Vehicle customizer Jesse James is something of a legend in the world of motoring - or at least that’s how he would like to be seen!
He claims to be related to the infamous outlaw Jesse James and has enjoyed some impressive successes with his own business, including West Coast Choppers which he opened in 1992 and which went on to make bikes for clients like Keanu Reeves and Shaquille O’Neal.
James is also a TV personality, thanks to his shows Motorcycle Mania and Monster Garage, in which he joins forces with a team of mechanics to try and create a modified car to a very specific brief. Not all his automotive creations are a success, however, and James would probably prefer that some never saw the light of day.
15 Radial Hell
Jesse James doesn’t tend to get things wrong with bikes – they are his area of expertise, after all – but this clunky machine with its odd radial engine is definitely a creation to be forgotten.
Aside from looking ugly, the innovative radial engine also makes the bike rather awkward and uncomfortable to ride!
14 Flying Car
Many people have dreamed of the days when they will finally be able to get behind the wheel of a flying car.
Although in those dreams the airborne vehicles probably look more like something out of The Jetsons and less like a misguided tribute to the Red Baron, a German WWI fighter pilot.
At least the flying car was trying to achieve something original. One of his Monster Garage creations was the ultimate tailgater, complete with entertainment systems and refreshments.
The only problem was that when it came to the exterior of the modified Cadillac Escalade, James seemed to run out of inspiration, opting for tacky flames.
Believe it or not, the original vehicle which ended up as this mismatched and ugly creation was a Ford F-150; you can probably see it at the front now that you know!
This was supposed to be a customized tree shaker, which could be used to collect nuts without damaging the tree itself. A strange assignment, and an even stranger result.
11 Sewage Sucker
Rolls-Royce cars are among the most desirable in the world, so many drivers will be baffled at the tacky and over-the-top paint job James and his team gave to this particular model.
Worse was to come, however, as this vintage 1969 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was re-engineered to empty portable toilets.
10 Honey Bee Drifter
It takes a special kind of car to be able to drift, and the 1975 Datsun Honey Bee is not one of them.
If James had stopped at just re-engineering this car for drifting it would probably have been a build to be proud of, but he went one step too far with the bee-inspired striped paint job.
9 Fire Truck Limo
Fire trucks are functional vehicles not usually known for their luxurious interiors, so heaven knows where the inspiration for James’ fire truck limo came from.
The limo in question is a 1996 Lincoln Town Car and ended up being installed with all the kit a firefighter would need to do their job, including a hose and water pump and emergency lights.
8 Doughnut Shop/Cop Car
It’s one thing to play at being a firefighter but try taking the mickey out of the cops through a customized set of wheels, and the chances are you are going to find yourself pulled over more frequently!
The doughnut logo on the side of the car might be a harmless joke but try explaining that to the police.
The “Switchblade” car created by James on Monster Garage tells you everything you need to know about the man. For one thing, how many automotive artistes feel the need to stick their name on their creation, like a painter signing a canvas?
Jesse James does apparently, although a little more humility might have served him well!
6 Pasta Ferrari
James is clearly a man who loves his stereotypes too; why else would he paint a Ferrari in the colors of the Italian flag and give it the name “Pasta”?
In fact, the name is more appropriate than you might think as this vehicle comes complete with a small stove in the back so driver and passenger can cook up some dinner on the road.
5 Dirt Track Camaro
Stripes do seem to be something of a theme for James and his automotive creations, but this pink and black 1974 Chevrolet Camaro is a particularly ugly combination.
Muscle car fans might consider this overhaul sacrilege, and inappropriate; James apparently choosing a pink paint job because the team included a number of women.
4 All-Star Build
And the Dirt Track Camaro wasn’t even the pinkest car that James ever created; that dubious honor goes to the so-called “All-Star Build” 1954 Ford Wagon.
This vehicle featured on Monster Garage when, as the name suggests, James got together a team of top engineers and designers. And still, they painted it pink!
3 Jet Car
Sometimes the cars that James would rather disappear from his back catalog are ludicrous creations and sometimes they are just plain ugly. This one manages to be both at the same time.
This automotive abomination was once a perfectly serviceable and stylish Toyota Celica before Jesse James got his hands on it.
2 Train Car
As if it wasn’t crazy enough to try and make a car into a jet, James also tried the same trick when he attempted to turn a 2005 Dodge Magnum into a train.
Amazingly, this weird car didn’t just look like a train, but could also run on train tracks too, despite the fact that a random train-car would cause chaos on the system.
1 Hearse Revisited
This was James’ second attempt to build a super-hearse after his first Monster Garage model ended up crushed and scrapped.
This particular hearse didn’t just look bad enough to scare you to death, thanks to the Grim Reaper artwork on the side panels, but it even had a mechanical arm to dig its own graves…
Sources - Remarkable Cars, Popular Mechanics, Metacritic, Cycle World