We strongly believe that pedigree and heritage go a long way. So when we saw this West Coast Choppers (WCC) bike up for sale, with the famous Jesse CFL frame, a new crate-engine, transmission rebuild ….. we knew we had something we could work with. Granted, we knew the bike was ridden often, far and hard, but what can you expect from a good chopper.
After inspecting the bike in New Jersey, discovering that there was a fair amount of ‘freshening-up’ that needed to be done, we decided to go for it and shipped it to our workshop in the UK.
The first thing we did after the bike came out of the shipping container was to decide what we wanted to do. Just give it a ‘spit-polish’ and go for a quick sale, or do a complete rebuild and bring this bike back from the dead?
Inspection revealed the good and the ugly. The good were: a WCC CFL frame, WCC oil bag with Jesse James six-shooter cap, Jesse James Villain gastank, WCC Hell Bent pipes, a new 113’ Ultima engine, rebuild transmission, good rims and tires, Performance Machines brakes, a fine Roberti Customs seat and a few smaller niceties.
The bad were clearly the result of somebody taking maintenance shortcuts in the last few years. The original color of the bike was apple-green, which had been covered up with rattle-can black ….. which was pealing of left-and-right (pic 3). Somebody took a scissors to the electrics and cut live 12volt leads, leaving them dangling below the the frame (pic 4). The Exhaust tips (pic 5) were damaged and the pipes (pic 6) themselves needed a repaint to bring them back to life.
Whoever took the back wheel apart at some point thought it was a good idea to cheap out on a 5$ spacer and just use some washers to secure the brake-disk (pic 7). Not a part you want to fail for obvious reasons. The brake-switch in the line splitter underneath the triple tree was broken and the whole thing looked butt-ugly (pic 8). Why would you drill holes in the shift-arm like seen on picture 9 is beyond us. By now you are starting to get the picture of the work that needed to be done, besides replacing dried out and cracked rubbers (pic 10), because they give you issues, even within 9 months ;-).
The overall conclusion was that this bike needed a few things desperately: new powder coat, holes filled, new wiring, new rubbers and some vital maintenance. We talked to Christian, one of our investors, to get his opinion on this, but a discion was reached quickly: the bike had to come apart.
We figured that while we were at it, we could improve on a few things. Like routing the brake line through the frame instead of tyripping it.
The other thing we had to take care of was the mounting location of the license plate. When we got the bike, it was screwed to the primary beltguard. This would not pass MOT/DVLA/RDW, but removing it also showed that in the same rage that got the guy to drill the holes in the shifter-arm, also made him drill 9 holes to set the plate bracket in place. As a result, we had to (aluminium) weld all of these holes (shifter-arm, license plate bracket and primaire belt guard), and fabricate an axle-bracket to bring the license plate further back.
And then we send everything of to get blasted and powder-coated. It’s like christmas when these parts come back and look shiny and new. Good times!