2011 Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show
Story Ross Churchill. Photography John Churchill
Our first visit to the land of the rising sun was an eye opener from the second we landed. For a city with a population of over 12 million people, Tokyo ran surprisingly well and to order. For a country so advanced we were amped to see what was in stall for us, especially when Japan isn’t commonly known for their hot rod and custom car scene. One of Australia's air brush and pin striping pioneers; Mat Egan, met us there to see the best that Japan has to offer.
Now in its 20th year, the HRCS is truly a one of a kind event. Held in Yokohama, about an hour train ride from Tokyo became the stomping grounds for the countries largest and most respected custom car and bike show. Surprisingly the event of this size, which is typically referred to as “Yokohama Mooneyes” is only on for the 1 day and draws in excess of 20,000 people from all sides of the globe.
As we first entered we were welcomed by the guest list of international builders including Pete Chapouris from the So Cal Speed Shop, custom paint extraordinaire Gene Winfield, the Bean Bandits race team, and a lineup of US, Canadian and Australia Bikes builders. The venue was called the Pacifico, which had about 30,000 square metres of floor space split between the custom bikes and cars.
In the mix were a custom Helmet painting competition, Rat Rod Island, automotive art display and pin-strippers, a Hot Wheels exhibition, and enough trade stalls to send you broke. With the cars lined up like soldiers, we walked up and down the aisles gob smacked by the quality of work and ideas being produced out of this humble country. Lowriders, Bombs, Customs, Japanese Muscle cars, Hotrods and Ratrods, Minitrucks, Choppers and Bobbers had all congregated to celebrate the Japanese custom automotive industry.
We attended two events including the LoCal47 Lowrider Connection party with all the Japanese clubs present, and the Mooneyes after party held at their café and shop.
To say this was an experience would be an understatement, and we now look forward to the 2012 show.
The view from our hotel.
Plenty of action inside and outside the show.
Over 20,000 people attended the one day show.
Mat Egans pick at this show was this satin blue '62 Impala "Next Movie" because of it paint combination, stance and custom lights.
The hours spent on paintjobs like this are just crazy.