Setting Standards: Mooneyes 2012

Time to take a look at a final selection of cars from this year’s Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show, an event that year after year not only continues to get better, but defines how seriously and passionately the Japanese take this scene. I’ve kept the best American rides I came across for this last post, starting off with this crazy Pro Street style Dodge Charger…

…which throughout the show’s set up on Saturday kept attracting a lot of admirers. This beast, built by Kennie’s Mopar Service, packs a blown 528 ci motor…

…and is rocking a pretty mean drag stance with little skinny tires up front and full on, ridiculously wide, drag rubber at the back.

What makes it even more special is that it’s road registered and driven regularly by its owner. You can expect to see more of this car next year as I plan to visit the shop and take a closer look under its hood.

You can’t talk about muscle without mentioning the Camaro, a car that was well represented with this stunning example from Speed Research…

…to this one on more modern wheels, in the process of being admired and reflected upon by these guys above.

It was a true treat to get to seem my first ever Studebaker Avanti. In the grand scheme of things it was nothing special as a car, but I can’t help being attracted to weird creations from the past.

This Avanti, was in showroom condition and I spent quite some time checking it out, trying to digest that curious and in some places awkward design. You really can’t beat a bit unique flair, that’s for sure.

There was plenty of low-riding awesomeness to be seen too…

…always a big part of the show, like this particular Impala.

Got chrome?

The Shelby Cobra that earlier in the day blew one of my ear drums as it was being warmed up and driven down the back access road had, by mid afternoon, been parked up in the Stock Car Club of All Japan display area…

…hood propped open and showing off that nice big V8 that seems to barely fit in its tight engine bay.

Ah yes, you can never have enough flames at a Mooneyes show!

The owner of this roof-chopped Mercury Coupe was struggling to reverse his big classic…

…into his display. It took a few back and forth maneuvers but he eventually managed to position it just right. I really loved the monochromatic paint job, it really made it stand out among a sea of bright paint schemes.

Having done most of my growing up in Europe and having been exposed to car culture there – including classic and vintage rides – there is one thing that still wows me when coming face to face with historic American rides…

…and that’s their size! It may be kind of obvious but I just can’t help but comparing these leviathans to a little Fiat 500, the car that helped motorize Italy in the post war period. Even coupes seem to be 2~2.5 times the size of a little 500!

A Mooneyes Japan show just wouldn’t be the same without at least a few kei cars, in this case a slammed kei-van literally sitting on the ground!

To roof chop…

…or not to roof-chop, that seem to be quite the question in the rat rod scene. It’s a tough one but nothing quite makes a statement like a low roofline. Which one do you guys prefer?

This is the famous Pumpkin Sally, a rod that was built by the Japanese custom shop that goes by the same name. Over the years it has gone through a few rebuilds and is now looking like it should be entered at the Bonneville Speed Trials!

The Hot Rod section at the show is always one of my favorite as with each year I continue to get my head around these curious creations.

Except for 2012 it was this particular project that really shined as the best one there. It was literally the last car to be driven into the exhibition center and lots of work was being done around the display area so I couldn’t get a closer look but it was a superb fusion of modern and vintage, with those inboard mounted and push-rod actuated dampers up front and the classic rod look. The  base is a 1929 Ford Roadster pick up and power comes via a GM 350 ci V8 running an Inglese 8-stack on the intake.

So from hot rods…

…it’s on to some vans, again something I really like to check out at these shows.

There were only a handful this year…

…but as always you can expect only the best to make to the show.

In the vast VW section I thought this bug from 405 Factory deserved to be shown, an unusual creation. At first I couldn’t quite understand the rather large truck tires mounted on the black steel rims…

…but towards the end of the show it had been armed with a couple of surfboards, so was probably built as beach cruiser. Not sure if those tires would be the best choice for sand however.

This ’62 Chevy Revolver truck has been a work in progress for over a year now. First its chassis was shown earlier this spring at the Mooneyes event in Odaiba but now it seems to be completed. Quite an impressive hauler!

In one of my other posts I was asked if there were any other gassers at the event on top of the “The Rocket” we saw being driven into the front of the exhibition center

…was this cool Chevy Bel Air sitting high above the rest of the cars around it.

Yet again the Hot Rod & Custom show has left me very satisfied, from both a car enthusiast point of view as well as from a photography point of view.

I hope you guys have enjoyed it as much as I have! Spring and the Mooneyes Street Car Nationals in Odaiba can’t come quick enough!

Mooneyes Japan

Mooneyes Hot Rot & Custom Show 2012 coverage on Speedhunters

-Dino Dalle Carbonare



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Good morning Mr. Dino, how are you?
Congratulations for the work and the pictures are wonderful. I really liked the Shelby!


Good morning Mr. Dino, how are you?
Congratulations for the work and the pictures are wonderful. I really liked the Shelby!


oh man. loving the orange charger. very classy build. looks exactly how it should. :)


oh man. loving the orange charger. very classy build. looks exactly how it should. :)


The Charger is cool... but I can't believe you skipped over the Road Runner drag car next to it! Pro-street Chargers are everywhere but when is that last time you saw a modified Plymouth?... let alone a sweet drag car that looks street legal! I hope its from the same shop as the Charger & we can get a closer look at it in the future


really like that pear coloured chevy


the beetle reminds me a lot of the vw beetles used in world war II


The black and silver Merc is... Stunning.

Speedhunters Bryn

@gliebau I completely agree, such a good look. I'm very inspired by that.


Impala lowrider? That looks like a donk (google it).


thanks for showing the 57 gasser and that charger, can't wait for that feature on Kennie's Mopar Service you were talkign about.


Just talking with the wife..... both of us have never seen cars like these on the road here.  Why? That makes me a little sad.


Some very cool cars! The Japanese build American cars just as well (if not sometimes better) than we do!


No Japanese love for the Mustang?


@apex_DNA nothing "Donk" about it (except for being an Impala or "DONK" [cus the Impala symbol resembles a Donkey] in Southern Florida slang) in order to be a proper Donk, it's got to be lifted. this Impala is a "traditional" custom cruiser. those IROCs aren't even 20 inches. when i was in high school back in the early- mid 90s we rolled full-size 60-early 70s coupes like this all day. some with 14-15x8  inch reverse wires, others with IROCS or Torque Thrust and so on.


Was Cole Foster's resto-mod BMW at the Mooneyes Show? Such an awesome car.
Hard to believe a guy that builds hot rods and custom motorcycles has a love of old BMWs.


@dadecode Either way it's not a (proper) lowrider...cruiser or not.


no chop. and I don't see why the tires would be a bad choice. the car's light enough that the skinny tires wouldn't be a problem if you kept the momentum


Funny how the ProStreet Charger says it was built by Kennies
Mopar Service, when the truth is the car was built by me, in my Garage, in
California (USA). I then sold it to a guy in Japan in 2012. I would love to
find out who owns the car today so I can connect with this person and share
some of the history of me building her. Thx


Check out to see some of the history of creating this beautiful Charger


the term "Donk" only applies to 1970-1976 Impalas. It actually has nothing to do with it being a "Highriser", lowrider or custom. People who kno nothing of the actual miami custom scene call any highriser they see a Donk.
As to the Impala in the article; it's just a clean run of the mill custom with 20" Irocs. Definately NOT a Donk. Its not even lifted.


@dadecode It takes a big man to admit that he's wrong, I'm not a big man.