Nashville, Tennessee’s, Lane Motor Museum is doing its best to celebrate 60 years of the Citroën DS and to spread the story of France’s many contributions to the world of automobiles in its new exhibit, Les Autos Francaises: 60 Years of French Automotive History.  It opens to the public on Thursday, May 21 and runs through April 4, 2016.

About one-quarter of the Lane’s 400-vehicle collection are French, and 30 of those have been chosen for the exhibit, which covers the period from 1924 to 1985.

ID19 rear at Lane Motor Museum

Jeff Lane, the museum’s founder and director, explains that France had a number of advantages during the automobile’s early years – its roads were far better than other European nations’, it enjoyed a high level of technical skill, and it was blessed with able and tireless entrepreneurs.

Jeff Lane  Jeff Lane

Today, the Lane Motor Museum’s 100-strong French car collection includes about 50 Citroens, eight of which will be included in the special exhibit.  Among the others are Renault, Simca, Peugeot, Panhard, Hotchkiss-Gregoire, Matra, Deutsch Bonnet and Georges Irat.

1940 Georges Irat front  1940 Georges Irat

Lovers of the highly unusual will not be disappointed. The one-of-a-kind, propeller-driven Helicron from 1932 will be on display, as will a 1920 Peugeot bicycle that uses a similar propulsion system.  And there is an array of microcars, from barely-more-than-bicycles to delivery vehicles to sporting models.   Here is a complete list of vehicles in the French Automotive History exhibit:

  • 1920 Peugeot Propeller Bike
  • 1924 Citroën 5CV
  • 1924 Sima Violet
  • 1925 Hirondelle Rétro-Direct Bicycle
  • 1927 Panhard-Levassor X74
  • 1931 Mochet Velocar
  • 1932 l’E’clair (replica)
  • 1932 Helicron
  • 1937 Citroën 7C
  • 1938 Citroën Gazogene
  • 1938 Georges Irat
  • 1938 Peugeot 202
  • 1940 Georges Irat
  • 1951 Hotchkiss Gregoire
  • 1953 Ardex
  • 1953 Rovin D-4
  • 1954 Citroën 2CV
  • 1954 Panhard Dyna Jr
  • 1954 Simca Weekend
  • 1955 Deutsch Bonnet HBR5
  • 1956 Mochet CM125Y
  • 1959 Citroën ID 19
  • 1959 New Map Solyto
  • 1961 Panhard PL17
  • 1962 Citroën 4×4 Sahara
  • 1962 Renault Dauphine
  • 1965 Matra D’jet 5
  • 1967 Mep X-2
  • 1970 Citroën M-35
  • 1973 Citroën SM
  • 1975 Matra Bagheera
  • 1980 Ligier JS4
  • 1985 Renault Turbo 2
  • Solex Model 3800 (year unknown)

For more information visit the Lane Motor Musuem website for hours and admission.

ID19 and 4x4 Sahara at Lane Motor Museum
60 years of French cars at Lane Museum