The annual Mooneyes Yokohama Sizzling Rod Customized Present has been showcased on Speedhunters from our earliest days. I visited the occasion for the primary time in 2017, and ever since had been longing to return. Six years later I lastly made it occur.
For the previous couple of occasions, I’ve loved Dino’s experiences from the Sizzling Rod Customized Present’s Saturday arrange. His love for customized tradition is powerful, however not sturdy sufficient to commerce sizzling rods for GT-Rs on the Nismo Pageant, which falls on the identical Sunday yearly. However with me being in Japan for a brief go to and the Mooneyes present excessive on my hit checklist, it labored out properly for each Dino and I this time round.
Dino at all times mentions that arrange day has its perks, as you get to see all of the present automobiles in movement and listen to their engines as they’re moved to their pre-determined positions within the large Pacifico Yokohama conference middle. Not needing to barter your means by means of a 10,000-strong crowd to seize clear photographs can also be a bonus.
What the Yokohama Sizzling Rod Customized Present arrange day lacks nonetheless, is environment. The dwell bands and all of the individuals who gown up for the event of their favorite rockabilly outfits, Mooneyes gear and pin-up fashion attire, make the primary day one thing particular.
‘Environment’ is a massive, empty phrase, however whereas I used to be standing in it, listening to a psychedelic surf rock band play for all of the folks within the ‘Worldwide Village’ space, I nearly shed a tear.
Feelings hit me once I was reminded that this present was began again in 1992 as a means for Mooneyes Japan to assist protect world sizzling rodding. And right here I used to be, 31 years later, celebrating the ever-flourishing American customized automotive and motorbike tradition in Japan.
It’s all because of Shige Suganuma, proprietor of the Mooneyes model for 3 a long time, who calmly walked across the space, greeting mates and followers from all around the world.
The Trip & Drive In
The primary occasion began at 8:00am on Sunday morning, however kicked off correctly an hour later when a small variety of visitor individuals with a number of the finest builds made essentially the most exceptional entrance to a present that I’ve ever seen. When 9:00am hit, these automobiles and bikes rolled into the conference middle to very large cheers from the assembled crowd.
Loads Of Blazing Traditional Vans
The 31st annual Yokohama Sizzling Rod Customized Present’s theme was ‘Loads of Blazing Traditional Vans’, so there had been fairly a couple of pickups on show. Old style Chevy and Ford vehicles shared a particular space with pristine fashionable tasks primarily based on the Toyota Hilux and different in style Japanese pickups.
In the back of the truck space, I discovered one thing that put a giant smile on my face – a bunch of sunshine business Nissan NV200 vans, every one completely distinctive. I’ve nothing however respect for anybody that decides to customise workhorses like these.
Falling In Love With The Crown
Japanese automobiles are at all times effectively represented on the Sizzling Rod Customized Present, and I immediately fell in love with all methods you may customise a Toyopet Crown. Sure, they weren’t even Toyotas again then.
I do know folks in Japan in all probability don’t see these automobiles as something too particular, however as somebody from Europe who had by no means skilled one in the flesh earlier than, they actually piqued my curiosity. I knew the Crown existed as a sedan, however seeing coupe and pickup variations of the mannequin stunned me in a great way. The Kujira Krown above is an ideal instance of how conventional Japanese and American lowriding aesthetics can efficiently be combined collectively.
Together with the Crowns, the present featured loads of different old skool (and newer faculty) Japanese automobiles that possess the Mooneyes spirit.
With suicide doorways and air suspension this Nissan Cedric is an ideal Cadillac look-a-like, whereas the little pinstriped Toyota Publica van is likely one of the cutest automobiles I’ve ever seen.
Extra Trendy Takes & The Bizarre
Though they had been drastically outnumbered by classics, every so often one other fashionable automotive appeared in entrance of me. Customized builds like this Dodge normally require a totally completely different mindset.
If I used to be ever going to see a badass, wide-body Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon like this one, it might solely be in Japan.
The G-Wagon was wild, however right here’s a construct I couldn’t even think about in my wildest desires – a safari-spec De Tomaso Pantera. How do you even beginning considering about creating one thing like this?!
However wait, there’s extra – this time a widened DeLorean DMC-12 with a Porsche Pink Pig-inspired livery. The perfect half is, the creators left the automotive’s austenitic chrome steel seen, deleting the ‘pink’ facet from the long-lasting racing design.
These two customized Toyota Hiaces had been additionally a deal with. One rocks the lowrider aesthetic, whereas the opposite appears to be like extra like one thing you’d create in Want for Velocity.
Automotive tradition is available in all sizes and shapes, so it’s no shock that the Mooneyes Yokohama Sizzling Rod Customized Present additionally celebrates scale modelling with its personal particular space.
There’s a lot pleasure to be present in these scale fashions. All the things from Sizzling Wheels dioramas to 1:24 scale automobiles – some with mind-blowing element – had a present of their very own in Yokohama.
The Greatest Kustoms
This retro-futuristic motorbike hauler named Ultimatum took dwelling the primary prize finally 12 months’s Yokohama Sizzling Rod Customized Present. Beginning life as a 1950 Chevy 2-door, the customized creation is the work of Japanese sizzling rod legend Junichi Shimodaira, who runs a sizzling rod, customized and lowrider store in Nagoya known as Paradise Street.
This 12 months’s ‘Greatest Of Present Automotive’ award went to Tomoko ‘Tomo Bunny’ Hattori, along with her 1949 Chevrolet Coupe named Woman Amber. It’s a traditional, slammed ‘bomb’-style customized with air suspension, a chopped high, and a killer paint job. Actually, there have been so many delicate modifications made to this retro cruiser that you’ll want to be somebody who is aware of the ’49 Chevy very effectively to select all of them. For everybody who doesn’t, a devoted Instagram account shares the total story of the modifications.
Did I Miss Something?
I walked the present round 10 occasions, however every time seen one thing new or noticed one other element on a automotive that I preferred. It was solely on the finish of the day that I noticed this ‘area ship’, which barely resembles a Subaru 360.
The Flat4 Beetle space was crowded all day, so I averted it till the final hours of the present. Flat4 is a VW specialist workshop situated not removed from Mooneyes Space-1 in Yokohama, and can also be a automotive tradition vacation spot. They introduced a bunch of old skool Volkswagens out to the present, every with a definite look or perform.
I’ll wrap up with this collage of pictures, showcasing each facet of the 2023 Mooneyes Yokohama Sizzling Rod Customized Present. The mixture of outdated and fashionable worlds, completely different kinds, and naturally folks makes the occasion a real one-of-a-kind.
As soon as once more, I can’t wait to come back again to Japan, reunite with mates, and style a bit extra of the nation’s particular automotive tradition. Hopefully it received’t take one other six years although…
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