Detroit, Michigan. Motor City, metonym for the American automobile industry, with the Big Three automobile companies, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, calling it home. It’s where Jim Nasi and his 2 older brothers were born, and with the added influence of a father working for GM, not surprisingly, all 3 boys were very young surrounded by cool muscle cars. In age to work, Jim acquired his first experience with machinery and welding techniques while working in New Mexico for a Greyhound R&D facility. He completed his experience working for several “hole in the wall” shops in Arizona and ended up to be the 1st employee being hired for the Titan Motorcycles startup. Eventually he became Titan’s production manager and the bike builders trainer, then leaving Titan just before the company landslide and demise to start his own motorcycle shop Jim Nasi Customs originally located in Scottsdale AZ.
Already 13 years that he builds custom bikes under his own name. They are unmistakably Jim Nasi, most of them both low and long, with a “muscle car” attitude provided by big motors and intricate beefy metalwork. Jim Nasi became a household name in 2000 when he was accepted as a member of the Camel Roadhouse and toured the US during 3 years with other well known Custom Builders. About 8 years ago he developed his own line of Nasi Parts, first for Harley Softails and more recently extending it to bolt-on parts for Baggers. For those who don’t know, his older brothers also belong to the automative industry: John is director of dealer development at Big Dog MC and Jeff is the publisher of Petersen’s 4Wheel & Off Road Magazines. Although reserved and usually not talking very much, Jim answered my questions and reveals a few details about himself. (photography by Ken Howie)
Cyril. In High School, what your teachers said about you? Jim. That kid can’t hear a damn thing…
Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes? Jim. Rick Mears, Gordie Howe, Big Daddy Don Garlits, Luke Duke.
Cyril. What was your 1st vehicle? Jim. 78′ Olds Cutlass, my two older brothers had this car before me, by time I got it , it was trashed….thanks!
Cyril. If you were not working in the motorcycle industry, what would you do? Jim. I would wash and maintain Eddie Trotta’s Ferraris and Boats.
Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax? Jim. My son and daughter… believe it or not (what? screaming kids?) when I sit down with them and listen to them talk it makes me forget about any thing that sucks in life, they are an inspiration to me.
Cyril. What are you afraid of? Jim. Not working in the motorcycle industry and washing and maintaining Eddie Trotta’s Ferraris and Boats.
Cyril. Which film made you cry? Jim. Casino (when Pesci got the baseball bat in the corn field, why did they whack the cool guy?)
Cyril. Name five things you hate. Jim. People that copy a cool idea you came up with, and make more money on it than you. Fluorescent lights. Dog fighting rappers. Dishes clanging together. Curry.
Cyril. What was the last book you read? Jim. “I Rant, Therefore I Am.” – Dennis Miller.
Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Jim. Yes…
Cyril. Do you collect anything? Jim. Mid 60’s suicide door Lincolns. Addicted to them. Everything else my wife threw out when I was at work.
Cyril. What was your worst buy? Jim. Nothing, I find value in everything…
Cyril. Who you would like to meet? Jim. I would like to take a road trip with Danny McBride and Will Ferrell.
Cyril. How do you take your coffee? Jim. I hate coffee.. I take it and throw it away.
Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Jim. A custom bike I made for the Prince of Malaysia. Leopard skin paint , 4ft. arm beaters , lotsa neon, he wanted the seat shaped for the crack of his ass… should I continue?
Cyril. Preferred place for vacation? Jim. New York City during Christmas time.
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Jim. Microwave Burrito.
Cyril. When was the time you were really angry? Jim. When I found out one of my employees was stealing from me. (think: baseball bat in the corn field)
Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Jim. Just being with my wife and two kids, working in the garage, showing the kids how to use grinders to make sparks.
Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Jim. Sturgis. Lots of friends there, good memories, good times…
Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Jim. If my son Cory was going to run the business now.. He uh, confused the NASI with the NESS thing, I have some grey hair but…not that much!