The Big Banana Car is coming to Columbus; here’s how you can take a ride

Jack McLaughlin

Today only, you’ll be able to ride around inside of a giant, motorized banana.

The Big Banana Car, a 23 foot-long vehicle that was converted from a 1993 Ford pickup over the course of two years by Steven Braithwithe and a group of friends, will be at a Clintonville Subway store from noon until dark today.

The Subway is located at 3200 N. High St., and rides will be handled first come, first served basis.


“I’m a hot-rodder. I grew up in England loving hot rod cars, and then moved to the US in 1986. Eventually I stopped going to hot rod shows, just because I’d seen them all before. I decided I wanted to build something completely ridiculous,” Braithwithe told 614Now.

He said while standing in line at a gas station in 2009, he noticed a banana with a shape that could potentially be converted into a motorized vehicle.

“That’s where it technically all started,” he recalled. “I remember holding that banana and telling myself, ‘The wheels would go here and here.’”

The Big Banana Car, which has toured the country in the past but halted long-term travel dude to COVID-19,  launched a mini tour on Sept. 26 called The World Needs More Whimsy Tour. The new tour began in Manitou Beach, Michigan on Sept. 26, and will conclude in Columbus today.

After this tour, Brakthwithe—who couch-surfs along the way—will make his way with a friend downtown to Texas and Florida where he’ll spend the warmer months, before heading back north in the spring.

Braithwithe offers rides to people in the cities that he visits, and uses the money to fund his travels, while donating the rest. Currently, the Big Banana Car is raising money for children without health insurance.

“Banana rides are my currency,” he said with a laugh.

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