Willis Johnson recounts the early beginnings of Copart and when the original Mather auto yard began to offer more diverse inventory for different automobile types.
The Mather yard, the mother business that started it all, continued to succeed. But I was concerned. Selling the parts from Chrysler while the Detroit plants were shutting down to those who needed them was a cash cow for now. However, it would be harder to do business because fewer people would have Chrysler vehicles to repair if these shutdowns kept happening.
As I attended auto auctions, I noticed there were more mini-trucks than ever before. The 1973 oil crisis had sparked the popularity of more fuel-efficient vehicles like the Chevy Luv, Ford Courier and Datsun pickups. Yet there were no yards that specialized in these unique vehicles.
Seeing this as an opportunity, I opened up Mather Mini-Truck in West Sacramento. I chose to predismantle the trucks and rack the parts. I shipped in aftermarket sheet metal from Taiwan to fill the inventory and told other dismantlers I was specializing so they could send mini-truck business my way.
It was another instant hit, and the success of the business remained constant. As the business grew, Datsun turned into Nissan, the Ford Courier turned into the Ford Ranger and the Chevy Luv went to the S10.