West Coast Chopper

West Coast Chopper August 09, 2011

Long Beach, California

Problem: How to outfit a long, narrow room with adequate storage plus counter space for fabricators working on custom cars and motorcycles

Solution: A compact workbench wall and an island workbench/parts storage system

Benefits: Maximum storage space along with surface area for detailed work

Products Used: Drawer Cabinets, Overhead Storage Cabinets, Workstations

In 2005, West Coast Chopper, the custom motorcycle and car design company in Long Beach, Calif., decided to expand its operation with the purchase of an original Art Deco building. This new addition was destined to house the company’s R&D department. Being a perfectionist, Jesse James, the celebrity owner of the company, wanted the space to be functional and to have an eye-catching look that suited the company’s image.

James asked Mike Desmond, who works in design direction, to oversee the transformation. Desmond turned to Vidmar for help. “When I looked at their track record and brochure, I knew we were dealing with a Class-A operation,” he says.

Using three-dimensional CAD drawings, Vidmar Storage Sales Engineer Ian Loper showed Desmond how he could transform the 30-ft. x 120-ft. room into an efficient workspace. “Originally, R&D was just looking for a couple of workbenches,” recalls Loper, “but ultimately we outfitted the entire department.”

The new department includes islands in the center of the room that combine parts storage with butcher-block work surfaces. A smaller island installed near a lathe and mill on one of the long walls gives workers a place to spread out interchangeable parts for these machines. The opposite wall is lined with a continuous row of shallow depth cabinets. They include a working surface for detailed assembly, and overhead cabinets with doors for bulk storage. “They’re shallow and compact, and don’t take up much room,” says Desmond. “They work very well.”

Desmond and Loper were able to complete the space two months before it was needed. “The process went quickly and smoothly,” says Desmond. The new space, with its red cabinetry and islands, will make a good backdrop for the high-tech work being performed there. Like the cars and bikes that West Coast Chopper designs, the new R&D facility is a combination of high-quality functionality and aesthetics. “It’s actually too nice,” notes Desmond. “But we’ll take care of that.”