Mooneyes: Speed, Stillness and Power

Cars Bikes Culture

welcome to Mooneyes: the greatest creative custom show on Earth...

Mooneyes is all about colour.


Flame jobs and metal flake. Soaring make-up jobs. Glistening candy apple. Chrome polished to within an inch of its life.

It might be a careworn cliché, or you may never have heard it before. The Japanese take something – an idea, a way of being, a hobby, an aesthetic, a cultural form. And they reinterpret it, perfect it and make it better than it was in the original.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Mooneyes show.


Look at, for instance, the stunning ’67 Harley Davidson Shovelhead created by Tokyo builder Cherry’s Company (above), which won best in show again this year. (Watch this space for an interview and profile of Cherry’s next month). Look at Ace Automotive’s 1960 Buick Invicta – a long, low and slow slice of gorgeousness in diaphanous gold (below).

But it’s not only in car and bike culture and the steel itself where the Pacific’s vast expanse is metaphorically traversed. You can see this cultural exchange in the clothes people wear. You can see it in the music they listen to. You can taste it in the food that you eat. If you are a burger aficionado, for example, Tokyo is heaven-on-earth.


But Mooneyes is, of course, as much about the invitees and visitors from all over the planet as it is native practitioners of the arts of custom culture. In fact for the brief weekend that Mooneyes touches down each year, it feels as if The Pacifico hall in Yokohama is the central hub of a global diaspora of creative car and motorbike types.


“We see people here every year, even people who live and work in California, that we don’t see anywhere else,” says Dean, Editor at LA based magazine DICE. “It’s simply the best show on the planet.” DICE sponsors Mooneyes every year and host a series of killer shindigs around the event – and are well-placed to comment on a place that is increasingly at the heart of this vibrant and growing scene.

Among the stars of the American invitees at Mooneyes last year were Gene Winfield’s stunning 1962 Econoline pickup “Pacifica”, exemplifying a Barris-like California look. More traditional but equally beautiful was Walden Speed Shop’s 1932 Ford Coupe.

The whole amalgam is, for anyone serious about the creative aspects of cars and motorbikes, an essential stop on a global tour. Watch this space for more on this year’s Mooneyes!

images Mooneyes/Michael Fordham/Influx