Macchine Italiane: A Tour of Italy’s Motoring Spirit is a look at Italy’s love affair with the automobile - from the affordable Fiat 500 to the exotic Lamborghini Urraco, with many interesting cars between. Macchine Italiane, open May 26, 2016 through May 22, 2017 at Nashville’s Lane Motor Museum, features over three dozen vehicles including race cars, motorcycles and even bicycles that demonstrate Italian design and engineering from 1936-2012. All items in this exhibit were drawn from the collection of Lane Motor Museum. In addition to the items included in Macchine Italiane, museum visitors can enjoy over 120 other unique vehicles, primarily from Europe and Asia, and rarely seen in the U.S.
Italy has always had a passion for automobiles and driving, perhaps best exemplified by the duo of famous road races, the Mille Miglia and the Targio Florio. The Italians’ sporting heritage is a central theme of Macchine Italiane, with a 1980 Santandrea Formula Monza 875, a 1999 Dallara IRL Car and several examples of successful sports cars, including a 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider, a 1971 OTAS 820 Grand Prix, a 1991 Lancia Delta HF Integrale and more. With Monza, the third oldest racetrack in the world, Italy’s race culture dates back to 1895 and dozens of low-volume manufacturers of high-performance cars thrived in Italy. Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Lamborghini, among others, survive to this day.
Though considered a people’s car, the Fiat 500 series found its way into this race culture with early competition success and is still popular with professional and amateur racers today as Italians are known to be ready to race, anytime, anyplace! Introduced in 1936, the Fiat 500 remains in production today, having gone through many changes in its eighty year history. Due in no small part to the long-standing and tumultuous political climate in Italy, Fiat has survived as its one high-volume car manufacturer. Starting in 1899 and continuing until today, Fiat and affiliates Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Maserati produce over 90% of Italy’s vehicles. The Fiat 500 series has been central to their growth and popularity, as it was essential in mobilizing the public Post-WWII and in periods of financial instability; Fiat helped democratize car ownership in Italy. Macchine Italiane features ten select vehicles that demonstrate the evolution of the Fiat 500, from the 1936 Fiat 500A Coupe "Topolino" to the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth, and including Fiat 500 specials that were derived from its flexible platform like the 1974 Ferarrio Lucertola 500 and the 1970 Fiat 500 Giardiniera pickup.
Though a smaller marque, Lancia has been an important leader in technical innovations—not only in Italy but worldwide. Lancia developed monocoque construction, the V-4 and V-6 engine, the 5-speed transmission, and pioneered the aerodynamic development of the auto by the use of the University of Turin’s wind tunnel. Featured in this exhibit are the 1945 Lancia Aprilia, the first European car developed in a wind tunnel, the 1960 Lancia Appia, a small, solid family car that lent itself to both competition success and special models developed by Zagato, Pininfarina, and Vignale, and the 1976 Lancia Scorpion, a Bertone-designed replacement for the Fiat 124 Spider; it was unique among Lancias, with few shared parts.
About Lane Motor Museum
A member of the National Association of Automobile Museums, Lane Motor Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit automobile museum, established in 2002 by Jeff Lane. As director, Jeff Lane continues to search out cars for the collection that are technically significant, rare, or uniquely different with a focus on vehicles from Europe and Asia. Though the collection exceeds 450 vehicles, approximately 150 are typically on display at any time and the items on the museum floor are rotated frequently. The goal of Lane Motor Museum is to share in the mission of collection and preserving automotive history for future generations and works to maintain all vehicles in running order and is one of the few museums in the U.S. to specialize in European cars. It is a working museum with the goal of maintaining all vehicles in running order. Some cars are in showroom condition, while others represent typical aging. Efforts are made to restore each vehicle to near-original specifications.
Admission is free for visitors ages 5 and younger and to members; $12 for adults; $8 for seniors and college students with ID; and $3 for youth ages 6-17. Active and retired military save $3 per ticket with ID. Discounts are offered for groups of 15 or more with advance reservations by calling 615.742.7445. The museum is located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville and is normally open Thursday-Monday from 10am-5pm but in 2016 will follow summer hours and will open daily, 10am-5pm, from May 26, 2016-October 10, 2016. Additional information is available by calling 615.742.7445 or by visiting http://www.lanemuseum.org/.