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Inside: Yoshi Kosaka's Garage Company

 

The Garage Company in Venice, California, was started in 1987 by Yoshinobu "Yoshi" Kosaka after his wife Kyoko realized her husband’s bike collection was outgrowing the space on their property and in their home. I visited Garage Co. two years ago at its Washington Blvd. location, and was amazed at the depth and breadth of the bikes, parts and memorabilia jammed in every nook and cranny of the building. Surprisingly, most of Yoshi’s treasures were not for sale at that time. In 2010, Yoshi and his crew moved into a much larger 18,000 square foot building in Inglewood, and like the proverbial gold fish who grows into his next bowl, they've filled this new space with even more interesting bikes and artifacts. This time, most of the bikes and merchandise at Garage Company is for sale. Bring your credit card, because Yoshi’s stash will blow your mind.
The most striking thing about Garage Company is the diversity of the machines inside. Yoshi's love for racing is evident, with vintage road, motocross and flat track racers parked everywhere. Garage Company’s healthy appreciation for early American and British iron is impossible to overlook. I asked Yoshi’s head mechanic and bike builder Kiyo if there was anything he wouldn't work on and he stoically replied "No.” When I asked, "What if I brought you some shitty Chinese scooter?" he answered, "I've done it. I didn't like it, but I worked on it."

The Garage Company of Venice, California, was started in 1987 by Yoshinobu "Yoshi" Kosaka after his wife Kyoko realized her husband’s bike collection was outgrowing the space on their property and in their home. I visited Garage Co. two years ago at its Washington Blvd. location, and was amazed at the depth and breadth of the bikes, parts and memorabilia jammed in every nook and cranny of the building. Surprisingly, most of Yoshi’s treasures were not for sale at that time. In 2010, Yoshi and his crew moved into a much larger 18,000 square foot building near LAX, and like the proverbial gold fish who grows into his next bowl, they've filled this new space with even more interesting bikes and artifacts. This time, most of the inventory at Garage Company is for sale. Bring your bankroll, because Yoshi’s stash will blow your mind.

The most striking thing about Garage Company is the diversity of the machines inside. Yoshi's love for racing is evident, with vintage road, motocross and flat track racers parked everywhere. Garage Company’s healthy appreciation for early American and British iron is impossible to overlook. I asked Yoshi’s head mechanic and bike builder Kiyo if there was anything he wouldn't work on and he stoically replied "No.” When I asked, "What if I brought you some shitty Chinese scooter?" he answered, "I've done it. I didn't like it, but I worked on it."

 

 

Therein lies the secret of Garage Company: these dudes love motorcycles, and will eagerly work on virtually everything. That is distinctly original and unprecedented on this scale. This passion becomes even more evident after a stroll through the maintenance area. Everything from an unloved dirt bike to a semi-famous Hollywood panhead waits for its turn at one of the mechanic’s lifts. Perhaps for an engine rebuild, maybe a fab mod or tune-and-service; the list of work is as random as the bikes themselves. When pressed about it, Kiyo admits that the Harley-Davidson knucklehead engine is his favorite, but he and Garage Co. are completely nondenominational and don't discriminate—they can find beauty in just about any machine.

The frustration I felt when virtually nothing seemed to be for sale is now replaced by regret from knowing I didn't bring enough money. Fortunately, there’s a hidden room in back for guys just like you and me. Piled high in this dimly lit back room you’ll find everything from oil tanks to hubs, front ends, carbs, lights and sissy bars. If it isn't on a shelf, it’s hanging in the rafters. Yoshi and Kiyo are regulars at swap meets, and that’s where much of this stuff originates. Of course, a lot of these rusty gems are take-offs from customer builds, and this stash supplies the eager and creative in-house builders with a deep reserve of raw material to create the next machine.

On the checkered floor in the main showroom there is a fine collection of clothing, memorabilia, new parts and moto-related literature, all of it surrounded by dozens of motorcycles stacked bar to bar. Many of the bikes on this floor are for sale. Others belong to Yoshi’s customers, and all are worth a look. Everything from a circa-‘20s JD racer to F1 champ Michael Schumacher’s Garage Co.-built cone shovel is parked in the crowded but organized showroom, each one begging for closer inspection.

People can and do spend hours scouring the massive retail space at Garage Company. Should the novelty of that adventure wear thin, buyers and browsers are allowed to mingle among customer bikes in the shop’s staging area. Yoshi treats his customers and guests with the same dignity he lavishes upon his two-wheeled treasures. Yoshi-san may call his shop a Garage, but for anyone who loves motorcycles it feels like a home.

 

 

See more at the Garage Co. blog


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Comment with Chopcult (28)

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 12:24 pm
 

friggen awesome...

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 12:26 pm
 

Are those helmets for sale, or is that his personal collection? Either way, some great stuff rolls out of that shop!

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 12:26 pm
 

I went there probably 4 years ago and I swear that I still have a neckache from whipping around and looking at as much of it as I could! The place is amazing.

C

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 01:16 pm
 

Unbeliveable! Is he hiring? Will work for couch space

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 03:05 pm
 

nuts nuts nuts...

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 04:10 pm
 

This place is the Mecha of motos!

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 04:36 pm
 

Wow! I haven't been there for a few years. Looks like I'll have to visit soon.

@dertyD - Not sure if Garage Company is still hiring. On their blog, not too long ago, they were looking to hire a fabricator and two mechanics.

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 05:01 pm
 

One Really nice place. Beautiful bikes :o

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 05:16 pm
 

Heaven....

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 05:25 pm
 

Seriously now, how much cool shit can you actually stuff into one place?!?! Hahaha Great write up, better pics!! Wow, what an awesome place.

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 05:26 pm
 

man i love places like that. its on my bucket list

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 05:28 pm
 

BTW, the Red IH gives me a super duper boner. I love it.

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 10:24 pm
 

So fuckin rad...

Commented on 1-21-2011 At 11:17 pm
 

Holly shit this place looks cool!!

Commented on 1-22-2011 At 02:21 am
 

that yellow knuck (bottom left) is perfect, not to mention the rest of it

Commented on 1-22-2011 At 10:45 am
 

Awesome! Definitely a place to go and visit someday.

Commented on 1-22-2011 At 05:02 pm
 

I'm going to LA in February. My sister in law informed me this place was only 30 minutes from her house. I want to go to there......

Commented on 1-23-2011 At 04:15 am
 

incredible!

Commented on 1-23-2011 At 11:41 am
 

proof that dreams actually come true sometimes!

Commented on 1-23-2011 At 03:42 pm
 

All the well-known Japanese builders on the American motorcycle scene are totally cool. Humble, low-key. Focused on the craft and the bikes. So many Americans on the scene are more concerned with having the most underground label on their t-shirt, the toughest looking facial hair, and the most self-aggrandizing stories. ("I rode my hand-made 1846 wooden frame board track racer to Ensenada, you're a pussy")

Commented on 1-23-2011 At 05:50 pm
 

sorry guys, but I'm not a big fan of the Garage company and crew. If Yoshi and company go to a swap meet he sends his crew if out in every direction with an unlimited supply of money and they buy every desirable part there. if there is something you need you will need to buy if from the Garage company.
He sells all the rare parts and bikes to his contacts in Japan and makes a ton of money doing so.
You can't fault a guy for making a buck, but it appears his real passion is money not motorcycles.

Commented on 1-23-2011 At 05:55 pm
 

Didn't they just sell the Stray Cats Triumph ?/ His prices are very high

Commented on 1-23-2011 At 10:39 pm
 

"you wish."

Commented on 1-24-2011 At 06:22 am
 

red sportster is the ducks nuts, got any other angles of it?

Commented on 1-25-2011 At 04:06 pm
 

Behold. The Promised Land.

Commented on 1-26-2011 At 05:37 pm
 

They wrote a feature about Garage Company in the CAfe RAcer magazine. :D

Commented on 1-29-2011 At 06:54 pm
 

Simply amazing...

Commented on 4-18-2011 At 04:17 am
 

Yoshi's had several thousand dollars of mine for 3 years and I still don't have a fucking thing to show for it!! He is about the money not the bikes. BEWARE FTW,Shooter

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