Tim Wallace doesn't like to leave any stone unturned. It is his penchant for perfection that makes him a natural in a profession that demands unmatched results. It's also one of the main factors that has resulted in his custom bike, his very first build, being chosen as one of only 50 custom bikes in the country invited to attend the Legends Top 50 Custom Bike Show, being held August 10 in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The story begins in his immaculate 3,400-square-foot shop at his home in southwest Boise, Wallace's world center for mechanical creativity and artistry. Toward the back of the shop, sitting on a floor you could eat off, is a pro-modified race car. To the side is a 53-foot tractor-trailer that can haul the car and two more. It also acts as a mobile repair shop and virtual tenement on wheels.
What leaves an indelible impression, however, is the custom bike that commands attention upon entry into the shop. It rests in the middle, toward the front, on what could be mistaken as a showroom floor, seemingly made specifically for the display of this particular work of art. An impenetrable aura seems to emanate from Wallace's eye-popping response to everything good happening in the world of motorcycle building.
"I've always worked on cars, but you can't help but look at what's going on with this bike stuff," he said. "Everyone wants a Harley. I wanted one, too, but I could never find one I liked from front to back."
Enter Wallace's creation.
It's a custom-built street bike, complete with a 125-cubic inch, 140-horsepower Patrick Racing all-billet motor, powering 600 pounds of total class that rivals anything the big boys in today's bike-building world can produce. It also features air-ride suspension (responsible for raising and lowering the bike at will), stainless steel lines and fittings, hidden cable work and all-billet transmission, as well.
One well-known builder, who is credited with starting this bike-building mania, is Southern California's Jesse James. James built his first bike in his mother's basement, then ended up starring in the hit television show Motorcycle Mania and now Monster Garage. There is also Paul Teutul and Paul Teutul Jr. who run Orange County Choppers in upstate New York, and who can be seen on their own hit television series, American Chopper. The bikes cost thousands to make and sell for even more, some priced in the quarter-million-dollar range.
But Wallace's invitation to South Dakota, a show running in conjunction with the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, is the national recognition he needed to prove that high caliber builders can be found elsewhere-Boise included.
When it comes to collision repair, Wallace, who owns Parks Westside Body Works, is one of the best in the business. The Capital High School graduate got his start at Larry Barnes Chevrolet, working as an assistant in the body shop.
"Larry himself asked if I wanted to help restore his 1953 Corvette," Wallace recalls. "That was my job for an entire year. I was the first to drive it when it was finished and I thought, 'God, I hope I don't wreck this thing.'"
Wallace then went to work for Bob Rice Ford for six years before being hired by Paul Parks, who opened Parks Royal Body Shop in 1947. He became shop manager and eventually bought into the business, opening a second shop on Five Mile Road, north of Franklin. He has since split from the Parks name and has plans for two more Westside Body Works locations in the near future. The next is slated to open on Fairview Avenue in Meridian this August. His current shop was rated in the top 25 in the country by a trade evaluation company.
It wasn't until recently that he decided to transfer his skills from cars to bikes. The five month project was completed in his spare time and acted as "mental therapy." Wallace entered it into the custom bike competition at the Boise Roadster Show, where it was awarded first place by the International Car Show Association (ICSA).
He plans on entering it in more shows next year in an effort to become a national finalist, earning the right to be one of two western representatives at the grand finale. Four bikes total will be judged and only one will be crowned as the best custom bike in the country. If he accomplishes his goal, the recognition could send him well on his way to becoming Boise's version of Jesse James.
"It's my goal to get to that grand finale," he said. "I'd like to get my name out."