Event>> Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Show ’11 – Preview

December means only one thing in Japan; tons of events! After covering the Tokyo Motor Show it was straight over to another all together different kind of exhibition today, a more style oriented show that I look forward to covering every year. Since the Nismo Festival is held on the same Sunday I am forced to only cover the set-up of Japan's biggest Mooneyes show, now celebrating its 20th Anniversary. It may sound like I'm getting shortchanged but the reality is I am actually getting a far more extreme exposure to the world of Hot Rods and Customs.  

This is because during the set up you are not only able to see the show materialize before your very eyes, as an empty exhibition center gets filled out by the best custom creations in the country, but more specifically because you can hear, see and feel every single car up close an personal as it is driven in under its own power…

…which at the end of the day is half of the show in itself! As ever I was blown away today by the sheer selection and quality of all the cars that were carefully positioned for tomorrow's main event. Despite how many times I say this, the amount of work and dedication that the Japanese put into creating these cars never fails to impress me. Their obsession shines through the most minute of details and today I wasn't the only one appreciating the uniqueness of the whole Japanese custom scene.

Fifth Gear presenter and certified low rider as well as muscle car fanatic Jonny Smith joined me in a detailed tour of the cars and bikes that made up the Mooneyes show. Needless to say he was genuinely surprised at the effort the Japanese put into creating some of the most unique cars he had come across. Jonny's knowledge of the scene proved to be quite educational in learning all the different models, engine configurations, styles, trends and details that helped create each unique car. In return I talked him through some of the JDM custom rides that were present. 

Racing Sting Ray anyone?

As ever my favorite part of the day is hanging around outside and waiting for all the cool cars to roll in or be unloaded from transporters.

The first half of the day today was plagued by unrelenting rainfall, but thankfully the downpour stopped allowing cars to be unloaded without getting wet and then having to be thoroughly dried.

Vehicles part of the show were entering the vast show floor from both the front and rear entrances.

Moondiscs on your bike? Impossibly cool!

The rain during the morning made things very messy. A lot of the show cars that were present today are hardly even driven around, let alone under weather like this. Most owners tried to get them dried as soon as possible.

Japan has an ever-growing and very original rat rod scene and the best examples around always make it to this end of year show.

Can you guess what car this trunk lid belongs to? It's a JDM vehicle I have never laid eyes on before today. Extremely rare and equally unique. I'll reveal all in the first part of the coverage.

Anyone know what this vintage Japanese pick up is? The koreisha mark means it's driven by someone over 70 years old.

I spotted this Chevelle Concourse Wagon sitting under the rain outside the show. I think this is the same station wagon I ran across last year in pretty much the same place.

I just wanted to share a small selection of shots with you from today. I need to hit the sack now and get ready for a busy day of shooting all sorts of Nissan and Nismo cars tomorrow at Fuji Speedway so I'll get back to the Mooneyes coverage first thing on Monday morning for you. Stay tuned!

Mooneyes Japan

-Dino Dalle Carbonare



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It's not nice to call them "rat rods"....it's "traditional rods",or simply "hot rods"...



They are rat rods.

And it's what they're called.


^^rat rod is a style not a insult.


I'd love to meet the japanese fella called "ramone" from the last pic!


first picture! desktops! please!


Cedric Special



Calling a Traditional hot rod a "rat rod" is a insult... if you don't know that then you arnt big into hot rods..


Looks like Trunk belongs to a Isuzu Bellel from what I can see. Special- 2L Petrol but a different version was the first passenger Japanese Diesel.


"rat rod" is an outsider term. blah blah. I'm betting most of the people preaching about the term being derogatory didn't know what they were talking about until they thumbed through Autocult. Nice coverage so far, I love the Impala in the last shot.


I'm really feelin the second and last shot. I'm gonna say something controversial- let's see a few of those bikes!!!! Japan has such a unique style bikes!



Ramone was the name of the car in the movie Cars. And he looks just like that car.


the old kei truck may possibly be a subaru sambar but i could be wrong l


If there's no rust, it's not a rat rod.


@ tim:

Its ramone from the animated movie "cars"


The Bellel Special is a Isuzu


wow - disc wheels on a bike.............


I wonder if there's a Prince Skyline somewhere there



Well,if YOU say so,then it MUST be true....


no matter how you refer to them.. they're unique - some have had plenty of man-hours, 'detail-time' and effort put into them. oh yes i'll take the Racing Sting-ray if possible. Thanks.


The term rat rod is an evolutionary one. Back close to twenty years ago when the whole thing started the term was coined by a particpant and it was mostly okay. Over the years especially, the last few the term has come to represent cars that have been intentionally built of poor and even dangerous quality. So it is currently quite the derogatory term when referring to a car that is simply traditional. Rust has nothing to do with it unless it is excessive and left to intentionally make the car unsafe. It's best to stay refrain from this term today unless it's to describe a true turd of a car.


I love the Japanese Mooneyes hot rod shows, always a great range of cars!

Just out of curiosity, do the Japanese build these(American) cars or do they just buy them all from the US???


ia that stingray a gran sport clone ?would like to know more about it ,oh and desktop the 2nd shot please !


1st thing 1st.

These cars ARE actually DRIVEN A LOT check the Local Hero for videos and pics of shows all over japan.

Trust me, these guys are hevy into the lifestyle and drive their stuff.

then, i only see hot rods here.


Quick question, what's that thing attached to the first car picture's rear window? I've seen these on VW's before but have never had the chance to see one up close.


love that Stingray


I feel like a total noob asking this, but what is that thing attached to the rear window of the first picture's car? I see it alot on VW's in pictures but have never had the chance to see one in person. I've always been curious.


I've literally been bombarded with events here in Japan lately, so you will have to apologize the