Far East Fun – 26th Annual Mooneyes Custom Show
The 26th Annual Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Car Show was everything we have come to expect from the Far East festival of fast fun. Every year it has grown in size and popularity. Held inside the beautiful Pacifico Yokohama Convention Center it is the largest indoor custom car and motorcycle show in Japan. It showcases the finest and wildest cars and motorcycles the Japanese car culture has to offer. The show is always on a Sunday (most Japanese work on Saturday).
It brings in over 300 cars and double that in motorcycles. Although the stars are over-the-top customs, hot rods, and motorcycles the show offers much more. Impromptu bandstands with Japanese kids rocking hard, a swap meet with hundreds of vendor spaces, a custom paint contest and a pinstripers gathering – all packed into an awesome, one-day show.
Each year Mooneyes carefully invites a handful of featured American builders and customizers. These exceptional builders get to cruise their car or chopper in, one by one, as huge metal doors open to a sea of cellphones and cameras flashing. These grateful entrants could compare it to the paparazzi on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards.
The venue walls are lined with hundreds of vendors selling clothing, vintage items, chopper and custom car accessories and other unique goodies. It is mostly Japanese merchandise but several “in-tune” American brands were on hand selling their wares. Probably the hottest item was a limited edition, one-day, at-the-show-only pair of Vans shoes. You could also wait in an enormous line to get these bright yellow and orange super rare sneakers signed by skateboarding legend Steve Caballero.
The cooperation is obvious from the staff and spectators alike as to not annoy the local community. This ensures many more years of this great show.
The local builders are on point with custom stylings as you can see and are definitely not afraid to cut something up, lay it flat on the ground and paint it wild. They are also heavily into the traditional pre-war rods along with the highly detailed lowriders. The Japanese have been influenced by American style for years, but have really come into their own and have ran with it.
The Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Show is definitely a “bucket- list” kind of show and experience, and if at all possible, should not be missed. Japan has much to offer in food, cars and culture. Quite simply, this is one of the best Hot Rod and Custom shows in the world.
Story and Photos by Andy Meeh