Banana Car Prepares To Slip Out For World Tour

Steve Braithwaite sits in the driver's seat of his Big Banana Car in front of a closed nightclub in Allentown, Pa. i i

Steve Braithwaite sits in the driver's seat of his Big Banana Car in front of a closed nightclub in Allentown, Pa. Steve Braithwaite hide caption

itoggle caption Steve Braithwaite
Steve Braithwaite sits in the driver's seat of his Big Banana Car in front of a closed nightclub in Allentown, Pa.

Steve Braithwaite sits in the driver's seat of his Big Banana Car in front of a closed nightclub in Allentown, Pa.

Steve Braithwaite

Steve Braithwaite isn't nuts, but he is a bit bananas.

Braithwaite and his brother, Spade, are the proud owners of the Big Banana Car, which they plan to drive around the world next spring. The idea to make a car shaped like a banana came about a few years ago, when Braithwaite was in a gas station paying for a fill-up and spotted a bowl of fruit.

"I'd never really noticed it before, but a lot of the bananas, instead of being that curvy boomerang shape that you think of, they actually curved at the back but then they ran fairly straight," Braithwaite tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

So he picked one up and began examining it from every angle ... and then it hit him: "I could build a car this shape!"

And that's exactly what he's done.

Braithwaite, who moved to the United States from England more than two decades ago, built hot rods for years in Flint, Mich., but he never dreamed he'd build a car in the shape of a piece of fruit.

"If [people] saw it off in the distance I wanted them to think it was actually a banana that was just five feet away," he says.

To create his mobile banana, he bought a 1993 Ford F-150 and removed the body. Then, he built the skeleton shape of a banana over the engine and suspension, covered it with chicken wire and sculpted it into a banana shape. The final touch, of course, was airbrushing the car yellow.

Construction took two years.

If you ask Braithwaite what the point of his Big Banana Car road trip is, he'll tell you it is "to have a blast."

But there is a more serious side to the quest. The Braithwaites are using it to promote awareness of deep vein thrombosis, which led to their mother's death. They've already raised more than $1,200 for the cause.

"If she knew about this, she would be just really rooting for the whole thing," Braithwaite says.

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