Johnny Cash's Bus

Open May 21, 2013 - October 29, 2013

Cash used this touring bus, the JC Unit One, for the last two decades of his career. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Cash wrote in his 1997 autobiography, “I have a home that takes me anywhere I need to go, that cradles me and comforts me, that lets me nod off in the mountains and wake up in the plains: my bus, of course. We call it Unit One. I love my bus. It really is my home too.  When I make it off another plane through another airport, the sight of that big black MCI waiting by the curb sends waves of relief through me – Aah! – safety, familiarity, solitude.  Peace at last. My cocoon.”

When viewing the bus one can almost feel Johnny Cash and June Carter’s presence, from the coffee ring Cash left on a table to the rotisserie oven that catered to his love for barbeque. One should also take note of:

  • The table in Cash’s personal compartment that was built of wood salvaged near Cash’s birthplace from a Civil War-era house that was General Ulysses S. Grant’s headquarters.
  • Johnny, June and their son, John Carter, all had separate compartments, along with an extra compartment for the bus driver.
  • June’s blue velour upholstered furniture.
  • Each compartment was equipped with a television and stereo, with individual remote-controlled antennas. 
  • Cash used the bus for the 1991 Highwayman Tour which transported Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.
  • Cash spent more than $553,000 in 1980 on the coach.

Cash bought the coach in 1980 and used it until 2003. He sold the bus just three months before his death to the American Heritage Music Foundation in Blytheville, Arkansas. They sold the bus to MotoeXotica in St. Louis, Missouri, who then auctioned it on e-bay in 2005. Dave Wright bought the bus and donated it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, its now permanent home.

view a behind the scenes tour of the Johnny Cash tour bus:

Exhibit Details