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by Steve Temple  More from Author

Weathering the Storm at the 2009 Mooneyes Xmas Party


In a famous sequence from that rock ‘n roll classic, Woodstock, the mud-splattered crowds chanted “No rain! No rain! No rain!” – a fitting intro to the thundering drumbeats of Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice.” This sort of dedication to a happenin’ party also took place at the 2009 edition of the Mooneyes Xmas party Show & Drag. Okay, Carlos wasn’t ripping out the tunes, and the crowds were a tad smaller, but it was still a stylish and sizzlin’ event. Held on December 12 at the Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California, the ill-timed deluge didn’t stop the hardcore fans from attending, along with a choice selection of smokin’ sleds and rat-rod rides. Braving electrocution due to the wet conditions, bands like the Hot Rod Trio and the Dynotones still provided killer tunes throughout the day. Usually, this car/social event of the year includes some drag racing as well, but running the “Cackle Cars” obviously didn’t make any sense on the rain-slicked pavement. Even so, there was plenty to see and be seen in during the soggy setup.

For those not familiar with the history of Mooneyes, the company’s eponymous logo has become familiar sight in the world of street-rodding for more than half a century. Its creator, Dean Moon, grew up in the Forties, during the formative years of hot rodding. Like so many of that era, he was obsessed with ways to make cars go faster and look cooler. For instance, his first product was a cast aluminum fuel block created in high-school shop class. Working out of his parents little cafe in Santa Fe Springs, California, Dean went on to develop legendary items such as spun-aluminum tanks, wheel discs, and finned valve covers, all of which are still seen today on dry lake and land speed cars.
Dean built several famous racecars as well, such as Moonbeam, a Devin-bodied sports car powered by a blown Chevy V-8, and the Moon Jocko Streamliner, a rocketship for the salt-flats. Perhaps the most renowned, though, is the Mooneyes Dragmaster dragster, which can now be seen in the Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum in Florida. He was also instrumental in helping Carroll Shelby build the very first Shelby Cobra in the early Sixties.

Unfortunately, Dean passed away in 1987, but his creative and competitive spirit lives on, and is commemorated by the new owner, Shige Suganuma, at the company’s colorful Xmas party. Besides the tatted and tarty kustom-kulture girls sashaying with umbrellas overhead, the Mooneyes show also attracts some of SoCal’s most talented pinstripers. Notables such as Von Hot Rod and Jeff Styles were laying licks on everything from frenched fenders to decadent bric-a-brac. Legendary builder Gene Winfield was on hand with a few of his latest rides and even had a booth where parts were available. In addition, bikes are becoming a big part of the Mooneyes Xmas show. Business was brisk at the Mooneyes booth, but the biggest seller of the day could have been pinstriped umbrellas.

The eye-candy ran the full gamut, going from bowling pins to pin-ups. But when the hotties headed for the judges’ stage, a sudden downpour of Biblical proportions sent the showgoers running for cover. (Don’t think this was some sort of divine intervention, since it would also start to rain every time show-car owners attempted to wipe off the water.) Fortunately, Mooneyes’ Suganuma is planning a raincheck, tentatively scheduled (weather permitting) for Sunday, July 18, 2010, again at the Irwindale Speedway. Considering how popular this annual show is, he wants to show his appreciation and make it up to vendors and people who drove their cars through the storm. And next time, we expect there won’t be any need to chant, “No rain!”



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