One Piece at A Time

The song tells the story of a poor auto worker who over the years pilfered Cadillac parts and built a hodge-podge auto of his own. The result was a composite of many models.

Number one - County Chart; Number 29 - Pop Chart

Written By

W. Kemp

Performed By

Johnny Cash



One Piece At A Time Car

Bill Patch of Welch Oklahoma along with the local Lions club were trying to raise money for a local civic auditorium. One day Bill was in his office and was listening to the radio and Johnny Cash's song One Piece At A Time. Patch, who liked to tinker mechanically with his collection of antique autos, decided it would be fun to build a car of the song’s description. He and his mechanics scavenged the salvage yards inquiring for “..a Cadillac fender or door.” “What model?” was the inevitable question..” It doesn’t matter.” Was the answer that was sure to bring a strange look and shake of the head. The end result of Patch’s efforts was a magnificent, 1949-73 Cadillac Coupe Sedan Deville, three-door automobile. Friends persuaded him to give his Cadillac creation to Johnny Cash. This, however , proved difficult as Cash was dubious of Patch’s “no strings attached” offer. But Patch wouldn’t give up. He took the car to the House of Cash Museum in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and waited for the star performer.

Cash quickly fell in love with the car, and after much conversation with Patch, decided to accept the gift. When he heard of the Welch Lions efforts to raise funds for civic auditorium, he obligingly planned a way to reciprocate Patch’s kindness. Cash brought his lovely and talented wife, June Carter Cash, to Welch for a benefit performance.

The rest of the story is history. The concert raised enough money to pay for the auditorium and a lasting friendship grew between Bill Patch and Johnny Cash, who helped the Lions Club again later by performing at another concert in that same auditorium. The car is on display at the Johnny Cash Museum in Tennessee.

Bill Patch, Johnny Cash and the One Piece At A Time Car