One man’s passion has resulted in over 300 displays of motor history on Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville.
Jeff Lane began restoring cars as a young teen. In 2002, he established the Lane Motor Museum with this goal: “to share in the mission of collection and preserving automotive history for future generations.” Just 1 year later, his personal collection was added to the museum showroom and the Lane Motor Museum opened to the public in 2003.
The Lane Motor Museum also has the distinct title of being ‘one of the few museums in the U.S. to specialize in European cars.’
I have 2 boys and from an early age they have either played with cars, planes, trains etc. (anything that moves really) or acted like them. I thought it would be appropriate and fun to visit the Lane Motor Museum, in Nashville. They were happy to oblige.
Here’s what it was like…
The museum itself is very large. It was once home to Nashville’s Sunbeam Bakery.
The main floor where the vehicles are displayed at Lane Motor Museum consists of about 40,000 square feet.
There are a wide variety of vehicles inside — everything from cars to planes to helicopters and motorcycles. The vehicles are rotated every few weeks, so the display inside the museum is constantly changing.
Closeup: A 1907 Leyat Flight Trainer
Cars with 2 heads, 2 engines or 3 wheels. Cars that fold in half and even run by propeller. A 100-ton amphibious vehicle? This is not your typical car museum! Source
A Walking Tour
We walked through the museum and enjoyed learning the history of vehicles from the likes of a 1936 Harris Aerodynamic Steam Car (made in the USA) to a 1969 Rapido Folding Camper (made in France).
In between the cars and the campers was a helicopter that could land in snow and the world’s smallest car, a 1965 Peel Trident (made in the Isle of Man).
The history of each motorized and restored vehicle, where it was originally manufactured, details of its use, and original price are all in close proximity to each display.
One interesting fact I learned while touring the museum is that approximately 90% of the vehicles on site are in working condition.
As you meander through the museum, there are some areas labeled ‘unique’. (You’ll see the hanging signs.) Those areas, as you may have guessed, are home to the most unique vehicles and it’s worth the time to stop by and learn about those specifically.
There is also one vintage car (look for the huge white Lane Motor Museum sticker on the car doors) that people can get in and pretend they are driving. The kids loved that. At first, we felt like we were doing something wrong at first because you’re not supposed to touch any cars in the museum, but this is the one vehicle you can actually touch and get inside.
By the end of the day, after looking at all of the restored cars inside the Lane Motor Museum, we started talking about what it would have been like to grow up ‘back then’.
What We Liked Best
My favorite vehicle at the Lane Motor Museum is the 1959 LARC-LX (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo). It is — simply put — amazing!
If you are a military history buff you will love the LARC. It was made in the U.S. at several different shipyards during the Vietnam War years. It was the military’s largest amphibious craft with the capacity to transport 60 tons (either by sea or land).
To put it in perspective, the tires on the LARC are 9 feet high and each wheel has its own engine. Standing almost 20 feet high, with a fuel capacity of 600 gallons, the LARC’s top speed is 16 mph on land and 7 knots in the water.
When you visit the Lane Motor Museum, not only can you see the LARC (it is outside) but you can view exact footage of how it was transported — through the streets of Nashville to the museum. That alone is worth the price of admission.
The museum’s goal is to continue adding to its collection, so we plan on returning soon — especially to see the LARC again.
Good To Know Before You Go
If your feet get tired walking through the museum, there’s a sitting area with windows looking out at the showroom. There are also vending machines for a quick snack or drink in the lunch room. Restrooms too, of course.
Little kids (and big kids too) will enjoy the kiddie area with a variety of ride-on toys and mini-vehicles to play with.
When planning your visit, keep in mind that they have different hours during the summer months, so be sure to check the website first. On-site parking is free.
Admission prices range from $3 to $9, based on your age. Children under 5 are FREE. For some, a Lane Motor Museum membership may make sense because you and a guest get unlimited admission for 1 year. And here’s a fun thing: Dads get in FREE on Father’s Day!
As you exit the museum, be sure to see how high you can place your Lane Motor Museum sticker on the flag pole. It’s a tradition.
Oh, and be sure to stop by the gift shop… it’s really cute.
Who knew?… You can even gift, sell, or display your own vehicle at the Lane Motor Museum!
More Fun Stuff About Lane Motor Museum
- Fun FAQs about the Lane Motor Museum
- Popular Mechanics’ Top 10 Weird and Wonderful Car Museums
- Lane Motor Museum: So Fun, We Had To Drag The Kids Out
- Dads Are Free At Lane Motor Museum On Father’s Day
- Motor Life’s Review Of Lane Motor Museum
- Review: Visiting Lane Motor Museum With A Toddler
- NBC News: 12 Car Museums Worth Visiting
- Trains, Planes, And Automobiles: A Visit To lane Motor Museum
I'm a happily married mom to 3 wonderful children: Taylor (13), Gavin (10) and Garrett (8). We recently relocated to the Nashville area from Florida and we're enjoying exploring Middle Tennessee and all it has to offer. My hobbies are: writing, photography, digital scrapbooking, cooking, and all things parenting.