By Sue Moore
Whenever this unique Banana Car takes to the road, it gets everyone’s attention, says part-owner Tom Brown–even from a two-year-old, who yelled out to him in downtown Kalamazoo, “I love your car!”
From 3-5 p.m., Aug. 21, any child or adult that comes to the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market will receive a free ride downtown and back from the 300 N. Richardson Street pavilion. Scot Copeland, owner of SC Enterprises on North Street in Vicksburg is sponsoring the free rides which would ordinarily cost $60 for three people for 20 minutes.
The Banana Car isn’t the only strange creation from this group. Brown and his business partner, Steve Braithwaite, have been constructing an even more eye-catching vehicle in their Kalamazoo shop: the Topsy Turvy bus, an upside-down bus that uses a regular bus as a base and has another one attached to the top deck of the bus, turned bottom up. They are also building a submarine sandwich car, while receiving guidance and materials from Copeland.
SC Enterprises, with Copeland as its chief of imagination, is a fabricator and designer, using fiberglass and composites to construct such things as boats, cars, and even airplanes. The team of builders found him after purchasing expensive materials from a big box store, utilizing a Google search for help with their specific needs. “Scot is amazing. He is very friendly and interested in our project. He has offered great suggestions and will even volunteer his time to come to our shop and help us,” Brown exclaimed.
Braithwaite is from England and grew up building hot rods. He came to the U.S. to go into business as an aerial photographer 25 years ago. He had the inspiration for the Banana Car when he saw a perfectly shaped banana and thought he could replicate it as a car. The building of it took two years. It has been road worthy since 2010, winning first place in the Houston Art Car Parade, the largest and most prestigious event in the world of art car aficionados that year.
For the next two years the car was seen running up and down the east coast. In 2013, Braithwaite teamed up with his old friend Tom Brown from Kalamazoo and their aerial photography days. They had also been in business together selling green reflector signs that residents put on their homes or mail boxes to guide travelers, fire departments and EMS drivers.
He moved to Kalamazoo to work with Brown on the Topsy Turvy bus, which has been commissioned by Ben Cohen, of Tom & Jerry ice cream fame. They are also working on the sandwich car which is about 80 percent finished, Brown says.
“Steve’s the talent,” Brown says, “I’m just along for the ride.” Those who want a chance to take a ride, courtesy of Copeland, just need to show up at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, Aug 21.