Coones has been in prison twice — first for drugs and guns and later for conspiracy to distribute an illicit chemical used to make methamphetamine. A central California native, he bought Illusion Motorsports in 1999 but was arrested on a drug-conspiracy charge a few months later. While he was in federal prison, his wife Katherine ran the business “so Rusty would come home to a purpose,” she said.
After almost six years of “bad food, bad company and a bad time,” Coones said, he came home to the purpose of his shop, only to ride head on into the worst economy in decades.
“Right when I got back, I had all these high hopes of resurrecting Illusion. I thought we could get a dealer network going. And every step of the way we ran into problems because everything was collapsing as we were trying to come up,” said Coones, who, like his bikes, is clad entirely in black.
“Sons of Anarchy,” it seems, came along at just the right time.
“This whole ‘Sons of Anarchy’ connection is a plus for anybody,” said Coones, who is working on four different bike projects, including an $80,000 Hellrazor bagger that tips the scales at 850 pounds and is distinguished by an enormous 26-inch front wheel. Coones is also in the earliest stages of developing his own reality TV program.
“Any time you’re associated with a show with over 5 million viewers, it will legitimize you — even when you’re somebody like me who’s been in prison several times and happens to be a Hells Angel.”