One Piece At A Time Car
Country music performer Wayne Kemp wrote the novelty song "One Piece At A Time” for Johnny Cash, who recorded it in 1976. It was Johnny’s last song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and the last of his songs to reach the Billboard Hot 100, on which it peaked at number 29.
The song tells the story of a poor auto worker who, over the years, took Cadillac parts home, and then built a hodge-podge auto of his own. The result was a composite of many models.
The promoters of the song asked Bruce Fitzpatrick, owner of Abernathy Auto Parts and Hilltop Auto Salvage in Nashville, TN, to build the vehicle for the publicity tour. Fitzpatrick had all the models of Cadillacs mentioned in the song, and built a car using the song as a model. The result was presented to Johnny in April 1976, and destroyed following the promotional tour.
In 1977, Bill Patch, of Welch OK, who liked to tinker mechanically with his collection of antique autos, decided to use his automotive know-how build his own one-piece-at-a-time Cadillac, to help raise money for his LIONs Club civic center. He and his mechanics scavenged the salvage yards asking for any old Cadillac parts.
He presented the car to Johnny, who loved it, and went to Welch to perform a series of concerts in return. A lasting friendship grew up between the two men.
Today, the Storytellers Museum & Hideaway Farm is proud to display this iconic part of Johnny Cash’s legacy.