THE Yokohama Hot Rod & Custom Show is an icon in the world of indoor car shows. It isn’t the biggest, but the quality and variety of the cars and bikes on show keep visitors from around the world coming back year after year. The hospitality demonstrated by the Mooneyes crew is impressive, and the range of awesome traders, live music acts and stellar people-watching is the icing on the cake. If you can get there for the 25th anniversary show in 2016, you’re unlikely to be disappointed! Here are just some of the cars that caught took our fancy.
The show starts with the ride in for the special guest cars and bikes on the Sunday morning. Here John D’Agostino rolls in his ’68 Buick Riviera, Pantheon.
The sounds and smells of the invited bikes really add something to the show. Mark Drews’ Panhead was one of our favourites.
Tom Foster enters the building in his ’52 Chev Styleline Deluxe, dubbed ‘Cracker Box’.
Our favourite muscle car of the event was Sho Kogawa’s insane ’70 Dodge Challenger R/T.
The Challenger had everything the well-dressed 1970s-style US streeter needs, including serious sniffer rake, sidepipes, spotlights, some subtle pinstriping on the bonnet and a Charlie’s Angels motif on the diff.
Our pick for best pro tourer was this killer ’67 Camaro built by Tatsu Shiohata of the Project Car Factory. We dug the chrome bumpers!
Goodies include an EFI 383ci small-block, Tremec six-speed, Wilwood brakes and some very cool diffusers under the car. Tatsu says the owner will use it for street driving and drifting.
Custom legend Gene Winfield with Melbourne hot rodder Anna Key.
There were quite a few cars featuring Gene’s handiwork at the show. The Wheels Unlimited ’53 Buick Riviera was already chopped when the lads bought it, but Gene has done a ton of work to it, including one of his trademark fade-away paintjobs.
The Wheels Unlimited ’53 Mercury was originally built in the US by Chet Miller. Gene added paint and a few custom touches such as frenched headlights.
Tomohito Enomoto of Hard On Custom and his mates from Clownz Car Club.
The Hard On Volksrod was a deserving winner of the Best Radical gong. And it drove out of the show!
Shades of Mr Damage on Oliver Jones’s ’69 Shovel.
The winner of the Best Dream Car award was Buddy’s insane 1960 Cadillac, dubbed Nathalie – or maybe Mary Poppins, we’re not entirely sure!
The Caddy is a flight of fancy, with a Thunderbird dash and Chrysler Imperial instrument cluster.
Body mods were done by Blues Mobile, with paint by Borracho.
Ashley Cunningham’s single-spinner was one of three American customs brought over for the show. The car graced the cover of The Rodder’s Journal #56.
This De Tomaso Pantera was one of two gnarly track-inspired examples on the Risky Business stand. Loving the extra-fat body kit and lobster-back exhaust system!
The white Pantera was less nasty than the black example, but rated high on the cool factor.
The Deez Crew showed up with three period-perfect 70s vans: a Chev, a Dodge and a Ford.
The Van Hauler Dodge even had a cool mini-me!
Wild paint, flared guards, bubble windows and fully decked-out cabins are all part of the Neez Crew armoury.
Now we’ve seen everything! We're not sure what this started life as - maybe a Honda - but Koshio’s van has a ton of hardcore, old-school custom touches, including custom grille, quad headlights, crazy rear fins, flames and a complete custom dash.
This ’33 Willys gasser is a genuine 60s survivor. The car was brought into Japan a few years ago and restored by Shunichi Kasai of the Deuce Factory for a customer. “The car had been modified from its 60s style – it was low and ran big slicks,” Shunichi explained. “We put it back to the original look and fitted a mild 350 Chev so the owner can drive it on the street!”
The Deuce Factory had eight cars on show at Mooneyes, including this stunning ’32 Ford woody wagon, which was apparently assembled in Japan from new.
We never thought we’d go to Mooneyes and be blown away by a Datsun 120Y, but this circuit racing survivor moved us in strange ways.
This year’s show celebrated ’49-’54 era cars, and Fatty’s 1950 Chev Fleetline was one of the wilder cars on show. It was plenty tough too, with 454 big-block power and TCI underpinnings with air suspension.
Katsuo Maehara’s ’74 Mazda Rotary Pick-up. Sold only in the US and Canada with a 13B and flared guards and other cosmetic upgrades from the regular B-series utes, Katsuo’s version has some cool period hot-up pieces and a warmed-over mill.
Yutaka of the Primera club rocked our world with this ’68 Chev sport coupe, ‘Wild Eight.’ Check out the front end treatment!
This Mercury Monterey from the Strongers Kar Klub took out the Top Custom award. It is a super-neat car, with an equally cool display.
Makoto Okamura’s ’50 Ford coupe is simply perfection. The flathead driveline adds extra cool factor. On the left is Kondah-san’s ’49 Mercury.
We dug Haruki Koganei’s take on the mini-truck theme – retaining the factory-esque paint on his ’81 Toyota pick-up, but with maximum slammage and some surprising mods including a ’59 Impala dash.
Aussie artist Warren ‘Woz’ Rigby awarded a trophy on behalf of the Beatniks to this ’35 Plymouth from the Killers CC.
Max Grundy chose this Chev pick-up for his trophy. We loved the subtle pinstriping.
Yoshiyuki Hatano and the Shinpu Custom Factory crew had two HSV Maloos on display! This one was LSA-powered.
Bikes are a massive part of the Mooneyes Yokohama experience. This year’s focus was on Harley Sportsters.
The Japanese take the art of show car displays to a new level! Even a relatively simple display like this one from Valley Auto has that extra touch of care in the design.
The custom paint and signwriting on display was just mind-blowing.
There are also some cool bands in action at the Mooneyes show; here we have the Minnesota Voodoo Men.