Associate Editor Miss Anna D’Amour was lucky enough to say konnichawa to the 2015 Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show in Japan.
It’s not everyday you think of Japan and hot rods. A while ago, I wouldn’t have imagined a huge hot rod and custom car scene in Japan, unless it was something like a scene out of Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.
However, in the quite country towns of Japan there are some of the best custom and hot rods I have ever seen. Growing up in a hot-rodding family, I have always been influenced by the American hot rod scene and was really familiar with the Mooneyes company.
When word starting getting around here in Australia of the Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod and Custom Show and how amazing the cars and bikes were, I knew I had to get over there at some stage to check it out.
In December 2015 I made good on that promise to myself.
Walking into our Yokohama hotel opposite where the show is held was an eye-opener, there were car lovers and clubs from all over the world. Everyone was wearing club jackets and they would come up and say hello straight away, the atmosphere was exciting. The Friday before the day of the show was a highlight, where visitors were invited to watch the cars and bikes set up.
Watching some of the best custom cars rolling past you was a feeling I will never forget. Friday night before the show is a dinner and free sake (Japanese wine) for international guests. We got to see the whole show set up before anyone else, and after the welcome dinner there was a Dice Magazine after party. Take it from me, this is not a good idea to go to when the show starts the next morning at 8.00am. The Dice company boys know how to party!
I learned two things about Japanese people straight away; they love Australians and they are the most welcoming and caring people I have ever met. We could all learn a lot from their culture.
Walking into the Yokohama Pacifico where the show was held on the Saturday morning we saw a line-up about 15kms long, but Japanese people know how to deal with crowds, they’re used to it. Before long we were entering the Mooneyes show and the view was any car lovers dream. There was something there for everyone. The middle of the building was filled with customs, low riders, hot rods, custom bikes, street machines and muscle cars. Around the outside were the merchandise tents with everything from the pop-up Mooneyes shop to the Deadend Magazine stand, Vans of Yokohama and even a Japanese pin-up shop.
At the front of the centre was a great display of custom artists from all around the world including Max Grundy, Keith Weisner, Mr G, Ken the Flattop Pinstriper and Hopup Live Magazine.
One of the highlights of the show was watching the invitational cars and bikes drive/ride into the building with custom legends like Gene Winfield behind the wheel.
It was one huge day but so worth it. The variety of cars and bikes to look at and the set ups that most of these cars had was on another level. The Japanese are definitely perfectionists and masters at their craft.
Miss Anna D’Amour xxx