We were back at the 23rd Annual Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show on the 7th December 2014. The show took place at Pacifico Yokohama exhibition hall and it has shown that the event grew each year.
The tradition keeps going on to host the event on every first Sunday of December. This year, Art of Speed brought 19 cool gear heads including from Malaysia, Indonesia and China!
This year similar like last year, we created an affordable package with the help of MOONEYES and also The Nash from Burnout magazine. We managed a 5 nights stay in Yokohama. This also includes garage visits in Tokyo and also in Yokohama.
On the first day we arrived in the land of the rising sun, we had mind blowing garage visits around Tokyo. First stop was Bratstyle located at Akabanekita Kitaku in Tokyo. The ever-friendly owner, Go Takamine, welcomed us and showed us around. We were really impressed by the immaculate workshop where his team was doing some final touches and detailing on the bikes for the custom show.
Next stop was Sundance, a Harley-Davidson specialist in Tokyo. Unfortunately, the owner Take ‘Zak’ Shibazaki was not around but we were greeted by his crews and showed us around at his shop. Sundance is famous for engine work & we saw a lot of modifications done along with killer customization.
We also stopped by at Bad Land, a workshop which also specializes in Harley-Davidsons. We met with Keiichi Kuwai, the owner and he was very generous showing us around and explaining his business and some of the work-in-progress in his shop. His team consisted of his own brother and few others helping in the workshop managing customization works for mostly modern H-D models like V-rod. Keiichi-san then brought all of us to his other storage area about 3 minutes away from his workshop and Wow-ed us with his latest work-in-progress, a Night Rod Harley-Davidson ready to be handed over to its owner. The bike was at his photography studio area and he invited all of us for a group photo! That was very generous of him. He then posted the group photo on his Facebook FanPage and garnered about 2,400+ likes and 33 Facebook users shared the picture within 24 hours! We were really honoured!
Last garage visit for all of us was Blues Mobile Speed Shop owned by Takeshi Watanabe located at Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama. It was about 3 pm and it started to drizzle a bit. This workshop is located uphill and the bus driver parked our bus at a small alley. We took a very nice walk up to his workshop. The view was very nice. We saw organic farm by the hillside and very surprised that there is a hidden barn with all American cars stored outside & inside Blues Mobile Speed Shop. Takeshi-san was really surprised with our visit and welcomed us. His team was also finishing a 3rd generation Ford Thunderbird for the Hot Rod Custom Show. The team had two more days to finish the car! We also took a walk near his shop and saw lot more American cars parked over there. Such a perfect view in nice weather.
We arrived at the hotel at Sakuragi-cho in Yokohama area at about 5.30pm. The hotel was highly recommended by our dear friend, Nash from Burnout Magazine. He was there ready waiting for us to assist us to check-in.
Friday, we took everyone out and showed them the train stations, how to buy the tickets and what not. A trip to Shibuya and doing the “Wefies” (group selfie with our cameras) at Shibuya crossing then some of us split up and had some free and easy time. There were so many interesting shops along the main roads and it was a wonderful time getting ‘lost’ in Tokyo!
On Saturday morning, our crew and myself headed out to Pacifico Hall and met up with Joop, our buddy from Singapore. He is a leather artist and we shared a table in the Rat Island at the show with him. Joop is a close friend and this year, Joop is back to the show for his 3rd time. We started setting up our table and made sure everything was ready for the big show on Sunday.
We met Shige Suganuma, the owner of Mooneyes and his team briefly. As usual, the MOONEYES team is very professional and this year MOONEYES had set up a Blue Panic Security Team to supervise the “Shizukani” campaign at the venue. “Shizukani” (Shizuka is quiet in Japanese) or “Be Calm, Not Loud” campaign launched by MOONEYES since early 2014 worldwide to activate a calm surrounding at the event venue. The aim is to control the noise pollution from all visitors coming & keeping noise level to a minimum. That Saturday night, we attended the ‘Little Get Together Party’ hosted by the show at the hall and then went to Dice Magazine Party in Yokohama. More than 700 international guests attended the party that night and it was awesome!
The big day had come and the show itself took place at Pacifico Yokohama exhibition hall on Sunday December 7. In support of the “Shizukani” campaign, no motorcycles parking are provided this year. It is a big change compared to previous years because as visitors, we always considered the parking lot as the hidden show in itself where you can view all the hidden gems of Japan parked at the basement parking. It didn’t stop the show-goers as the event this year recorded 15,000 people in attendance including more than 800 visitors from all over 25 countries such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom and USA.
The show started early at 9am but due to heavy line-up in front of the show entrance, the organizer opened up the gate 30 minutes earlier! Starting off the show is their official ride-in and they featured last year’s show winners. HCS2013 Best of Show Automobile; Ace Automotive 1960 Buick Invicta and HCS2013 Best of Show Motorcycle; Cherry’s Company 1967 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead. If you remember, Art of Speed Malaysia also picked the same bike as our choice. It was great seeing Kaichiroh-san and the bike look the same after 12 months! Both vehicles rode through the ride-in alley and got all the event spectators excited and flashes of camera started snapping pictures.
Then, the show’s international guests started to ride in too. First was Galpin Auto Sports with their 1934 Ford Coupe “Iron Orchid”. Gene Winfield’s infamous 1962 Ford Econoline Pickup “Pacifica” then made its way down the center isle. Next was Walden Speed Shop 1932 Ford Coupe.
Next were the motorcycle guests with Kiyo’s Garage and his 1970 Honda CB750 KO “Cherry Blossom” followed by Duane Ballard of DB Custom Leather and his 1981 KZ1000 “Kosmosaki”.
Then, it was the top bikes from the Born Free 6 show held in California (June 2014). Leading the way was Kosuke Saito from Sunrise Cycles LA with his 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead “Hill Billy” which one the Invited Builder’s Choice Award at Born Free 6. Followed by Brent Rogers and his 1946 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead that won Best in Show at Born Free 6. The bikes were immaculate and clean.
Next was Oliver Jones of The Cut Rate. He was also an invited builder at Born Free 6 with this killer 1977 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead.
Kutty Noteboom of Hippy Killer Garage built an amazing trike named “The High Priestess” for his wife Jamie. It’s a 1960 Harley-Davidson Flathead Servicar. Jamie took the honours of handling the ride-in. The crowd got more excited.
Last but certainly not least was Paul Wideman and his 1940 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead “Jane Doe”. This bike was the MOONEYES’s Pick at the Brooklyn Invitational Motorcycle Show.
A tradition after the ride-in is completed; each guest stands on the small stage and greeted the audience and media. Afterwards, all the bikes and cars are moved into place and the show officially kicked into gear.
The show recorded 300 show cars, 650 show bikes, 30 collectivities alley, 50 Pinstripe artistes, 40 scale models/pedal cars, 80 entries for Custom Paint Contest with theme “Sign of the Times”, 95 awards for winners and 270 vendor booths!
Live music from Japanese rockabilly bands kept the crowds entertained all day.
As 2014 marked the 25th year anniversary for Hiro “Wildman” Ishii or better known as Wildman, the legendary Japanese pintripe artist, MOONEYES dedicated a special section to commemorate his anniversary next to the Rat island featuring an art gallery with contributing artists from Japan and overseas.
This year the Custom Paint Contest focused on Wall Clocks with the theme “Sign of the Times”. Our friend, Joop also entered this contest with his signature “coffin” design wall clock with his catch-phrase “Never Forget God”.
The show also had a few spotlights and highlights for all show vehicles. This year, the show featured The Digger Beat spotlight for motorcycles. The spotlight featured two of the guest bikes (Duane Ballard’s Kawasaki and Kiyo’s Honda) as they were fine variations of diggers. There isn’t really a defined example as most owners have their own interpretation and it also depends on what generation that one like and where it is from. From there, the show collected a few entries that entered the The Digger Beat and it was a great example to show to the spectators.
For cars, it was The Enchanted World of Color spotlight featuring cars and also bikes with focus on paint presentation. There was also the Crown Classics highlight to mark the 25th anniversary of the brand.
The Rat Island has also grown into a worldwide and international area where cars, bikes and international artists and friends came to hang out at the area. The perimeter of the island is fenced off with tables featuring return guests and new faces too. The cars and bikes were popular too as they are sitting among the crowd. Art of Speed Malaysia and Joop from Singapore were here inside the Rat Island making network and new friends.
Cherry’s Company with their 1975 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead won this year’s Best of Show in Motorcycle category again but no winner for Automobile category as the organizing team could not determine a decision. Better luck next year!
Art of Speed Malaysia’s Pick goes to Heiwa Motorcycle with their bike a 1958 Triumph TR-6 own by Kimura Kengo from Hiroshima. The company also won the Best European Motorcycle Award at HCS2014.
Asep Ahmad from Art of Speed said in his congratulatory notes to Heiwa Motorcycle; “Triumph Motorcycles have had a long history in Malaysia but mostly in restored form, it is amazing to see a custom built Triumph that looks better than factory, looking fast while standing still!”
The show organizer had the Blue Panic Security Team on standby mode all day outside to supervise the traffic and also to minimize the noise pollution from the incoming visitors. A true dedication shown here because all of them were outside in the cold! We saw efficiency and true obligation from both team and also the visitors. One biker was seen pushing his bike to a dedicated parking spot after being told to switch off his bike. Some were seen walking with their helmets and bags heading to the hall after they found a nearby parking spot.
After the prize giving ceremony, Shige-san announced to everybody that the “Shizukani” campaign was a success and informed everyone to be calm and wait for his official announcement on HCS2015 venue location.
“I am very happy and very thankful to everyone who supported and came to the show with respect. Let’s save the show and we hope to come back to this venue in 2015!” Shige Suganuma said in his speech.
From his tone of voice, we know that it is positive and very thankful to know that the event is saved and we will come again for sure!
Congratulations again to all winners of the Hot Rod and Custom Show 2014! The show is definitely not an event to be missed and you can also check out their website http://yokohamahotrodcustomshow.com/hcs2014_report/ which is in English to know more about the event. The MOONEYES official website had also announced the next event date is Sunday December 6 2015 at Pacifico Yokohama convention hall.
We also hope to see you at Art of Speed Malaysia event on 6 & 7 June 2015! More info will be updated at www.artofspeedmy.com.
Words & Photos: AOSMY