Did You Know? Who Designed The West Coast Choppers Logo?

WestCoastChoppersJesse James’s friend Rob Fortier designed it when they were 18. He is now the editor of Rod & Custom Magazine.

Years later, when WCC became successful, the Cross Logo – a version of the Iron Cross or of the Maltese Cross,- was given to professional design firm Akins Parker Creative, who carefully researched the colors and motifs dear to “old school bikers” for variations to be used by WCC clothing and accessories.

The Maltese Cross design can be seen everywhere in the world of Kustom Kulture.

18 Responses to “Did You Know? Who Designed The West Coast Choppers Logo?”

  1. 1 Shifter Jan 25th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    During many years many were wondering. We know now.the logo existed before WCC was born.

  2. 2 Jim Watson Jan 25th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    The first time I saw this type of logo was when I bought a cam for my Sprint Car engine around 1979. . .

    Check it out here.


  3. 3 Kirk Perry Jan 25th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    It was called a Maltese Cross by the surfing community in 1963. There was no relation between riding waves and the Maltese Cross, but simply a way to aggravate our parents with mystery and stand apart from a mob of inland kooks (hodads).

    During the beginning, the JJ company mailed-out round, Maltese Cross “metalflake” stickers to dealer-types, that fit perfectly into the floor of a round, (small-size) magnetic tray. Still have mine. They get used daily. Thanx for the atmosphere maker.
    It’s been a few weeks now, and I know most of you have been up nights, over whether I could still find #8 shouldered-washers, whose neck rose up only 0.035″, that would fit into Harley’s favorite 27/64th electrical holes scattered around the machine (the dash holes used two shoulder washers face-to-face to isolate juice from the 1/8″ metal frame).


    Note: Not to disparage Colony Machine® in any way, they work hard at creating faithful replications… but uh, perhaps….. Vintage Twin® tried a little harder on the seat post terminal box hardware. 🙂

  4. 4 Sheridan Jan 25th, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Rob Fortier, wow really!? From the Sinners?

  5. 5 Steelchoppin Jan 25th, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    The first time I ever saw that kind of cross was in around 1981 or 1982 in the neck gusset of the Blue Max BMX bike.

  6. 6 SBFD911 Jan 26th, 2013 at 1:21 am

    Let’s be clear – the use of the cross in the culture goes back to the 60’s and beyond. It was directly taken from the German Iron Cross but was constantly mistaken for, and mistakenly referred to, as the Maltese Cross. Two different symbols. The Iron Cross has been the counter-culture symbol-of-choice as far back as I can remember in the early 60’s for MC’s, hot rods and surfers from So Cal. Definitely not exclusive (or even the foundation) to the area but definitely a big part of the scene. The Maltese Cross is the traditional firefighters symbol but it’s been mistakenly referenced for so long and by so many that it’s basically synonymous. Just wanted to throw that in the mix. Feel free to call BS if you have a clearer memory…. I’m only human.

  7. 7 Grey Beard Jan 26th, 2013 at 1:31 am

    The maltese cross, swastika and SS lightning bolts were common pins and patches on a cutout with the bikers as far back as the 60’s. Back then they could’ve been bought for a dollars or two at any flea market.

  8. 8 domino Jan 26th, 2013 at 8:05 pm


    “turning up everywhere,” 1837, from ubiquity + -ous. The earlier word was ubiquitary (1580s), from Mod.L. ubiquitarius, from ubique. Related: Ubiquitously.

  9. 9 Marc Frantz Jan 28th, 2013 at 10:51 am

    The first time I saw the Maltese cross was on my parent’s passport.

    From Wikipedia:

    The Maltese cross, also known as the Amalfi cross, is identified as the symbol of an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights Hospitaller or Knights of Malta, and through them came to be identified with the Mediterranean island of Malta, of which it is a national symbol.

    In the mid 16th century, when the Knights were at Malta, the familiar design now known as the “Maltese Cross” became associated with the island.

    The first evidence for Maltese Cross on Malta appears on the 2 Tarì and 4 Tarì Copper coins of the Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Vallette (Grand Master 1557–1568). The 2 and 4 Tarì Copper coins are dated 1567. This provides a date for the introduction of the Maltese Cross.

    The cross is eight-pointed and has the form of four “V”-shaped elements joined together at their tips, so that each arm has two points. Its design is based on crosses used since the First Crusade. It is also the modern symbol of Amalfi, a small Italian republic of the 11th century.

    The German ‘Iron Cross’ has been popular with many bikers, hot rodders, skinheads and others, using German iconic militaria to promote a tough-guy image, or as a symbol of rebellion or non-conformity. In the 1960s, the Iron Cross was adopted by American surfers, who started wearing medals plundered by their fathers. Cal Look, Volksrod and other Volkswagen enthusiasts often use the Iron Cross as a symbol that reflects the car’s country of origin. Ed Roth created accessories for surfers, hot rodders and bikers derived from German World War II trophies, which included the Surfer’s cross and the Stahlhelm (also popular with the VW scene).

    The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed
    above a silver Cross of Jerusalem.

  10. 10 Marc Frantz Jan 28th, 2013 at 11:01 am

    When I met Jesse in 2004 at Discovery Channel Studios, I gave him a gold Maltese cross with filigree work all over it.

    My parents brought it over from Malta for me when they were visiting relatives. Sorry Mom & Dad!

    Jesse was impressed with the gold, as it had a redish hue to it, which is a characteristic of Maltese gold.

    As a builder, I’m proud to be of Maltese descent, and the history
    surrounding the tiny island. Any other Maltese builders out there?

  11. 11 BC Jan 28th, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Two words for you, Schneider Cams, San Diego, early 60s . I was here and used one!

  12. 12 izadore007 Jan 28th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    from my boyish background, I was riding with a uncle of mine on my way to Ohio from Pa, and a Biker rode by us on the Highway wearing a German Style Helmet and a Maltese Insignia and I remember my Uncle saying out loud “I’d like take that Helmet and shove it up the S.O.B.’s Ass”! and that is my first experience with the Maltese Logo. By the way, My Uncle could have done that Helmet exercise to that Biker !

  13. 13 pokergolf420 Jan 28th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Just another thing that Jesse James thinks he invented.

  14. 14 spritz de coochy Jan 28th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    did rob get paid?

  15. 15 Septic the Sceptic Jan 28th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Several other companies have used that format before WCC.

  16. 16 Blue Jan 31st, 2013 at 10:48 am

    @Sheridan, yep, THAT Rob Fortier. 🙂

  17. 17 Cybersurfingalien Feb 1st, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Jesse comented on this in either one of the 3 motorcycle manias, or his history od choppers special. I thinink it was the later. I believe he said he got if from a muffler shop.

  18. 18 Rob "THAT Rob" Fortier Feb 4th, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Obviously the WCC iron cross logo has a distinct likeness to that of Schneider Cams–that’s what I based it on, cuz that’s what Jesse wanted. Don’t believe the claim’s ever been made that it’s an OG design, at least not by me.

    Thanks for posting this Cyril

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Cyril Huze