Why Do We Love Stickers?
Badges Of Honor

Earlier this year during a Skype chat with fellow Speedhunter Bryn, he brought up an idea for a story – stickers. ‘Stickers?’, I wondered to myself, not exactly sure what he was getting at. Then he explained more, talking about how it might be cool for me to go through my collection and put together a post about some of my favorites and what they mean to me.

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Then I began to understand. Car enthusiasts love stickers – perhaps more so than people involved in any other hobby on earth. We like to collect them, buy them, trade them and sometimes even stick them places.

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Some of us like to cover our windows in them, while some of us just apply a few to our cars. Some like to slap them on toolboxes, suitcases or even camera gear. Some of us like to collect them for the simple sake of collecting them. Whatever the case, we love the things!

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So with this in mind, I spent some time over the weekend going through my personal collection of stickers which I’ve acquired over the years.

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Naturally, my wife wondered what the hell I was doing when she came downstairs and saw our coffee table covered in stickers. But when I told her what I was planning on doing, even she thought it might make for an interesting story.

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I’m not exactly sure how many stickers I have in my collection, but there are a lot of them. A few were bought as souvenirs for places I’ve been, many I’ve been given, and some I’ve traded Speedhunters stickers for. As I was digging through my collection, uncovering stickers that I didn’t even remember getting my hands on, I realized that a massive percentage of them had come from my various travels around Japan.

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What can I say – they seem to love stickers over there. These little pieces of sticky paper have helped to serve as a great reminder of the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met.

Team Spirit
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When it comes to the world of stickers, there is nothing better than those that come from a team or club. These aren’t just logos of brands or companies, they are badges of a brotherhood.

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‘Bad Human Being’ – it’s the well known badge of Tochigi’s Hideo Hiraoka and his garage Pro Shop Rapid. Up top it reads ‘women, alcohol, drift etc’.

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And speaking of Tochigi, here’s a sticker that the Emperor himself, Yoshinori Koguchi, gave me when we visited his shop in Utsunomiya several years ago. I want to get a 180SX just so I can throw this on it.

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Here are some more drift team stickers – one from Funky Racing in Kanto, along with the team sticker for Toyota drift specialists PEAK. Last but not least is one that AE86 drifter Ryota Sakaguchi sent all the way from Hokkaido. I love the 8-bit style graphics on this one.

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I even managed to acquire a couple of bosozoku team stickers from some local bikers when I was in Hiroshima earlier this year. Now if only I had some sort of cool Yamaha or Kawasaki to throw them on…

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Of all the stickers I have, some of the rarest are from the Kanjo racers of Osaka. I’ve had the opportunity to observe these guys in action on a couple of occasions over the last few years, and besides the memories, I’ve assembled a decent little stack of team stickers from this scene.

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While I in no way condone or encourage illegal street racing, I can’t help but chuckle when I see No Good Racing’s ‘Bye Bye Police since 1985′ slogan or Topgun Racing’s club logo, which is a police officer icon with a line going through it. They provide little hints at the mysterious subculture that lies beneath it all.

People, Places & Memories
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Shop stickers are another great thing to collect, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a well known place like Flat 4 in Tokyo…

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Or a small independent workshop like Yamaguchi Paint & Body in Kyoto. Keen eyes will notice this decal is actually inspired by the old Dunlop logos seen on Japanese racing cars.

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I’ve also picked up plenty of stickers from the hot rod and custom shops I’ve visited in the Nagoya region. I’ve got a few that Hisashi from Cholo’s Custom gave me, and several from The Local Hero – my friend Toshi Shimizu’s website.

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It actually seems like it’s impossible to find a garage or workshop in Japan that doesn’t have a sticker with its logo on it. Here we’ve got one from Kool Garage Fellows and another from the Mercury maniacs at Border’s. You can expect to see more on Border’s here on Speedhunters very soon…

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When it comes to my personal stash of stickers, the Mooneyes section could be a separate collection in itself. Everytime I visit Area 1 in Honmoku there’s a couple of new designs to grab, and they include everything from special seasonal stickers, to designs for the Moon Cafe and even the 150th anniversary of the Port of Yokohama.

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You actually have to be careful not to go crazy while buying stickers at Area 1, and they usually make the deal even sweeter by throwing in a few extras if you spend over a certain amount. Never go anywhere in Japan without cash.

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Buying stickers from race tracks you’ve been to is something that everyone should do, but I’m a little ashamed to admit I’ve been slacking a bit in this area. I do have these two from Twin Ring Motegi and Nikko Circuit in my collection though.

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Here are a couple of stickers I picked up from the guys at Casty.co and Hardcore Japan when I visited their headquarters in Tokyo earlier this year. It’s a cool mix of the fashion and automotive worlds, as you find so often in Japan.

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Of course, not all of my stickers come from Japan, and I’ve got a decent stash stickers from here in the States as well. Included are some from Coby Gewertz, the owner of Van Go, and a couple that Magnus Walker gave me when we visited his garage in LA this spring.

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But in the end it doesn’t matter whether the stickers come from a place down the street or a place across the world. The point is that to us they are worth infinitely more than the paper they are printed on. Friendship, support, respect, history, connection, memories – to car enthusiasts stickers and decals represent all of that and more.

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We love stickers, and until this world is fully removed of both automobiles and adhesive strips of paper and vinyl, I think that’ always how it’s going to be.

So now that I’ve shared a little about my little sticker stash, I’m curious to see and hear about yours. I’m also interested to hear if you have one certain automotive sticker that you cherish more than any other. Share yours in the comments section below..

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike
mike@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
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76 comments

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1

I put stickers everywhere, my doors, my shelfs ,

2

I love me some of those stickers!  Especially the No Good Racing ones!  I'm not a stickerhead but here are two of mine.  Best Motoring Sticker came with my Drift Bible DVD when Autobacs opened up in Cali.  The 2 sticker I got at Newcomb's Ranch

3

My most cherished stickers are from a family friend who drove a funny car. He won his last race but never made it to the pits, he had a massive heart attack and died in the gravel pits, still in his car. He died doing something he loved. His widow gave me ALL of his old racing stickers, on top of his NHRA stickers and from car shows he'd attended in his old Pontiac. Some of the sticker currently reside on the roof of my 240, the others are put away until I decide what to do with them. On top of those I have sticker sheets from Speedhunters and so many vinyl stickers I wouldn't dare try to count......I share The love of stickers with you Mike!

4

Hey Mike, if you would give me some of your stickers, I would definitely remember where I got them!

5

@MRSOLOMON85 oh and I for got about my drum set

6

#carspeciall

7

Cool story....love stickers!!
Whats the best way to get to the Mooneyes shop/cafe in Yokohama if you were to be day tripping it there from Tokyo? Train then walk, or what? Any tips would be great.

8

Spaghetti Train and a 45 minute walk!

9

christse Is it really that far on foot? Might not bother.....or taxi maybe

10

Spaghetti christse Might be even longer than that... but it was worth the walk for me!

11

I've never gone into a fast food place and had my friend ask for stickers from the person serving them... but that is exactly what happened when I went in to an In and Out Burger place in Las Vegas with Bryn Musselwhite, it's safe to say he's obsessive

12

hoooraayy.  stickers are the best.  here are a couple pics of the stickers i've thrown at my seat.

13
Gianluca FairladyZ

Haha.. Now that's a good story :) I was so happy to put the Mine's stickers on my car! Mike, the last picture in chapter 3, the black sticker with the red hand doing an "O", what is this for a sticker? Rocket Bunny?

15

I used to ride Motorcycles so a lot of my coffee table stickers are related to that, they have received a Clear, UV protective layer of wrapping vinyl to keep them fresh and clean looking... a few of my car/motorsports stickers end up on on my desk/iMac/walking sticks but I've got a box full of stickers again already as my other half has banned me from "sticker bombing" anything else :(

16

might help if I attach the photo eh?

17
Gianluca FairladyZ

MikeYee Gianluca FairladyZ  Man, this is absolutley crazy¨!!!!!!! I red the story of the link, and damn.....! I'm gona order it right now!!!!! Thx

18

The only stickers I put on my car are the Option 2 & Speedhunters!

19

Nice article Mike, definitely stickers resemble memories for me. each time you pick a specific sticker up it almost sends your internal memory into warp back to the point in time when and where and whom with you were given it.. Friends, goodtimes, and being a stranger in the magical land of Japan sweeps me back there.

In terms of my favorite, so hard to choose, i have the same koguchi & funky stickers, but I would say my team Freees & Lowbrain stickers would be the most important. They were given to me by the for-mentioned after we managed to arrange a meet on my first trip to Japan. The fact these guys had driven out the city to be with me and accept me into the second lives on the outskirts of their 'practice roads' shall we say, and allow me to delve into the scene as it were it Japan filled me with pride and has garnered my many returns to the land I'll be calling home from next spring as I move full time to continue those bonds that were made.

I'll be sure to note your return to J-Land and may catch you on the east side. Stay safe on your travels sir and keep up the collection :)

Les from Roughsmoke.

20

AWESOME ARTICAL DUDE!!! 
stickers are awesome! i love them, i have been told that i have a problem.... or that i like them to an unhealthy extent but that will not stop me! i have always had the love for them, so much that i have quit my job, bought a vinyl cutter and make stickers for others! Last summer/fall when Final Bout came to be i had the opportunity to add to my collection! 

Here are a few photos of my collection!  

First photo is mostly left over stickers from Final Bout along with some of my original designs 
Second is the quarter glass of my 86,these are vinyls that the previous owners of the car have added over the years

21

also here is the DirtyLove club crest on the back window

22

last update... sorry, not sorry 
On the other side quarter glass i have many of the Teams from Final Bout including, Magic Runners, Shadynasty, Nerp Tech, HotBoys, HIGHFADE, Proceed and more! 

also "pop art" / Street stickers are huge in my area and here is a small part of my collection from some of them

23

I also have a collection of stickers which constantly grows, I think everyone who's into cars or bikes has a collection.
And I have to get my hands on some of these japanese stickers, they look sick! Guess I gotta do a trip to Japan someday

24

TarmacTerrorist how did you get that NGK sticker? They usually don't send them out :D

25

You totally need to link us to some good sticker sites!

26

jdmRob TarmacTerrorist aha, yeah I've watched people try to peel that one off... Repeated heavy-handed pressure with a friend/sales rep worked............. eventually.

27

My first car in 1987 was covered in stickers....skateboarders have been bombing their gear forever :) Now they just go under my hood

28

The moon eyes stickers are simply awesome!! And the sakura colored "full bloom yokohama" is the best of them all

29

Simple sticker life. Very proud

30

I'm working on a project and need tons of stickers.....I mean tons of stickers.  It's so kool, I can't say what I'm doing just yet...... Great article.  Got to tell us where we can get some of those pesky stickers.

31

I love these sticker collections. The sad thing is, once used you need to keep whatever you attached them to, otherwise they are lost forever!
I'm really intrigued by the "Racing Heat Elegance Road Original Star". What is it, or what is the company/group? I've never heard of it before. I assume it's R-Hero or something, but google isn't being kind.

32

Floz True about keeping them, haha. I've got a Urban Outlaw sticker on my laptop signed by Magnus Walker, which he gave me when I met him at Gatebil this year. I've been meaning to replace my laptop for a better one but now I can't, haha.

33

This article is awesome. I love stickers!
I've got a small collection myself, I try to pick some up whereever I find some. I think the one that started it all was a tiny orange 'Rat Stylz' decal which I got back in, oh... 2007 or so, from some guy on VWVortex who organized some kind of donation for a cancer-ridden family member and sent these out as thanks, IIRC.

34

Awesome collection :) Support Violent Driving lol

35

"While I in no way condone or encourage illegal street racing…"


No need to excuse yourself, just say it how is OR don't say it all, leave it for people in the know.

36

Gotta go put all of mine together

37

This is my favorite feature ever!  I love how a simple sticker can tell so many stories and recall some awesome experiences.
The problem always seems to be "to stick or not to stick".

38

Check out posterpop.com they have some cool stickers as well.  Not the scratch and sniff kind though.

39

my favourites are all now stuck on my car, they are:-
> Hurst racing tires - came with my hurst pie crust slicks
>Classic mooneyes yellow circle and eyes, picked up at Bonneville
>So What speed shop, proudly placed on my carb scoop. Thanks Shug, you're a legend
>1960's Penzoil - what altered coupe wouldn't be sporting that
>SCTA window sticker - also on the coupe
>1960's autolite spark plugs sticker(s)
>Bean Bandits club sticker (not on the car yet) - Not in them I'm not even on the right continent but way cool socal racing & hotrod club since forever, again picked up at Bonneville
 So cool that I'm wary of puting on my car my original Ed Roth water decal Mekong River Rats, still in the packaging

40

Sorry forgot my Illinois Abate sticker that are on my garage door, not that they're that great but because they were given to me by Gus, the coolest 80 year old biker/land speed racer to hit the salt

41

@Tdice I pretty much love all of those. What kind of car are these on BTW?

42

Jun Imai Thanks Jun! I've got the same problem man. Looks like you've got some treasure there :)

43

BastienBochmann Always nice stickers have some meaning to them, right?

44

Floz It's actually a shop in Nagoya. I got that back in '06 so I'm not even sure if it's around anymore. Will have to check into it the next time I'm there. And yes it's hard to stick them on something, especially when you go through cars as fast as I do haha.

45

macm3651 Good style.

46

importfan Yeah I'm pretty much addicted to them. I forgot to thank my buddy Kage for sending me some of the seasonal ones :)

47

D1RGE Under hood is never a bad spot to stick them.

48

@Josh M You can get SH ones in the store of course, but actually I didn't buy a single one of these online. Usually easier to find them at events and meets.

49

jdmRob Do it!

50

Montana Strait Glad you liked the story. And love the '90s/'00s sticker mania look.

51

Roughsmoke Thanks Les! My feelings are likewise :)

52

TarmacTerrorist Totally bombed eh? Cool!

53

Gianluca FairladyZ Yep that story explains it well.

54

Bryn Alban I actually picked up some from Hodad's the last time I was in San Diego. One of my favorite burger spots in the world and lots free stickers to boot!

55

Spaghetti Yeah you basically go to Yamate station and then either walk or cab. I'd probably cab just to be safe. Getting back is easier as you can just hop on one of the many buses heading to Yokohama Station.

56

miksfield Had some of those way back but I can't remember what happened to them. Damn.

57

Mike Garrett 
Mostly they're on a 1929 Model A coupe, that's been steadily becoming a 60's looking altered coupe, piecrust slicks at the back supercushions up front,  shorty headers (soon to be white) and  a  bit of a cartoon rake
.....the yellow moon one is now where the tax disc used to be on my Eunos :)

58

Mike Garrett thanks man! i get flack from time to time because i don't have a black on black on black car with 0 stickers on it, but that has never been my style!

59

God So many decals and stickers I had or still have. Most are just a reflection of my personal interests or things that I grew up with like the Fatlace Transformers and Voltron stickers. I have some from my favorite bands like Dio, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath etc. My most valued one is the Golden one with the Topsecret Japan Logo given to me by Mr. Nagata himself when he tuned my car. I collect stickers as much as I collect hotwheels now lol

60

Mike Garrett Thank You ~

61

@Tdice Mike Garrett This sounds amazing!

63

Cool collection. They only sticker I want is the v-opt.co.jp sticker... I had my old laptop sticker bombed... I do like the coffee table idea or even a work station.... The stories behind the collections.... Great read!

64

Mike Garrett I've got some contenders.  Don't make me pull out the good stuff :)

65

It really is about "Friendship, support, respect, history, connection, memories" isn't it. Everytime you dig them out it reminds you of something.
At the moment I have two and they are both on my car, OzVR4.com which is friendship and NA Autosport and Engineering which is pretty much all of the above.

66
Glenn_Quagmire

You'd think sticker trading would become a thing at events.

67

That is an awesome sticker collection! My collection of cheap power adder stickers pretty much looked plain compared to this rich collection. Good stuff Speedhunters!

68
TalmageDangerfield

I remember when people first started putting decals on their car. At first people thought that it looked horrible, but after a while the trend caught on. I had quite a few on my '64 mustang while growing up. But I definitely agree with this article, they are so much fun to this day. http://www.imageworksmedia.com/signs_and_decals.shtml

69

Im starting to a see a trend where most of us are doing the 90's style japan team stickers to have their own cliche names like NIGHT DANCER , BAD VIBES , ELEGANT WILD ETC ETC just to fit in the cool scene i guess

70

Seems like the in thing to do

71

I have always had a weird fascination with sticker designs. I often wanted to make my own stickers and put them up for sale.. I especially like the decal type stickers, it always has an awesome result. http://www.prairiesigns2000.ca/en/

72
JenniferStevens

One of the reasons that stickers might be so popular is that they allow for a greater level of customization as far as cars are concerned.   The last thing someone might want is to have a need for their car, but not be able to find it.   Luckily, there seem to be services out there that can help with stickers and decals should the need arise. http://www.prairiesigns2000.ca/en/

73
JenniferStevens

One of the reasons that stickers might be so popular is that they allow for a greater level of customization as far as cars are concerned.   The last thing someone might want is to have a need for their car, but not be able to find it.   Luckily, there seem to be services out there that can help with stickers and decals should the need arise. http://www.prairiesigns2000.ca/en/

74

I love putting stickers and various decals on my car! I don't think you could say I'm a collector, but I absolutely have a few of them. I've even bought some for my siblings! I feel like it really helps to personalize your car, especially when you drive a very popular model. http://www.kingstonsign.com/services/service/6845

75

Wow. I love stickers and decals. Most of mine are hot rod, hockey, LA subculture and some Kanji. This collection is extraordinary.

76

How do u pay stickers

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