Article and photos by Panhead Jim
If you've attended a chopper event on the East Coast over the last few years, chances are you’ve seen one of Wes' helmets sitting on the raffle table or hanging off a sissy bar in the parking lot. Wes and his wife Madi run a company called Custom Destruction which specializes in making low profile, ¾ helmets using new shells, or completely restoring that vintage lid your father used to rock in the 60’s. Since Wes and Madi are fellow North Carolinians, I decided to pay them a visit and get my old “Captain America” helmet restored. This helmet literally washed up in my yard during a hurricane, so it was in pretty rough shape and needed Wes’ special attention to get it roadworthy again.
I admit that when Wes told me he was doing helmet restorations a few years ago, I thought he was relining old helmets with bandannas or something along those lines. As soon as I stepped into Wes' workshop, I quickly realized that this was a much more sophisticated operation than expected. The back wall of the shop was lined with shelves containing neatly labeled boxes of supplies, stacks of new helmets awaiting custom liners, rows of vintage helmets needing full restorations, and boxes of completed helmets ready to ship. Wes was sitting at his workbench surrounded by all the specialty tools required to do each step of a restoration correctly, which is essential when you consider he is replacing crucial items like chin straps that can't just be installed half-assed. New to the shop was Madi, who has taken charge of managing all the details of this ever-growing business. With clipboard in hand, she makes sure that every order is being done exactly to each customer's specifications, as each helmet is basically a one-off custom.