Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

Or… just automobiles.

Yesterday I went to visit my friend Dan at his weekend gig, the Lane Motor Museum.  He had been telling me to visit the museum since I’ve moved down here, but yesterday was the first time I made it over there.  I wasn’t disappointed. What a fun little place!  It’s not so little, though — it’s the largest collection of European cars and motorcycles in the United States.

And it helped to have my own personal tour guide.  (I even got to go see the basement and the shop, too!  Shhh…)

There were several highlights, and I can’t even name them all because I don’t remember all their names.  But I’ll take a stab at a few:

They have a lot of Fiats on the floor right now, because Fiat is attempting to introduce the new 500 over here in America.  I love, love, love Cinquecentos, so I loved seeing both the 500s and all the other ones.  They’re so cute!

I wanted to stick him in my pocket and take him home.

Or maybe this guy too:

On the opposite side of the size spectrum, they have an enormous Army vehicle in the back — a 1959 LARC.  Next weekend they’re going to run stuff over with it, including a car.  It was enormous.

The Lane Motor Museum’s 1959 LARC-LX weighs in at 194,000 pounds and is one of the largest amphibious vehicles ever built by the U.S. Military. On Saturday, July 23rd it will be the highlight of the museum’s Summer CRUSH event when, at 2:00 pm, it attempts to crush a Pontiac 6000! Museum guests can participate by bringing items of their own to be crushed as long as the items don’t contain glass or any flammable or toxic substances!* Guests should be prepared to take home any crushed items as souvenirs.

Hilarious.

The neat thing about the museum is that something like 90% of the cars are in working, running order.  So it’s not a museum of cars that are pretty to look at but may or may not work.  They have a really impressive shop where they fix the cars — sure, to make them look nice, but also so they run.  Sometimes it means manufacturing a part themselves for some car that probably hasn’t had a part made for it in 50 years.  They still take some of the cars out on the road, too.  So that’s pretty sweet.

They also have the world’s smallest production car, the 1965 Peel P50.  It’s basically a seat with a fiberglass body.  You can fit 43 of them in a two-car garage!  There’s no reverse because it’s has a scooter motor, so there’s a handle on the back and you just pick up the car and take it where you want it!

(Don’t mind my annoying voice on these videos.)

Dan started it (eventually… it has a sensitive clutch!) and then… away he went!

Dan let me sit in it, and then a cute little family had been watching him drive around, so he let them take turns sitting in it too.  When one of the women got out, the other woman quipped, “That’s probably the only time three people have been in that car.”  She was pregnant with twins! : )

one headlight!

I highly recommend a trip to the museum!  And who knows, if you go on a weekend and mention you know me, maybe you’ll be lucky to have your own personal tour guide, too!

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2 thoughts on “Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

  1. Haus Frau says:

    My boys would want us to pick up that car (the Peel P50) and take it home. I’m sure Z would suggest it fit in the van. ;)-

    The scary thing is, I recognized that car from Top Gear.

    The other scary thing is…. I occasionally have watched Top Gear….

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