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Hot Rod Custom Show, Yokohama, Japan 2023

Hot Rod Custom Show, Yokohama, Japan 2023


Don't worry, your diet resolutions for the new year are not at risk. But you simply NEED a superlative when you've SEEN Yokohama. More specifically the Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Show. The grand finale of the custom year 2023. For the 31st time. One day, and only one day crammed with everything (but Yul Brynner). Among other things they had a pre-party, called Little Get Together Party on the Saturday after setting up the show. You meet everyone there, or almost everyone. And some way or the other you know people. From old times, from Born Free, Texas Fandango, One Show, Mama Tried, or maybe from e-mail conversations, or from the logo on the jacket. You’re right in the middle of the conversation. We met Mooneyes Los Angeles, former WILD magazine guys from France, Australian builders, Bavarian neighbours from SSC, dudes from Hawaii, from Korea … the whole world (of customizing ) is there. And everyone is expectant like children before Christmas.

There’s no doubt about it: this show is a feast.

So much, so big, so multi-faceted – and sooo damn short! A single day, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Madness. It’s almost as well that people tend to no longer ride to the show; the parking lots and the underground garage were shows in themselves.

As "International Village" exhibitors we used our privilege to get in earlier to take in all the awesomeness parked here. You need big memory cards for your cameras here :)

At 8:00 am sharp the gates opened, and the extra long queues (25.000 came) started to pour into the Pacifico show centre. The first highlight for us was the ride-in show. One by one, real slow, but mighty loud they rode or drove in: the best of show vehicles of 2022, the Born Free winners and the sponsors’s bikes and cars made their way between the spectators and the photographers to their predestined parking spots. After that people fanned out between the cars and bikes and enjoyed the spectacle.

The focus in the "Spotlight" area

was on Evo engines this year, but it’s still the Knuckleheads, Pans, Shovels, and the odd Sportster that made our heart beat faster, not forgetting Japanese classics. And the great cars, the pinstriping, the scale models, and everything else that belongs to custom culture. Even the visitors joined in, cosplaying the vibe. Need we say more? OK, there was a pinup model contest, there were bands. All this for just 9 short hours! Not much time to choose the W&W Pick, which is the Harley that makes our hearts sing :) There were 20 hot contenders for our pick, but in the end we decided on Hammer Sycles’ Knucklehead Speed Bobber. A true sleeper in our eyes, outwardly humble, but with countless and invisible details such as the lightened flywheels for better throttle response, a subtly modified Hummer tank, to avoid hurting the frame, a dual carb setup with proprietary air horns, and, yes, sir! Bates Baja tyres equipped. The list goes on. Just as well that we brought a nice trophy, pinstriped by Boo, and presented in a never ending ceremony. So much good stuff, so many great bikes in Yokohama, at the Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Show, the absolute pinnacle of the custom year 2023.

Postscript 1: while we were here, we did what many did, we went and looked at Japan from the road, with many V-twin related tourist highlights along the way. More on that in this space, but later.

Postscript 2: The show in great detail here: https://yokohamahotrodcustomshow.com/mc_hcs2023/