In an old modernist firehouse in North Olmsted, Ohio, is The Gas Box, a custom shop that’s starting to get a lot of attention. There you’ll find Jesse Bassett, the easy-going, easy-laughing mad genius; his girlfriend and business partner Kris Hinkel; customer-turned-partner Crazy Brett Scully; and their mechanical magi Marcus Ellis, Tim Fiorucci, and Jeffrey Wolfson.
Photos: Carter Edman
The Gas Box makes everything from traditional choppers to cafe racers to just-plain-builds, but they specialize in a kind of a style I can’t put a name on. It’s like, what style is James Joyce? It’s a clean and complex, guts-out, sculpted, gynomorphic, ultra-refined, superheterodyne, sashimi, Screamin’ Mimi style.
Jesse’s red Indian recently took second place in the Custom Modified class at Quail (behind a Shinya Kimura creation). This bike started with a derelict 1940 741 Indian engine that Jesse married to a Norton 4-speed tranny in an unholy, interspecies ceremony. The result looks so natural it could be a threat to single-species marriages everywhere. It makes you believe in basilisks and griffens and chimeras. The springing, pouncing arc of the hand-made frame reminds me of the leaping Jaguar logo, but for all its beastliness it is incredibly refined, mostly because of Jesse’s intense, obsessive, fanatical attention to detail.
The Gas Box’s work has been featured in print in Street Chopper, DiCE Magazine, Cycle Source, Easy Riders, the Italian mag Riders, and online on BikeEXIF and Moto Rivista. Here’s a look inside their shop. Login or register to view the gallery.