Sacred Steel's History Channel Chop-Off Winner


Big Apple bon vivant and savvy self-promotor Andy Warhol once said, "In the age of television, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." After a dozen years of building Spider-Man gas tanks for other shops, Jason Wilson at Sacred Steel in East LA finally got his day in the kleig lights.

The year was 2009, and the project was the P-51-inspired theme bike Jason built for Hugh King's "Chopper Wars" on The History Channel. Like every other made-for-TV melodrama, Jason's tale of woe has a backstory…

In 1999, TV producer Hugh King made Sandra Bullock's soon-to-be-ex husband a household name with his "Chopper Mania" documentary about the brooding metal crafter. Mr. King parlayed that success into his "Biker Buildoff" series on Discovery Channel from 2002 to 2007. Two years after Discovery jerked the reigns on "Chopper King's" one-trick pony, the silver-haired sycophant returned to his bone-dry well once again, this time for the History Channel.


If you think a TV show that pits man against man in an acetylene-fueled bike-building battle royale is a stretch, you aren't alone. The paper-thin ruse of building motorcycles that take their stylistic inspiration from WWII fighter planes did little to kickstart King's concept, and even less to line the coffers of the TV pilot's featured combatants. According to Jason, neither Hugh King nor the History Channel donated a nickel to either builder's cause. "We got some free shit in exchange for banner space around the shop, but every dime for these bikes came out of our own pockets. I've done stuff in the chopper TV thing for years, so I know none of this shit makes anyone rich. I'm just saying if we had to build a motorcycle that looked like a fuckin' airplane, someone could have at least chipped in for paint."

Hugh King's "Chopper Wars" aired with little fanfare in 2009. So far, the History Channel has yet to pick up the series. That doesn't surprise Jason Wilson. Unlike so many of the telegenic master builders who came before him, Jason and the Douche La Rouche crew smelled a dud from the get-go. "One day the director told us the hardest part about putting together a show was logging the footage. The next day, every word out of our mouths was about logging: Lincoln logs, dumping logs, lumberjacks, log cabins, log flumes, you name it. We acted like dumbasses just for a laugh—we knew the show was gonna suck, so we had fun while it lasted. When it was over, we went back to building motorcycles."

For Best Attitude in an Original Clusterfuck, the Emmy goes to…

Sacred Steel.


"Chopper Wars" pilot, part 1:



Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:


Bike Specs:

Bike name: Cripes A'Mighty

Builders: The Douche Crew

Shop name: Sacred Steel

Bike owner: Jason Wilson

Motor size, year/model and mods: 1946 FL knucklehead, 4-speed trans, foot clutch, tank shift, magneto

Frame style, year/model and mods: I ordered a set of stock axle dropout castings from V-Twin and went to see Paul C. at Spitfire in Riverside country to make a custom frame. I wanted it like the Sportster frame we made, but taller and without as much rake. Paul C's got a sick crew over there and it's always an adventure. We started from scratch and pieced it in as we went. After a couple tries we got the look I had in my head

Fork: modifed Kiwi Indian

Front wheel description: 19-inch star hub,no brake; Firestone rubber

Rear wheel description: 19-inch star hub, drum brake; Firestone rubber

Contributors: hand made stainless-steel seat from Riff Raff Leather. Hand-formed alumiun gas and oil tank with sweet pop-up petcocks machined by Paul. Chris from LA speed shop was there every day during the two-week build to make sure the bike. We had some late nights while Matt the Monk rebuilt the rebuilt tranny

Special thanks to: Biltwell, DicE magazine, Joe Hunt magnetos, Tre' Noir, Spitfire, LA Speed Shop, Wayne and Sweet Baby for paint, Cary the carrot for holdin' it down, and special thanks to the Douche La Rouche MC for being there every day

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Commented on 5-12-2010 At 03:23 am

Hugh King looks like some kind of Austin Powers super villain.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 04:03 am

I actually watched this show when it aired, and thought it was pretty cool. ...but I like the idea of a show focusing on real people building real bikes.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 05:17 am

rad bike. im over the TV chopper thing tho.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 07:30 am

hugh king should be the king of hair.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 07:30 am

awesome little scoot. i havnt had tv is so long i missed the chopper tv shows. i guess ill have to netflicks them.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 07:58 am

Anybody that has to build the japanese bike in a U.S. vs Jap WW2 Chopper build off definately drew the short straw. That being said, the Sacred Steel bike , in my opinion looks the best. While not period correct for the motor, i would have like to see the Simon guys go with a Japanese engine like a CB750 or even a modern sport bike engine.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 08:48 am

Entertainment or Death...

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 10:32 am

"I actually watched this show when it aired, and thought it was pretty cool. ...but I like the idea of a show focusing on real people building real bikes."


What I hate about these shows is it's always "let's make it full of contrived drama". And why the competition aspect? Focus on one builder / shop and get more out of what it takes to build one. If they want to actually have an educational show they could actually show *gasp* rebuilding motors and what not. Not so much "oh my god, the powdercoat guy is late". And let the folks know how much one of these things cost. (OK, now I'm gettin' all Grampa Simpson)

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 11:25 am

The Cripes bike ruled! The other representing the Japanese war plane confused me. Why would he not use a Japanese motor? Jason Wilson nailed it and definately deserved the recognition. Congrats!

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 03:06 pm

The bike is sweet , I had watched that show,I too didn't get the other bike.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 03:16 pm

i never watch TV.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 04:00 pm

fuck i hope tv doesnt turn this into another 300 series tire fad.

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 04:01 pm

Glad the Sacred Steel bike won, shoulda won based solely on the better moustache! Kidding, but better attention to detail and fabrication seemed to kill the other bike. Besides, Paul C is an Inland Empire guy and you gotta support the local talent. The other dude cracked me when he was speed shifting on the dyno!

Commented on 5-12-2010 At 10:52 pm

I'm glad that sacred steel has won this!

Commented on 5-13-2010 At 10:16 am


Commented on 5-13-2010 At 07:42 pm


Commented on 5-16-2010 At 01:49 pm

i never even heard of the show how many others heard of it i would have watched it if i had known it was on .

Commented on 5-17-2010 At 09:24 am

I had this on my DVR for weeks and watched it a few times. Great bike and the guys over at Sacred Steel did an incredible job with this bike.

Commented on 5-20-2010 At 09:52 am

The Sacred Steel bike is outstanding! Very well done Mr. Wilson.

What the hell is up with Kings hair? Looks like he might be a part time TS.

Commented on 9-13-2010 At 03:40 pm

I cant get enough of the chopper shows. Fake drama or not, its better than have the corn filled crap floating around T.V Land.

Commented on 12-16-2010 At 05:19 am

nice bike, I see why they won

Commented on 10-30-2012 At 08:14 am

Me likes!!
Great job....

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