Tatra: Excellence in Engineering at Lane Motor Museum, May 8-Nov 3, 2014
This show, opening May 8, will be the first time we have displayed nearly every Tatra in our collection at once! Twenty different Tatra cars & trucks will be on display. Chronologically these vehicles exhibit 73 years of Tatra’s history with vehicles from 1923-1996.
Largely unknown outside Eastern Europe,Tatra was a car company driven by engineering innovation. It’s first car, the 1923 T-11, was a very successful, totally new car designed by Austrian engineer Hans Ledwinka. The T-11 featured a backbone chassis with independent swing axle rear suspension. The 2 cylinder front air cooled engine had the front suspension mounted to it. The Tatra T-11 was a huge success because it was robust and reliable, two very important attributes for a car in an area where roads were barely more than improved wagon trails.
Tatra and Ledwinka were not sitting still and resting on their success. Only 11 years after starting car production they introduced the Tatra T-77 at the Berlin Auto Show in May, 1934. With its aerodynamic shape (done with the help of Paul Jaray) and its V-8 air cooled engine at the rear, the car was unlike anything of the era.
Tatra realized they need a very upscale car to be successful in the western European market and the T-77 was just the car. Although some people saw the car as ugly, one could not deny its 90 mph top speed and excellent road handling. The T-77 was quickly replaced in 1936 by the Tatra T-87, a slightly smaller but more powerful car than the T-77. The T-87 remained in production until 1950.
Hans Ledwinka was wrongly imprisoned after WWII for working for the Germans. Tatra continued on without him but the innovative designs he pioneered became aged and, looking back, Tatra’s best years were when Ledwinka lead the engineering department. Tatra continued to produce cars until the mid-1990s.
Lane Motor Museum has the largest collection of Tatras in North America. To the best of our knowledge there are less than 200 total in the United States. For the first time, we will be displaying twenty Tatra cars and trucks along with our collection of Tatra models and artwork.
Noted motorsports photographer Wes Duenkel has made a career of capturing the effort and passion that goes into Sports Car racing, and the wrencher-turned-photographer will see his own efforts recognized as a selection of Duenkel’s work will be on display at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, beginning March 16, 2013. The exhibition, which is entitled “Hues of Horsepower: Images of Endurance Racing at Daytona,” will feature 12 of Duenkel’s photos.
Frequently dispatched to tracks across the continent to photograph for both private clients as well as a range of publications, Duenkel’s often stunning images have established him as an innovator. The savvy shooter is able to demonstrate the motion and emotion that goes into motorsport as well as convey the narrative of a race weekend.
Duenkel, a Goodlettsville, Tennessee resident, is a long-time fan of the museum and is thrilled to display his work at the popular Nashville landmark.
“Most of my work has been in GRAND-AM, and in addition to covering each event for StangTV.com (a go-to source for Mustang news), I provide images to several teams and corporate clients involved in the series,” says Duenkel, who has been traveling the sports car racing circuit for over six years.
“I find the ‘traveling circus’ of the racing world addictive. One of my favorite times to photograph is after the track has gone quiet, and the warm glow of dusk settles on the paddock. People think of the race track being a loud place, but when the cars are not on track, there are a lot of subtle sounds that I really appreciate–people laughing, impact guns clattering, generators humming. Mechanics change brake pads, adjust wheel alignment, and glue lug nuts to wheels. Drivers study data to turn the faster laps. Everyone wants to taste the champagne on race day and it is a great time to capture the personalities that pour their hearts into their jobs.”
Lane Motor Museum is well-known in Nashville and specializes in highly-unique, European cars that are rarely seen stateside. The goal of the organization is to share in the mission of collecting and preserving automotive history for future generations. With over 300 vehicles in its collection, Lane Motor Museum rotates its collection on a regular basis to keep the exhibit floor fresh for returning guests.
Both new and returning guests alike will have the opportunity to view some of Duenkel’s striking images which will be displayed from now until February 2014.
“A race team member will often ask me, “Why are your photos so crisp, clear, and colorful?” offered Duenkel. “It’s a good question, and not easy to answer. I used to engage a long explanation of the incremental benefits of focal lengths, apertures, file formats, and equipment quality. But now, instead of watching their eyes glaze over, I relate it to the question, ‘Why is your racecar so quick?’”
Duenkel’s work has been showcased in a range of national publications including Jetset Magazine, Ford’s 2013 Mustang GT500 posters and calendar, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, 5.0 Mustang Magazine, and Powerblock Magazine among many others.
The Grand-Am Rolex 24 at Daytona is a grueling, daylong race held every January at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Since the first Daytona 24 in 1966, the race traverses a 3.56-mile, 12-turn circuit on Daytona’s high-banked tri-oval and infield road course. The images in this exhibition capture dramatic human, technical, and environmental elements from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Rolex 24 at weekends at Daytona.
This exhibit runs through February 10, 2014.