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MOONEYES Staff "Pan" Sumi's USA Trip Report

It's been a long time since I wrote a report. I'm MOON Space Agency "Pan" Sumi. I haven't had the chance to write a trip report in a long time so I am a bit nervous. Hope you enjoy my photos and report.

Earlier this year in May I did some traveling for work. It started from Shizuoka Link (event). I drove my 1961 Ford Falcon Delivery about 3 hours to this event. Then I drove to another event with Shige-san in my car to Suzuka SCN. That was a long drive. During this period I also traveled down south to Kansai area of Japan and Kyushu (southern island of Japan) for more events. There have been events almost every weekend and I have been trying to make it to all of them whether it's a car show or motorcycle show. The event in Kyushu was FTW and I traveled with Kid Rocker. We stopped at many shops along the way. It was difficult but it was also very fun at the same time. These events were all in Japan
This time around, I had the opportunity to travel abroad to USA. The main target of this trip was during Father's Day weekend and there was a lot going on in Los Angeles. This is where my USA Trip Report is focused.

On the way from Japan to California, the plane I was traveling on was overbooked. This turned out good for me because I was bumped from my economy seat to Premium Economy. That was nice. Once I arrived in LAX I took a taxi from the airport to MOONEYES USA in Santa Fe Springs.

I met Shige-san at the shop in Santa Fe Springs. Immediately after arriving, we headed to Pomona. In Pomona, it was the 18th SO-CAL Speed Shop Open House. There were so many high quality hot rods and custom cars, it took my breath away.

In front of the shop, with the police guiding the way, half the area was parking and the other half as well as inside the building was filled with previously built hot rods and customer cars. There were special guest cars and vintage drag racers too with a Cacklefest as well.
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Ohhh my, how cool!! Personally, this was right in my stike zone... Gene Winfield built "PACIFICA" is a 1962 Ford Falcon (Econoline) pickup truck. I'm sure most of you are familiar with Gene Winfield. He built one in the '60s just like it and tried to relocate the original to get it back. Unfortunately, the car could not be found. So, he decided to remake his original with some added touches and the finished custom is amazing. It's so amazing that it has been invited to the 23rd Annual Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show 2014 as a guest car! I'm so excited! He is a living legend and we are proud that he will be a guest at our show this year.

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I just realized that the tire and wheels on the PACIFICA look very familiar! Take a look at my Falcon "Pantastic" tire and wheels. OK, really, please squint your eyes and compare the two photos below. If that's not looking the same, I don't know what is... I mean who would have thought two '60s Fords, customized, sitting low on bags etc. both with exact same tire and wheel selection.
I'm so stoked about this!
Sorry to jump off topic just then. I couldn't resist myself.

After the SO-CAL Speed Shop Open House finished, Walden's Speed Shop had their Open House. They are located close to the SO-CAL Speed Shop and their open house doesn't not start until the afternoon. It was packed with people and there were a ton of cars. Walden's Speed Shop started in 2005. They work on a lot of hot rods, doing metal work and restoring original bodies etc. They also carry Brookville bodies.
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Saturday morning we headed to the 50th Annual LA Roadsters Show & Swap, which is also held in Pomona. It was my first time going to this event. I was thinking it would be the same as the Grand National Roadster Show, which I have been to before. So I had Kid Rocker explain it to me

The event that you are going to is nothing like GNRS. It's a car show & swap meet with entry regulations. Mainly being a roadster and dating before 1936. It's not limited to just within USA but anyone can enter from anywhere in the world.

It's the one place that hot rodders know, if they are looking for something that is pre 1936, most likely it can be found here. Plus the event has history and hot rodders of many generations come from all around to talk and share stories.

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That’s when I hear Shige-san, “Alright! Let’s go!” It was time to head into the swap meet area and see what they had. Kasai-san from Deuce Factory comes to this event every year. Just went we start walking around, we see Kasai-san. He joins up with us and we continue to walk around. The swap meet area us huge! I couldn’t believe it. As we were walking I realized I saw this before. Yes! There was an old photo with Shige-san, Kasai-san and Dean MOON at the LA Roadsters Show from about 30 years ago. Somehow that's when I started to realize I was standing in this same world as them. It was a strange feeling. I guess in about thirty years from now... Shige-san and Kasai-san had already moved on looking onto something else. I heard Shige-san say, "Over here, this tool box is cheap." Oh, cheap... I like that... but there are still more things to look at and maybe there will be a better Tool Box for sale from another seller. But it was cheap and it was the tall type... but there's still more to see and I can't imagine pulling this around all day. But I think I'll buy it then I was nervous. Then I thought, "I'll just come back later."

Left to Right: Dean MOON Shige-san and Kasai-san at Pomona Swap Meet in 1986
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While rushing along through the isles I remembered back in Japan that MOONEYES Staff Tajima was looking for parts for his car. He owns a 1954 Chevy and wanted to locate a front visor. I remembered this because I found a seller with Chevy visors! First I would just check prices, then make my way around to see the rest of the sellers. Before that, I went back to the tool box seller I saw earlier. As I approached the seller, I noticed a space where the tool box was. Wait a minute! I think this is the place. Maybe it was somewhere else. I check my camera. I took photos of this seller and sure enough I was in the right place. The tool box was gone! I wanted to ask "Who took my tool box?" But it wasn't mine to begin with. As I walk down a little bit more I saw another tool box. It was smaller and more portable than the other one but it still had the same characteristics as the larger one. I can keep this in my car too. I promptly purchased it. It was a happy moment for me. While I was there I saw a familiar face and then realized it was Tim Sutton the famous photographer. The people that can take pictures that move the emotions of other people is something that I really respect. Last year I saw him but this time it was just a matter of chance. After that, I headed back to the seller with the visors and picked up the one Tajima was looking for.

It's really interesting to see this many roadsters together in one place. All of them, Then one after another offered something to keep me interested. There were so many car to see that two days would not be enough time to see them all. This year Kid Rocker (Matsui) became part of MOON Space Agency. To be honest, I don't know a ton about cars and bikes... but having him around has helped me with learning new things but I did notice that there were a lot of hot rods with updated radial tire at the show. There's a lot of history with this event. 50 years is a long time. That means that during the first event they held, someone that was 30 years old then is now 80 years old today.
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On Monday over at MOONEYES USA, work on the 2015 MOONEYES Catalog was getting starting. Yes, that's correct. MOONEYES USA's catalog and made by us at MOON Space Agency. Mostly all done from Japan. There isn't much chance for us to be in the USA and a lot of the product sold in the MOONEYES USA catalog are not available in Japan. Everything is different. The prices are different, the size (metric vs. standard) etc. It's a whole different animal. Today I tool photos for the cover and photos for the clothing portion of the catalog with a model. Ever since I became part of MOON Space Agency, the most attractive part of this job is getting the chance to take all kinds of photos. Photos of cars and motorcycles are one thing, shooting the food at MOON Cafe for the menu is another. Even taking photos of models is part of MOON Space Agency. Each one has their own difficulties. I enjoy the challenge and when ever the opportunity comes up and will always take that chance. Here are just a few cuts for the catalog that might be used...

Tuesday. Today we went to visit Kiyo's Garage to see the 1970 Honda CB750 K0 "Cherry Blossom" which was built by Kiyo. It is a guest motorcycle that will come to HCS2014 this year. For the most part, just about every time I have come on to USA for work, I have stopped and visited with Kiyo. I'll never forget my first visit to USA for work in 2008 when I made a visit to Garage Company and seeing Kiyo busy working on a CB. Or the time I was taking photos at Bonneville in 2012 and Kiyo rode his HD Knuckle there on his own and we met up... and so I was so happy for him when I heard that his motorcycle was going to be a guest this year. Last year in March, MOONEYES Staff Murakami and I visited him. Kiyo said, "This is the next bike I plan on building..." It was a basket case with the complete bike in pieces and parts. I was last year in June at Born Free when it debuted as "Cherry Blossom". I was part of his marriage ceremony too last year at Born Free when in front of "Cherry Blossom" he tied the knot with his wife. Now the bike and Kiyo will come to Japan for HCS2014 as a guest. I'm so happy.

During this visit, it was the first time I was able to hear and see "Cherry Blossom" in action. The turbo is really amazing. It passed by so fast I could only laugh. On Sunday December 7, 2014 at Pacifico Yokohama, the 23rd Annual Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show 2014 will feature amazing cars and bikes. It is going to be a great show this year! Please don't forget to mark your calendar. You won't want to miss Kiyo's ride it on the "Cherry Blossom".

Then on Tuesday it was time for me to return to Japan. After I finished up doing the rest of the product photos for the USA Catalog it was time to head to the airport! This trip was full of excitement and all the way until the very end I had a wonderful time!! The history is different but I think America is such a cool place and there's so much. However, for the next month and a half there will be so many events taking place in Japan that even Japan has its good times and many things to see and do. So no matter where you are, do what you can to enjoy and have fun. If someday HCS continues and makes it to 50 years like the LA Roadster Show, I wonder how old I'll be. In my 60s I guess. I wonder if I'll be able to see the entire show in one day with all the cars and bikes on display? I hope I have a chance to make a report again and hope to see you all again! Thank you very much for reading to the very end!!

by Shige Suganuma
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