This is the venue Bill Fortney called Hot Rod Heaven. It is actually one of the largest private car collections in the United States. It is owned by a gentlemen named Willis Johnson. It was built and owned by Alan Jackson, Country & Western music star who loved cars.
The 19,000 square foot home in Franklin, TN has six bedrooms, two twenty car garages, log cabin, all on almost 140 acres. The two bedroom log cabin has a beautiful balcony overlooking the Harpeth river. An old-fashioned kitchen is furnished with vintage appliances.
Also included on Jackson’s former Eagle’s Nest estate in Williamson County is a stocked lake, three ponds and boathouse. One of the first things Johnson did when he bought the property was to build a 47,000 sq foot garage to replicate a 60s era atmosphere. It has to be seen to appreciated.
The images I’m showing you today are not so much an art form, but a representation of what I saw. I must admit when I walked into the building it gave me pause.
As we were winding our way through the estate I saw crews of men picking up sticks from the grounds. There were other crews working on some of the wooden fences that surround the property. They continued their work even in a down pouring rain. The first thing I noticed when I walked in what this amazing replication of a dinner. It is non functional and simply for esthetics, but complete in detail.
The next thing that hits your senses is how clean and spotless everything is. You could eat your dinner off the floor. The hundreds of cars in the building are spotless and shine brightly under the fluorescent lights, which makes them hard to photograph, but no one was complaining.
The men who work in the building take meticulous care of the automobiles. They are all registered and licensed. They are driven once a month by the employees of Willis around the property to keep them in perfect working order. He does not buy cars to restore. he buys them at Mecum Auctions already fully restored. He will take his crew to an auction and they will drive their purchases back to the property. If he decides to sell one of his cars he will do the same thing and drive them to the auction.
Willis Johnson is a remarkably interesting man who is a self-made millionaire. His company Copart was founded in 1982 by Willis J. Johnson, a true American success story. Johnson grew up learning about business from his father – an entrepreneur who dabbled in everything from dairy-farming to running restaurants and building houses. Johnson took that entrepreneurial spirit, along with a strong work ethic and a passion for change, and started Copart with just one salvage yard in California.
In 1994, he took Copart public (NASDAQ: “CPRT”), raising the money needed to expand the company across the United States. Our evolving auction technology has transformed Copart from a salvage vehicle auction company into a technology company offering a global re-marketing platform that links buyers and sellers around the world.
Today, Copart is the premier destination for quality vehicles. Our technology makes it easy to find, bid and win the vehicles our Members are looking for. Members can choose from classics, early and late-model cars and trucks, industrial vehicles and more. We sell over one million vehicles each year, and have thousands up for auction every day.
Copart’s success has earned us a place on the Forbes America’s Best Small Companies list nine years in a row. Copart was also featured on the television show World’s Best as “The World’s Best Remarketing Company.” You can find out even more about the history of Copart from founder Willis Johnson’s book, Junk to Gold. Available through Amazon.com, Junk to Gold is the inspiring narrative of Willis Johnson’s journey from one auction location in Vallejo, California, to global, multi-billion dollar business.
That’s it for today. I have a lot of images to show you from the car collection including some from his garage that is dedicated only to Corvettes.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day and be careful.