Memory Lane Classic Cars Museum is one of Lake Oconee’s hidden gems. Housed in a revitalized strip mall is the private collection of Jerry and June Smith; a collection that contains over one hundred and fifty cars. Around one hundred and twenty of these cars are on display at the museum, making it the largest collection of classic American automobiles, motorcycles and memorabilia in the Southeast. The cars are rotated on a regular basis to ensure a unique visit every time.
Jerry and June Smith have lived in the Lake Oconee area for over 18 years. As to why he collects cars, Jerry says “Some people like to fish, some people like to golf, I like to collect cars.” In creating Memory Lane, the Smith’s goal was not a history lesson. They wanted to create a family environment-- kids 12 and under are allowed free admission to the museum. There are other classic car collections in the state of Georgia, but none so open to the public as this one. It’s truly a unique, one of a kind experience that is not to be missed.
Among the cars on display at the museum are several rare specimens, including a 1954 Buick Skylark-- one of less than nine hundred ever manufactured. They also feature a 50th anniversary Chevrolet Corvette by Lingenfelter, a 1965 Pontiac GTO, and a 2005 Ford GT540-- one of the fastest cars on earth. The eclectic collection features everything from classic vehicles restored to perfection to modern hot rods and motorcycles.
The 44,000 square foot showroom is an experience for all ages. “There are cars that your grandfather may have owned, that your dad may have had, different vehicles that have touched you, so that’s kind of what they wanted, they wanted the family experience,” says museum curator Chuck Satter. “One of my favorite stories is a lady was here, and she said she had four brothers and sisters. They all sat in the back of that Cadillac that’s in the other room, all five of them, and they have a picture of that. It’s those kinds of stories that make it so much fun to be here and listen to that.”
Memory Lane Classic Cars is not a for-profit business. The collection is simply there for the world to see and enjoy. All proceeds from the $5 ticket sales go to local charities, like the Elk Lodge at the Lake. Volunteers from the Lodge help with administration at the museum, and they’re organizing a toy drive for Christmas. Says Satter, “The saddest part of my day is having to drive my car home after being around all these nice ones.”
Memory Lane Classic Cars
170 Scott Road, Eatonton GA