It's amazing how much one can accomplish when they pursue their passion. One of the people who's accomplished a lot by following his passion is Jesse James. He loved motorbikes and wanted to make them his life.
While pursuing your passion is fun, making a living from it is a whole different ball game. James started building bikes from home, then started a shop called West Coast Choppers.
He's appeared in numerous documentaries but also hosted the reality TV show Monster Garage. Over the years, he’s garnered a reputation for customizing some amazing choppers. If you want a unique-looking bike, James is the man to go and see.
Being such a motorbike enthusiast, James has quite a collection. We went behind the scenes to find out the story behind his collection.
15 Shaq's Bike Is His Crown Jewel
After celebrities saw the great work that James did, they wanted him to customize bikes for them. One of the celebrities was Shaquille O'Neal.
James built the El Diablo, 2001 model, for Shaq, and the build process was documented on Motorcycle Mania 2, a Discovery Channel documentary, according to Bike-Urious. James regards the bike as his crown jewel.
14 Made Bikes He Couldn't Afford
When USA Today interviewed James he said, "I never had money, and I always wanted expensive bikes. So I learned how to do it myself. I would build everything. I'd paint everything, build my own motor, and show up with a cool bike, and people couldn't believe it. They were like, 'Yeah—you bought that.'”
13 He Loves Bikes With Low Seats
If you take a close look at his collection, one of the things that you'll pick up on is that most of the bikes have low seats. That's not a coincidence. James loves it when the seats on his bikes are low. He prefers to ride that way as it enables him to get the best possible ride. It also looks pretty cool.
12 One Of The Choppers Is Named After His Dog
Besides motorbikes, James loves dogs. One of the dogs that James had was a brown pitbull named Cisco. He loved the dog so much that he named the above chopper after his companion. James went one step further. When he opened up a burger joint, James called it Cisco Burger. Sadly, the dog passed away in 2008.
11 He Spends A Lot Of Time Building Bikes
Building bikes isn't a job to James – it's a passion. When you love something, you put a lot more effort into it than into a project that you regard as a job. He said, "The whole time I’m spending 200 hours on a gas tank or a fender or frame or something like that, I’m wondering how it’s going to feel to ride it.”
10 Some Of The Bikes Are Emission Non-Compliant
Although James loves making bikes, it doesn't mean that every single one is road legal. New York Times reported that the California Air Resources Board discovered that some of the bikes that West Coast Choppers sold between 1998 and 2005 did not comply with the state's emission regulations.
9 Certain Bikes Feature Exclusive Wheels
One of the things that James deserves a lot of credit for is building unique bikes. It's not only the frame and the paint that look unique when James builds a chopper, but it's also the wheels. James stated that West Coast Chopper had an arrangement with American Wheel, enabling him to fit unique tires on some bikes.
8 He Owns A Nitro Bike
Although most of James' collection is made up of choppers that he built, he also has a few bikes that would come as a surprise to many people. Since James loves taking risks, he has no problem getting on his nitro bike and pushing it to the limits. He featured it on an episode of Jesse James Is a Dead Man.
7 "Gold Digger" Was For a Documentary
Since James makes the bikes, he also gives them names. He chose to name the above bike "Gold Digger." Paul Funk Design stated that James made this chopper for the "History of the Chopper" documentary that James recorded. He used a 1970s frame to build the bike and awesome colors to paint it.
6 Used To Own A Dyna Defender
It seems that James enjoys updating his followers regarding his bike collection. He posted on social media, “Well, pretty sad I let go of my Louisiana Highway Patrol Dyna Defender. I had that sucker since it was New in 2004. It went to a very good home in Japan to @sin_takizawa I can't wait for him to take a rip on it!”
5 One Of His Favorites Is Hellrazor
Considering that James has made countless bikes, one would think that it would be difficult for him to decide which one was his favorite. One of his favorites is the 2009 Hellrazor chopper. Considering James loved it so much, it became known as the West Coast Chopper signature series motorbike.
4 A 1948 Panhead Is In The Collection
One of the things that social media followers of James know is that he loves his 1948 Harley Davidson Panhead.
He posted on Instagram,“YEE YA!! My 1948 Panhead is Ready for Paint! @dcchoppers Is Wrenching Away on the Motor and Trans. Not So Easy Restoring a Harley Nowadays with All OG Parts. Good to have Friends like @matthewolsen & #MarkWall I'm pretty Damn Excited I have wanted a 48 Pan since Jr High School.”
3 He Sold The Vanilla Gorilla On eBay
Since James is a big lover of motorbikes, he has had numerous different models in his collection. Some of them were painted in a strange color or had a peculiar shape. One of the bikes that he owned was called the Chango Blanco, or Vanilla Gorilla, which he sold on eBay for $125,000.
2 A Kawasaki Ninja H2R Is In His Collection
Who wouldn't want to own this splendid motorbike? Just look at it. Not only does it have dashing looks, but it also provides great performance. If you wanted a 2019 model for yourself, don't be surprised when you have to fork over $55,000. The bike has a supercharged, four-cylinder engine.
1 Customized Most Of His Bikes
One thing that James deserves a lot of credit for regarding his collection is that his bikes are unique. He enjoys building bikes, so he customized most of them. A lot of the work that he's done on his bikes is absolutely amazing, and it's no wonder that so many people have requested his services.