American Chopper was the first reality cable show of its kind when it premiered in 2003. Few could have predicted that the show would shape the future of reality TV. In fact, pretty much all of today's reality shows that fit the competition-driven, drama-based model can trace their roots back to American Chopper.
Viewers were instantly hooked on the successes, failures, and drama surrounding a father and son team running an Orange County motorcycle shop. What was originally a show about a family of custom motorcycle builders soon turned into a show about a dysfunctional family who spent most of their time arguing and yelling at each other. The strangest part about it was that the macho drama queens' fights were actually better entertainment than watching their bikes get built. Below are just some of the weird creations they messed up.
20 The GoDaddy Bike
In season four, the team built a custom bike for the internet company GoDaddy. As far as OCC's builds go, the styling and the lines of this bike make it one of their nicer choppers. However, they were restrained by the brief they were given by the client, insisting the color scheme for the bike follow their lime green and bright orange corporate color scheme. It was an eyesore!
19 Chesapeake Energy Bike
In Season 6, the Teutuls were approached by Chesapeake Energy to build the first motorbike powered by natural gas. This was clearly outside of their expertise, as reflected by the end result. The oversized tank needed for the unusual fuel meant that the shape of the motorbike ended up looking awkward and all kinds of wrong, potentially making it even harder to ride than a "regular" chopper.
18 Bebop Bike
This thing consists of clashing lines and styles, with everything being pointy and sharp. It's not even a bike, it's a trike - a dually trike. Why does the exhaust exit right under the tank? Why are there spikes on the tank facing the rider? It's also covered in hyper-macho meathead cliches, such as tribal patterns, flames, brass knuckles...who in their right mind would want to ride this thing?
17 Anti Venom Bike
This bike came so close to being good. It's rideable and has clean lines, but its design is far from timeless. It looks like it was built in 2004, but in reality, it was unveiled in 2010. The bike caused a bigger rift between Senior and Junior, as it was built by Paul Jr after he branched out on his own - and it's an obvious rip-off of the original OCC Black Widow bike.
16 Australia Bike
The Aussie bike actually has clean, classic lines that mimic the classic choppers from back in the day. However, the OCC guys decided to include every single Australian stereotype possible in this build. There's a shark fin exhaust, boomerangs on the wheels, of course there's a kangaroo and a surfboard, all finished off with a big Aussie flag along with the famed Harbour Bridge.
15 N.Y. Yankees Bike
The Yankees bike was built in season two - straight from the mind of Paul Junior, whose mother was a huge Yankees fan. It was a given that the bike would feature a bunch of Yankees logos and resemble their uniforms, but the bike seems to be thrown together using a bunch of different shapes that don't match. Nevertheless, despite looking ridiculous, the bike proved popular with viewers.
14 Statue Of Liberty Bike
The one cool thing about this chopper was that it was built using copper - but Jesse James built a better-looking copper bike on Motorcycle Mania. The Liberty Bike turned out be a failure, as fans found it a bit disappointing. Probably not what the Gold Leaf Corporation, who commissioned the bike, were looking for when they wanted a bike to celebrate the 2011 celebration of Lady Liberty's 125th Anniversary.
13 QUBX Bike
In 2012, Matt McGee, the founder of the Cleveland-based company, Virtrex Systems, asked Paul Junior to build a motorcycle that represented his company. Virtrex Systems dabbles in QUBX technology, an extremely fast and innovative Internet application, and wanted the bike to imitate this particular feature. However, due to a lack of imagination, not to mention a lack of material, the bike came across as boring, despite the hefty price tag of $700,000.
12 World Of Warcraft Horde Bike
Paul Junior discussed the freedom he was given by the WoW's designers, Blizzard, stating: "When it comes right down to it, for them to let that go and let me take control and trust me, it's unheard of; nobody does that." Looking at the end result, we can say with certainty that we would never make the same mistake. It's not even a bike - it's some weird off-road trike!
11 The Peavey
While the guitar-themed motorbike which Orange County Choppers made for Peavey Electronics certainly had its charms, some of the features ended up looking like an afterthought, such as the rather cheap-looking fretboard on the tank. Hardly surprising, the Peavey bike ended up looking a bit rushed, given that Paul Sr had taken on another major project while the Orange County Choppers team were supposed to be focused on the Peavey project.
10 Gears Of War
The Gears of War bike was created to celebrate the launch of the computer game, Gears of War 3, a popular game set in an alien-infested, post-apocalypti wasteland. The bike was unconventional, to say the least, and ended up being a three-wheeled trike rather than a conventional two-wheeled chopper. The styling is questionable at best, and looking at the “bike," we can't help but think how awful the handling must be.
9 Ferrari Bike
How can someone not respect Ferrari's racing heritage, its constantly evolving design language and its fiery and passionate Italian engineering? With this bike, Paul Jr. sullies the good name of Enzo Ferrari by putting it anywhere near this uninspired, cookie-cutter, nondescript chopper. It's more like a Fiero-based kit car than an actual Ferrari. The only thing it has in common with actual Ferraris is the color... and presumably a six-figure price tag.
8 Abu Dhabi Bike
In season six, the guys at American Chopper built a bike inspired by the Abu Dhabi police force. The chopper used the same bright red color that features on Abu Dhabi police vehicles, as well as including the police force’s badge on the motorcycle’s wheels. The project ended up looking cheap, and it certainly didn't help that both Senior and Junior were less than enthused with the project.
7 Davis Love III Bike
As a classic chopper, this is one of the better builds OCC has done. The problem was that it ended up too dull for the fans of the show. The brief was golf-related and included some golf dude named Davis Love III. Clearly, neither Senior nor Junior had any idea what to do and were dumbstruck with what to do with the motorcycle, leaving everyone unimpressed with the end result.
6 The B-2 Bike
In 2009, Orange County Choppers decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the B-2 stealth bomber plane. The Chopper was given the name, "The Spirit of Innovation" with the date of its first flight written on the tail of the bike. The gas tank was inspired by the B-2's cockpit along with the wheels. This sounds great in theory, but the end result was far from great - it was downright hideous!
5 The Donald
In 2012, a certain businessman who's now one of the most powerful men in the world appeared on American Chopper, asking for something outrageous as well as expensive. As luck would have it, that just happens to be the OCC specialty, and the final product was ridiculous, vain, and incredibly over-the-top with gold handlebars and gold wheels - perfect for the man who has a gold elevator and a gold toilet.
4 Eragon Bike
In Season 4, OCC attempted to build a dragon-themed Eragon chopper, based on the 2006 movie of the same name. While they claimed the bike was inspired by dragons, using the sweeping lines of the handlebars, saddle and even the exhaust to represent the dragon's body—and an eye-catching electric blue color for the bodywork—it didn't really look like a dragon. At all!
3 Santa Bike
Except for being the ugliest bike we've ever laid eyes on, it's also pretty useless as it can only be ridden once a year. The bike is littered with little Christmas details throughout and is sure to get people in the holiday spirit...as long as they live somewhere it never snows.
2 Shelby Bike
This chopper was built for racing legend Carroll Shelby. Based on the Super-Snake logo, the bike was supposed to look like a snake – but it really doesn't, no matter how hard you squint, there's nothing snake-like about it. Clearly, Shelby wasn't too impressed either, because he ended up selling the bike - which was then resold at auction for $104,000.
There's so much weirdness going on with this bike, which was built for a gym supplements company. The frame has so many bends, it looks like it's part of a snakes and ladders game. Additionally, the tank looks like it was designed by a cubist, and the rest of the bike seems to be a cross between a streetfighter bike and a chopper but doesn’t really fit either description particularly well.
Sources: Orange County Choppers, Elite Daily, Discovery, Looper