Art On Wheels: Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show

I thought I’d start off this second post from this weekend’s Hot Rod & Custom Show with what has to be the most memorable car I saw there. I think it perfectly sums up what the custom car scene is all about in Japan, an obvious ability to not only emulate, interpret and evolve what has been done over in the US for years, but also apply it to the most unsuspecting of cars. I mean you really have to think outside the box to transform a little Subaru 360…

…into some kind of crazy Hot Rod with a whole new front axle positioned miles in front of the car’s front end…

…and an equally wild stance at the rear. It was quite amusing to hear a couple of foreign visitors to the show debating on what it was, and agreeing it must have been some custom take on an old Beetle!

Aside from the obvious size difference the confusion, I thought, was pretty understandable, considering just how many actual bugs where present at the show.

Like I mentioned in my preview yesterday, one of the main displays this year was the VW area where all sorts of Beetles had flocked in from various corners of Japan to show off their unique styles, which varied from cool roof-chopped examples like this particular car…

…to more vintage takes.

Check out this wildly customized one, not really a dune buggy but sort of half way there!

You can’t help but admire all the carpentry that must have gone into this wagon. Oh and you gotta have the Moondiscs!

If I had to pick one bug out of all on display, this slammed and very simple example really stood out. I’m also quite partial to a split rear window.

Here is one of the few cars that had been brought over from the US especially for the show, the Schley Bros. Lighting Bug.

This chopped drag racer is the first bug to record a 10-second pass on the quarter mile and 6-second pass on the 1/8 mile both achieved in 1972.

Among the sea of Beetles there were plenty of other vintage VWs to feast one’s eyes on like this Type III Notchback which had been left is a natural state of decay…

…rust spots exposed for a sort of rat rod feel. The aggressively slammed ride height led to some very VIP-like onikyan, which suited it rather well.

Rust is as popular as glossy paint jobs at Mooneyes as this Karmann Ghia perfectly shows.

Shiny modern wheels finished the look off, deeply recessed up front and tightly tucked in at the rear.

For those wanting to see some vintage domestic cars, well Mooneyes never disappoints as I found it hard to keep away from this particular area…

…which was full of awesome old Toyotpet Crowns of all body types…

…from sedans like this shiny dark silver example…

…to the pick up we saw in yesterday’s preview post, finishing off with a pair of nice coupes.

The cherry on the cake, and one of my favorite, the wagon of course.

Hopefully this beautifully restored hauler will give our very own Mike Garrett a few ideas!

While the preparations continued…

…I headed out the back of the exhibition center to check out a couple of rat rods that had just been unloaded. It’s so hard not to love these raw creations; they are probably the most artistic expression of a custom car I can possibly think of. Simple, to the point and oozing tons of character.

What is cool is that a lot of the support cars that shops or owners use are actually vintage themselves, just like this Honda TN-III truck I spotted parked up along the access road.

There weren’t quite as many lowriders as last year, seeing that in the other half of the exhibition space a massive chopper display had been organized for the bike guys. Still there were some impressive creations to check out…

…with so much attention to detail you really had to stop and take a closer look.

It was quite refreshing seeing a ’32 Ford with a roof and wearing most of its body panels, as usually these are some of the most popular basis for extreme hot-rod conversions.

More roofed beauties from a little later generation.

White on white?

Someone has parked a new Alfa Romeo Giulietta in front of the gates to Hall B, and while it may have nothing to do with anything on display at Mooneyes, it looked so good basking in the light that I just had to grab a shot.

As ever if you want to admire some of the best hot rods Japan has to offer…

…this was the place to come to, an area dedicated to these minimalistic creations, surrounded by a ton of stalls selling anything from hair pomade to custom painted hubcaps.

This converted Jeep Fleetvan mobile catering truck was one of the most imaginative creations. Too bad that during the set up day the advertised “Arizona Burgers” weren’t on sale, as I would have definitely devoured one for lunch!

This Porsche 356 turned out to be something a little different from the classic I initially assumed it was. The term “restomod” might be the best word to describe it, as the car has obviously kept its original vintage lines, yet has been combined with some modern work under its skin.

The name on the front fenders sort of gives it away.

Yup, this old Porsche has given up the old flat-4 engine in favor of an electric motor and a battery pack, giving it 75 miles of range and a top speed of 110 mph.

I will be getting to the awesome selection of muscle cars in the next installment of pictures from the show…

…but first up will be a spotlight-o-rama featuring five cars that really stood out to me. Don’t miss it!

Mooneyes Japan

Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show 2012 coverage on Speedhunters

-Dino Dalle Carbonare


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39 comments
michael pisa
michael pisa

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is the best automobile there! Well anywhere really if you have eyes and a brain lol

Albertraze
Albertraze

Baaaaaaaaannnnnng. That green Volksrod is AWESOME. You guys make past cars as future rodies ;)

gliebau
gliebau

I'll bet a lot of money that the electric 356 is a replica. With those being so abundant and (comparatively) inexpensive, who the hell would take a $100,000 roadster and ruin it with an electric motor?

NicoAndresFariasRojas
NicoAndresFariasRojas

Among the sea of Beetles there were plenty of other vintage VWs to feast one’s

Fagundes_V8
Fagundes_V8

Lowrider Civic?

the 66' Chevelle SS is so beautiful

FrankiePerez6
FrankiePerez6

whats that chevy?! i know its an SS but i have no idea which one.

Larry Chen
Larry Chen moderator

Oh man, what is that last car?

HLB
HLB

Daaaaaang. That green Volksrod is AWESOME.

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

That Crown Wagon and the 360 Rod. So amazing! I NEED to get back to this show next year. Thanks for the inspiration!

ding0tr0n
ding0tr0n

i've never seen a chopped vw bug before but me thinks me likes.

 

you guys should think about lightboxing the non-desktop pictures so the page doesn't have to reload when you click on a picture.  (google jquery lightbox)

ComJive
ComJive

i would rock the hell out of that 360

also all of those crowns. there's a lot of muscle heads around where i live, and while i have nothing against them and I like muscle cars too, i would get a lot of satisfaction from confusing the hell out of some of them with those cragar lookin wheels, or some torq thrusts (the rake on the blue wagon is especially good), before they finally realise "wait wheres that V8 noise WAT ITS A TOYOTA"

also that honda truck is adorable and i would drive it too

Censport
Censport

Love all the VWs. More please! And the black full-bodied '32 IS very refreshing. Especially during the current rat rod trend. Can't wait to see the muscle cars and that wild Pantera.

Angela
Angela

Alot of very classic cars, love it. I especially like the first car, I've never seen anything like it. 

Harry Z Allstar
Harry Z Allstar

VIP-like Onikyan my arse... there's been VWs like this for years before ricesplicing!

wlad
wlad

I like a Volkswagen lover, I simply fantastic.

Fireflybuzzbuzz
Fireflybuzzbuzz

The confusion of the beetle/subaru 360 is most likely because it's using a beetle engine and chassis.

apex_DNA
apex_DNA

 @000guto1 Lowrider euros (not "euro" per say, but as in non-traditional, most of which were Hondas) were all the rage in the early '90s, which I believe were the inspiration for several variations of old-school "fin" wheels made by SSR, Work and others...what you know about that, RWD fanboy?

Sam
Sam

 @Harry Z Allstar Agreed. Also that ramrod feel that was mentioned was off. It simply has patina.

 

Loving the coverage. Thats one mean looking 55!

Acc
Acc

it does? was wondering what engine it sports, modern Subaru H4 seems too big, as does a US V8

speedhunters_dino
speedhunters_dino

Yes, I can get that, but the 360 body is almost half the size, no confusion there 

elertsmartins
elertsmartins

 @Oompa Right? That was the first thought when I saw the last picture. 

gliebau
gliebau

 @speedhunters_dino I looked into it a bit more because the concept is interesting, but also because I still think revamping an original 356 this way sounds a bit bonkers. There are currently a few companies that do electric 356 replicas, to my surprise! Check out Kriss Motors and Thunder Ranch Speesters for a couple good examples. Cool.

V4L_SprinT
V4L_SprinT

I believe that is a Detomaso Pantera.

Harris Z Allstar
Harris Z Allstar

 @speedhunters_dino  @Harry Z Allstar 

splicing/renaming any existing trend or style with a jap name to give it perceived scene kudos - so arse-down, axle-spread, springplated, 40yr old dub camber becomes 'onikyan'. Not really eh?

Fireflybuzzbuzz
Fireflybuzzbuzz

 @speedhunters_dino

My original post reads a lot more arsey than i meant it to, whoops. I assumed they were playing guess the chassis, something i do with the local customs. A 2cv is surprisingly popular choice haha.

 

I would say it's using an aircooled vw lump due to the exhaust header, looks like a standard empi/bugpack unit.

 

Love the tail-lights on it, anything other than those factory wheels and hubcaps would just look wrong on it too.

xIRISHx
xIRISHx

@elertsmartins @Oompa I think it might be a Bricklin

apex_DNA
apex_DNA

 @Harris Z Allstar  @speedhunters_dino  @Harry Z Allstar That's called borrowing words from a one car culture and applying it to another, either because of said ignorance or due to the lack of respect to a given style in it's natural enviroment...you can blame the same hipsters that continue to push such trends as hellaflush down enthusiasts throats.

 

roeby
roeby

@Nite Donkey @Dusty Monkey @elertsmartins @Oompa Has anyone seen the Brave robotics transformer/car video, looks abit like that. (which is unbelieveble cool)


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