West Coast Choppers
It all started in 1980 when a 7th grader named Jesse James took some kid’s bicycle, customized it, then turned around and sold it at a premium. He’s been forging bikes, and an empire ever since. Just a punk kid in Long Beach who decided to do something his own way, do it well, and do it in the face of everybody who said it couldn’t be done. Jesse formed West Coast Choppers ten years ago and it’s taken on a life of its own. First it grew into a hand-picked 50-man team in an 18,000-square-foot shop. Today it sprawls over 250,000-square-feet in industrial Long Beach, a series of art deco warehouses that, true-to-form, were simultaneously restored and modified to house the operations.
To own a West Coast Chopper puts you among the ranks of a select and lucky few--only 200 bikes have been built over the last ten years and calling them "custom" is simply redundant as each design is personalized from frame to Hell Bent exhaust, from start to finish.
This level of skill and quality of workmanship draws in the guys with the most talent, the tightest skills, and the biggest hearts. A gang of gearheads whose love for bikes and cars pushed them to become the best there is. Being here every day isnt just a job, it’s a family, and it’s a commitment to way of life. Just look down at the rubber-lined asphalt streets surrounding the Shop and you’ll know what we mean: sleds and rumblers, classics and the newest, fastest shit you’ve ever seen. And as always, smoke, solder and grease in the air.
So it was only a matter of time before West Coast Choppers expanded beyond the bikes. Yes, the cars have always been part of the landscape and now the focus is there too. Always at least fifteen bitchin’ projects underway, the car guys are always busy, chopping and channeling and airbags, all wrapped up in metal flake or maybe just primer and pin-striping.
The auto-racing came next: Top Fuel Drags, Super Late Model NASCAR, and the most-loved Figure 8s. Whether it’s designing a shell for a dragster, running the super late, or pushing the figure 8 around the turns Jesse’s race ops are always in full swing.
This same esthetic, this way of life spurred the creation of Pay Up Sucker Productions; a documentary film company currently laboring over the first offering: History of the Chopper, chronicling the advent of the chopper by examining the guys who did it first. Several other projects are in the works and all of them will push the boundaries of what’s being done today while showing appreciation and respect for what’s been done in the past. Because that’s how West Coast Choppers do it.