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Lane Motor Museum

Words and Photography by Kirt Barnes

“Hey, you want to go to a car museum in Nashville?”

Fast forward to the last week of June and I find myself driving to Nashville TN, with fellow Average Squad creator Andy Carter( who arranged this visit) to the Lane Motor Museum. Being honest, I had only heard the name of the museum before and had not really looked into it. What I did know, was that I had time to burn, and was being presented with the opportunity to photograph in a collection while it was closed to the public. No sitting back waiting for children to move for a shot, no hoping to squeeze a couple frames in as one person moves out and another moves in; full access to the entire collection inside and out.

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The Lane Motor Museum sits just south of downtown Nashville. One could almost drive by without even seeing the facility. The Museum is actually housed in an old large bread bakery. Most of the flooring is hardwood, the natural lighting comes in from windows sitting high and surrounding the floor, giving vehicles a different look from one angle to the next. The first thing to be noticed walking through the doors, is the open display style. Every car in the exhibit space is open. No ropes, chain, etc. keeping the visitor at a distance. They do trust visitors to not climb in vehicles, while giving access that you wouldn't get at most other exhibits. Want to see the interior? The window is down, go ahead, poke your head in. 

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The next thing that hits is the main focus of the collection. While there are a few odd cars of domestic origins, almost the entire auto collection is European. There are a few vehicles of Japanese origin, but those few are also unique in their own right. Among the Euro focused collection, you start to see quickly that not only are the vehicles very clean examples, but also often very rare examples. Vehicles that a handful only were built, some even one off creations that never made it to production. Others, cars that were in wider release in Europe with limited or no market in America. Every vehicle has signage giving a brief of the vehicle type and often, information concerning the vehicle on display. 

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Now, the greatest thing about this museum, is a bit of a drawback. A photographer could spend two days in the facility and still not cover every display. It is not a large facility, but the varied selection makes it a challenge to take in all the information. The truth is, it’s not so much a drawback, but an overwhelming of the automotive senses. Just when one thinks they have taken it all in, oops, there is another vehicle you didn't even notice before. When you have started looking up, you realize only then that the ceiling is filled with full size aircraft, and a wing dedicated to historic motorcycles is off to the side, then another room filled with historic bicycles… 

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The most knowledgeable gearhead would leave the Lane Motor Museum realizing there is so much more to learn. Presented here, photographs of various vehicles on display, and still only a small sampling of what the collection has to offer, enjoy.

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