understood and manipulated by computer systems.

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PolyShape is another company that uses additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping.

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3rd Dimension is another exhibitor.

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Clearly 3D printing is a game changer.  It allows for creativity beyond what we have seen so far using multiple materials and integrated shapes and functional structure beyond our wildest dreams.

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PRI 2017 Opening Day in Indianapolis

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Another Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis and this one celebrates 30 years!

The traditional breakfast was very well attended.  It included Dave Despain interviewing Chip Ganasi.

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When it concluded the gates opened at nine o’clock and the showroom floors were a mass of racing people exploring the exhibits and searching for their suppliers.

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As we did our own exploration we came across some interesting vendors:

Have you ever felt the need to blow off a race track?

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Are you searching for a big turbocharger?

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Hunter was there with working displays of their latest tire mounting and balancing equipment along with the latest alignment machine.

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The tire machine above is incredible.  It lifts the wheel and tire into place, you show it where the TPMS sensor is located, step on a pedal, and the machine does the rest.  It dismounts the tire and after you have placed the replacement tire on the wheel the machine mounts it for you.

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The “Road Force” balance machine figure where the weights need to be located as well as their amount.  Automatically hiding the stick-on weight behind any wheel spoke. Then it calculates the road force with the roller on the back providing the pressure to check the roundness of the assembly.

Scattered about the show were several cars that looked the worse for wear.

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It is a the latest trend in creating monster powered drag cars that look, at first glance, as if they were found stuck in an overgrown field.  Interesting trend.

We saw a really fantastic looking Rambler American that a lady had bought and turned into an autocross car.  The flared fenders are beautiful and the suspension engineering is top shelf.

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That is it for today.  We spent hours on the exhibition floors so you know that the above is just a small piece.  That leaves more for tomorrow!

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The Smokey Mountains and the Tail of the Dragon

The fall is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the mountains that border North Carolina and Tennessee.  The foliage can be bright and spectacular.  The roads are fun to drive.

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We drove the P71 as it is the most comfortable car for a road trip with plenty of room and a great personality.

Our luck held out and the weather was mild and the sunlight enhanced the fall colors.  Sometimes it was overcast and then a few miles later the sun would break through tweaking the senses with a beautiful display.

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The windy roads made the ride even more enjoyable.

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Deal’s Gap is the start of the Tail of the Dragon from the North Carolina side.  Route 129 goes for about a mile or so and then you are in Tennessee for the remainder of the 11 mile section.  It has at least 318 turns over that distance and these turns are not trivial.  Many are switchbacks.

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There are many other driver that come to this road to see what it is liken as well as to challenge themselves.  As they enter into a spirited driving mode they imagine themselves as race car drivers in the days of old when public roads were used as race courses.

Some will find that the state police do not have the same feelings.  Others will discover that the Tail of the Dragon can bite back.

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We decided to skip the Tail for a while and explore the rest of the roads including the Skyway.

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There were some great sights along the drive.

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You can get over a mile high on these roads.

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We stayed at Fontana Village with plenty of company.  There were many car enthusiasts from all over with many different types of cars.

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It was a wonderful weekend and the roads and cars were not the only scenery worth noticing.

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Cars on the side of the road

From time to time an interesting car is sighted “on the side of the road”.  So here is a small collection that I’ve spotted in the last couple of weeks…

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The green car is a classic Citroen.

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A post war Ford and the VW Kaman Ghia!

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Above is a Packard

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The car above certainly is not vintage, but seeing a BMW i8 is rare indeed.

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