Who among us doesn’t remember the Beverly Hillbillies? For years I have traveled to the Florida Flywheelers winter show in Avon Park and looked with awe at this lovely sculpture, along with another fascinating car called “the Travelers”. I have written about it before in my blog back in 2011. Now though, the lovely copper cars created by Ron Johnson are going to be sold.
Ron said, “On Jan 18, 2016 both cars are going to be auctioned off at the Mecum Auto Auction in the Road Art division at Kissimmee, FL. The cars were on loan at Flywheelers. We had a 3 year contract but they have been there since 08. We decided it was time for them to move on and to sell them.”
The Beverly Hillbillies car is a full size replica of the Beverly Hillbillies car, a 1921 Oldsmobile with Jed, Jethro, Elly May, Granny and Duke the dog. The sculpture is brass, copper, and copper clad in composition sculpted over a copper clad wood platform on wheels. It is 17.5 Ft. long x 9.5 Ft. high x 7.5 Ft. wide.
The Travelers car encompasses a bit of history that literally changed the world. The riders in the car are Edison, Firestone and Ford. This famous trio is riding in the full size 1910 Model T Ford. The sculpture is a full size copper and brass replica of a 1910 Model T with Henry ford at the wheel, Edison adjusting the headlight and Harvey firestone fixing the tire. Ron said, “They are dressed in 3 piece copper suits complete with copper ties, shoes and even copper hair. Each one has a copper rose in their lapel. The car doors open and close and the wheels can turn. This is all mounted on a 13′ x 7′ x 1′ treated wood deck clad in sheet copper. Total weight of display is approx 2,000 lbs.”
The copper art is lovely and the source surprisingly comes from a self taught person with a lifelong ambition to explore, learn and gain in knowledge. Ron Johnson was a Midwesterner born on a farm in Indiana and graduated high school in 1957 and then continued to farm for a few years after that. He later went on to learn a skilled trade with a few other jobs in-between. For 35 years he worked as a master plumber owning his own business for the last 20 years and retired in 2002. While working in his trade he also learned pipe fitting and sheet metal, leading lead him to the copper art work that he enjoys so much after he retired.
You can view the Beverly Hillbillies car at Log onto https://www.mecum.com/lot-detail/FL0116-237495/0/The-Beverly-Hillbillies-Full-Size-Sculpture/ or check out Mecum Auto Auction web page under Road Art. They are lot M226 and lot M225 or they can be seen on Ron’s web page at www.customcopperart.com.