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Stellar car and bike culture event

Words : MizzDeni and MOONEYES

Picture credits : MizzDeni and MOON of Japan Inc.

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So, its been a tradition for avid gearheads to make yearly trips to Yokohama, the seaside town of Japan every December and visit the world’s best custom car and bike show. This year, Art of Speed brought 14 cool gear heads including from Malaysia and Australia!

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This year similar as yesteryears, 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 included garage visits in Tokyo.

On the first day we arrived in the land of the rising sun, we enjoyed mind blowing garage visits around Tokyo.

First stop was Ricoland located at Tokyo Shinonome. This place is heaven for motorcycle junkies as it is a hypermarket of auto gears, parts and accessories. Myriad of helmet brands to jackets, shoes, LED lamps to accessories for motorcycles. A couple of guys from our group actually made a return trip to this shop on their last day in Japan for last minute shopping. Next to Ricoland is Super Autobacs which is a paradise for car enthusiasts.

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Second stop was Bratstyle located at Akabanekita Kitaku in Tokyo. The ever-friendly owner, Go Takamine and his beautiful wife, Masumi welcomed us and showed us around. We were really impressed by the immaculate workshop where his team was doing some final touches and detailing for their display booth for the custom show. The show & shine bike seems super ready for the show at that time. Some of the boys managed to buy some handmade bike parts as Masumi informed us that they only bring merchandise to the show. It was a well worth shopping time at Bratstyle shop that day.

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Next stop was Sundance, a Harley-Davidson specialist in Tokyo. The owner Take ‘Zak’ Shibazaki was available at the shop during that visit. He was showing all of us around and his latest build. Unfortunately, Sundance is not participating in the Hot Rod Custom Show 2015 as the shop is always busy and has lots of customers bike to finish up. Sundance is famous for engine work & we saw a lot of modifications done along with killer customization. We spent quite some time here as Zak-san explained at length the innovation & products they have created.

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After Sundance, some of the boys were eyeing a motorcycle shop selling old pre unit Triumph and other British bikes nearby. We quickly walked and spent about 30 minutes at the bike shop snapping pictures and made mental note on the bike pricing in Yen to USD and Ringgit.

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Last garage visit for all of us was Cherry’s Company located at Nerima-ku in Tokyo. We made prior arrangements with the owner, Kaichiroh Kurosu for this visit, as we know that he has tight deadlines to finish up the Street 750 Harley-Davidson for the bike build-off for the show in another 3 days. Kaichiroh-san has more than 20 years experience in bike customizing industry and had won many accolades for his works. In 2013, Art of Speed had picked his 1967 H-D Shovelhead for Art of Speed Malaysia’s Pick and the same bike also won the event overall Best in Show Motorcycle category for Hot Rod Custom Show 2013. On that visit day, Kaichiroh-san was really busy detailing final touches on the Street 750 H-D. His works were really immaculate and his signature look is always the creative molding works and edgy custom design. At the same time he was also preparing his 1948 Harley-Davidson Panhead for the show. The bike is done and covered at the shop now. Just waiting to be delivered to the show in 3 more days. Cherry’s Company also does customization and restoration for bicycles on its first floor building.

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As daylight hour in Japan is short and traffic will slowly congregate to massive jams, we headed to our hotel in Yokohama and enjoyed sight seeing from the chartered bus.

We arrived at the hotel at Bashamichi 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 for check-in.

On Friday, it was merely a free and easy day for all of us and we took trains and just having fun time getting lost in Tokyo discovering places.

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 4th 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, there was a little party for all the international guests hosted by the show at the main hall on Saturday night.

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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. The MOONEYES team also had introduced the “SAVE THE YOKOHAMA HOT ROD CUSTOM SHOW” campaign to keep the outside noise down.

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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! For many show spectators that were inside the hall, they might not realized this scenario outside. The “Shizukani” campaign managed by the Blue Panic Security Team had garnered a successful support and cooperation from everyone from all perimeters of the event area.

It didn’t stop the show-goers as the event this year recorded 15,000 people in attendance including more than 1,500 visitors from all over 25 countries such as Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and others.

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The show started early at 8am this year. Starting off the show is their official ride-in and they featured last year’s show winners. HCS2014 Best of Show Motorcycle; Cherry’s Company 1975 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead made his way down the center isle and then all the HCS2015 Official Guests begin to come in starting with the three guest cars.

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HCS2015 Show Guest Car: John D’Agostino – 1968 Buick Riviera “PANTHEON”

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HCS2015 Show Guest Car: Tom Foster – 1952 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe “CRACKER BOX”

HCS2015 Show Guest Car: Ashley Cunningham’s 1950 Ford Custom Shoebox

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Once the three cars were parked, three groups of motorcycles were set to follow.

HCS2015 Show Guest Motorcycles: (Group 1)

Ryan Grossman – 1948 H-D Panhead “QUICKSILVER”

Jason Webber – 1951 H-D Panhead “BOOGER SUGAR”

Big Scott Stopnik – 1949 H-D Panhead “CYCLE RAY”

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HCS2015 Show Guest Motorcycles: (Group 2)

Oliver Jones – 1969 H-D Shovelhead “EREBUS”

Arie VanSchyndel – 1950 H-D Panhead “VULTURES REVENGE”

Andy Carter – 2015 H-D Evo Sportster “BIG BROTHER”

HCS2015 Show Guest Motorcycles: (Group 3)

Jeff Leighton – 1950 Triumph 650 Pre-Unit “ORCRIST”

Mark Drews – 1954 H-D Panhead

Aki Sakamoto – 1968 H-D XLCH Ironhead “KAU’I”

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Last but not least, HCS2015 Show Guest: Professional Skateboarder Steve Caballero made his way down the isle on his skateboard.

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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.

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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 “Sidewalk Surfing Bonanza” using skateboard decks, 100 awards for winners and 270 vendor booths!

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Live music from Japanese rockabilly bands kept the crowds entertained all day.

As the event is coming towards their 25th anniversary, MOONEYES had started the campaign to celebrate the special milestone by introducing the 25th Anniversary Special Harley-Davidson & VANS & MOONEYES Special Collaboration on limited 6 pairs of Slip On shoes. All special pairs of VANS were pinstriped by Hiro “Wildman” Ishii, the master pinstripe artiste that specializes in Low Brow Art at the event hall. The campaign will also introduce the Sk8-Hi of VANS special collaboration with MOONEYES that will be customized over a period of one year till 2016.

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The show also had a few spotlights and highlights for all show vehicles. This year, the show featured Exotic Iron spotlight for motorcycles. Within the H-D Sporster lineage, the Ironhead engine dates from 1957-1985 and is a model that stands out on its own often overlooked by its big twin brother. There are many that have made the Ironhead their choice in bike builds and this spotlight had selected 20 most immaculate looks as their special feature highlights in the show.

H-D Street Build Off 2015 & Battle of the Kings

Harley-Davidson design team selected 5 custom shops to compete in the Street Build Off 2015 of the new H-D STREET 750. They also featured The Battle of the Kings that started with 24 dealer shops competing in a separate build off.

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For cars, it was ranges of cars from 1949-1954 Reflections & Expressions spotlight featuring American cars to target specific models and types that open for custom works, lowriders, gasser and more! There were so many possibilities for ’49-’54 makes and models and was surely be major highlight of the show.

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.

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Mr. Kubota from Out Cast with their 1961 Harley-Davidson Early-Shovel 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 Cherry’s Company with their bike a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750 from Harley-Davidson of Japan. The bike is one of the bikes that entered the H-D Street Build Off.

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Asep Ahmad from Art of Speed said in his congratulatory notes to Cherry’s Company; “Cherry’s Company have always pushed their capabilities in design without compromising performance & aesthetics hence the reason we picked his bike as Art of Speed Malaysia Pick and is honored to have Kurosu-san & his bike at our show in 2016!”                    

Congratulations again to all winners of the Hot Rod and Custom Show 2015!

We hope to see you at Art of Speed Malaysia event on 28 & 29 may 2016! More info will be updated at www.artofspeedmy.com.

Thank you!

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