mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

Mooneyes Open House – Flaming Hot So-Cal Fun

Story and photos by Marc Gewertz

Mooneyes has been a part of the hot rodding scene since the 1950s. Dean Moon, the company’s founder, was a hot rodder in every sense of the word, an innovator who built and raced his cars on the dry lakes, Bonneville Salt Flats and drag strips across the United States. Not only that – he was a brilliant marketer and manufacturer who contributed to the rising tide of hot rodding in the 1960s and 1970s.

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

While Moon’s legacy is felt worldwide, Southern California is ground zero for the Moon brand. So it was no surprise that gearheads from all over the west made their way to Santa Fe Springs in early July to take part in Mooneyes annual Open House and take a peek behind those famous shop doors..

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

This open house isn’t just a gathering of old hot rods in a parking lot with an E-Z up tent and some promotional flyers. It’s a real open house. Mooneyes rolled up the shop doors and guests were allowed to tour the machine shop and see firsthand where Mooneyes cranks out those cool Moon tanks, Moon discs and well…everything else they manufacture with those iconic peering eyeballs. Another garage had a great display of vintage hot rod parts and historical Mooneyes memorabilia.

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

One would think that a hot rod company like Mooneyes would be huge, but it’s not. In fact, it’s still located in the same building that Dean Moon worked out of when he started the company back in the 1950s, and the same garage where Moon’s good friend, Carroll Shelby, built the very first Shelby Cobra. How’s that for history? This place oozes California coolness.

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

Current owners Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama greeted everyone with a smile and even supplied free hamburgers, hot dogs and cold drinks – a kind gesture as the temperature topped 100 degrees.

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

Hot rods, motorcycles, customs and classic VW’s were parked up and down Norwalk Boulevard as far as the eye could see and had filled up all of the adjacent parking lots early in the morning. With live music from Hot Rod Trio , cool Mooneyes merchandise, artwork from Keith Weesner, hot rods and hot weather, what more could you ask for?

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a first-timer, the Mooneyes Open House is fun for the whole family.

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

mooneyes open house – flaming hot so-cal fun, fuel curve

Growing up just miles from Fremont Drag Strip where his father both worked and raced throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, Marc Gewertz was exposed to the excitement, color, and pageantry of hot rodding at an early age. During junior high, he began taking his Nikon camera to the dragstrip to capture the action and the people behind all those fast cars. With a penchant for being in the right place at the right time, he quickly developed a reputation as being one of rac­ing’s rising young photographic talents.

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