West Coast Report — 11th Edition: By John Gilbert

Sons of Anarchy — Game of Clones

I’ve never hidden the fact that I love watching TV, and in particular I really enjoy watching the Sons Of Anarchy. That’s if those guys aren’t doing real time in prison and the show is off the air for nine months at a whack. It’s an interesting touch sending everyone off to prison in real time, kind of like James Stewart in the movie High Noon. Back here at the ranch. The Ranch, that’s what I call my Southern California weed farm — terra-scape not pot, there’s all kinds of neat SOA facts that only West Coast Report readers are going to read about. I think my inside track for this kind of gossip type stuff is thanks to having worked for Easyriders as the editor of Tailgate. The experience gave me the chance to apprentice under Dave Nichols, Easyriders’ editor and learn the magazine trade from the best. Not to mention mooch bike show tickets, and magazines from my friends that still work there.

And what more appropriate way to pay tribute to the Sons of Anarchy TV show than to highlight it with bullets?

  • Dateline Los Angeles, 1/8/11: Easyriders bike show comes to the City of Angels. Easyriders’ promo flyers proclaim headlining celebrity guests include Charlie Hunnam “Jax” from the Sons of Anarchy. I didn’t get a chance to meet Charlie, but Dave said Charlie rode to the show on his own bike, and was a pretty good guy. I’ll say a good guy, Charlie was scheduled to sign autographs for only two hours, but stayed for hours afterwards, and signed autographs right up until the show closed.
  • Thanks to Brenda Fox, a friend, and former ad-rep for Tailgate I was introduced to Andy McPhee, the actor that played Keith McGee, president of Sons of Anarchy, Belfast. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll remember McGee did a really good swan dive / belly flop in his final appearance. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to tell Andy I really enjoyed watching the show because I was too dumbfounded. You see I was fully expecting an Irish accent, and didn’t know quite what to say when Andy spoke to me with an Australian accent. Babbling “good show” as Andy walked away would have been lame.

More along the lines of what Eastwood products are all about, but still connected to SOA I’ve got some pretty neat news about a friend of mine that’s a custom painter and fabricator. Kenny Morris at Hot Rods ‘N Hogs in Stanton, California, has been doing custom paint and fabrication for Bartel’s Harley-Davidson in Marina Del Rey, California for over the last 20 years. The latest project Kenny is involved with Bartel’s is helping to produce a limited run of 100 Sons of Anarchy customized motorcycles. I’m not sure if Kenny is using Eastwood’s Rat Rod Black, but I can say Rat Rod Black is a perfect match for what Bartel’s calls Matte Black. To handle producing the concaved gas tanks on the SOA bikes, Kenny developed a template to produce perfect results every time. There’s metal-finishing involved, but no welding pieces back in place that might cause gas leaks.

And of course what mention of Hollywood  is complete without a little gossip. After Bartel’s builds a 100 SOA clone bikes, Harley-Davidson, the motor company itself is going to take a crack at it. And of course there’s always the show cancellation rumors… Yeah, like that’d really happen. I can just see it now, four Rat Rod Black hogs pull up in front of the moronic idiot’s house that cancelled the show, kick down the door and make the poor slob watch a continuous loop of Honda Rebel TV commercials. Ultimately the errant TV executive’s head is placed into a vice and popped like so much bloated road kill.  Okay a little late breaking news reveals the cancellation rumors are bogus. Charlie had to cancel some guest appearances, and get back to LA, muy pronto to start filming Sons of Anarchy’s new season.

The Bijan sample rendering Kenny painted hangs in the office at Boyd’s that Chip Foose occupied in the Boyd years. Chip’s drafting table is still in there. Google Bijan Buggatti and the Veyron Kenny painted for Bijan appears. Kenny also painted Bijan’s McLaren Mercedes-Benz. One might not care for the style of the design work Bijan commissioned Kenny to do, but there’s no arguing with quality.

Kenny Morris’ Hot Rods ‘N Hogs has been located in Boyd Coddingiton’s old billet steering wheel factory since Boyd left for his Cerritos location 20 years ago. Kenny can be reached at www.hotrods-n-hogs.com

The phone number is (714) 229-9076.


Chopit Kustom, Stanton, CA.

Twenty years ago I used to drive up to Hot Rods by Boyd to visit friends that worked there and soak up a little inspiration, a lot actually. Boyd’s original location was at 8400 Monroe in Stanton, just a few miles from my home. Dick Vale’s custom paint shop was full of off-shore boats, with an occasional Pepsi helicopter. Boyd was a rotund guy that always wearing a bright colored Hawaiian shirt, and Jesse James still had all of his fingers… talk about giving someone the finger, anyways.

Its almost like Déjà vu, these days when I’m running low on inspiration I head up just one block north of Boyd’s old shop and visit Chopit Kustom. Chopit’s shop is a family run concern complete with an East Coast style atmosphere straight from the good old days, and one-stop shop services that are near impossible to find in California. Everything is done in house with the exception of upholstery work.

It might be a corny way to look at things, but I think of Eastwood’s restoration supplies and tools like seasoning is to food. Just like salt, pepper, and spices can be added to season anything from Mexican food to Polish dishes, Eastwood paints and primers, tools, and sandpaper work on any vehicle no matter what it is.

As seen on Storage Wars, here’s the Beatnik, a ’55 Ford Crown Victoria Gary Chopit re-skinned with all new body panels he formed from scratch. Scratch means Chopit started with a stack of 4×8 sheets of steel. Amazingly, even the Beatnik’s bubble top Gary made from scratch: A little known fact; the Beatnik is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most conspicuous car to drink Guinness beer in and drive. It is also has the world’s largest bubble top on a custom car.

Talk about the apple not falling far from the tree, here’s Gary Chopit’s 23 year-old son Nick “Chopit Jr.” working out on an Eastwood Shrinker and Stretcher. Checkout the Track T nose, hood, and side panels Nick formed from scratch.

Next, Nick demonstrated the clean work Eastwood Supercoup NR1 Nibbler Shears (#28191) produce. Nibblers create less distortion of the material being cut, and leave an accurate edge.


Hot Rod to Hell

Beginning last August with the Chadly Coupe, doing a suicide run in a hot rod has turned into a late Summer tradition for me. For those unfamiliar with the Chadly coupe adventure please refer back to the 5th edition of West Coast Eastwood, or dig up a May 2013 edition of Street Rodder.

For 2013 the story title for an upcoming road trip feature in Street Rodder is called the Hot Rod to Hell. My destination is Hell, Michigan a small town only 12-miles from my family’s ancestral farm in Stockbridge.

Here’s a shot of the 1927 Ford Track T I’m going to be driving. I’m in the process of blowing the car down to the bare frame to make sure its ready for a 6,000 mile round trip, and bring the cosmetics up to magazine feature quality.

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