EVENTS: Mooneyes Open House, Mitsubishi Owners’ Day, SpoCom 2013 — Attend All the Shows!


Life is soooo hard in SoCal. Gorgeous women dress too scantily, it’s hard to decide between beautiful roads in the mountains and beautiful roads by the coast, and it barely ever rains. And then we have the horrible inconvenience of too many car shows.

That was our dilemma one warm Saturday when we found ourselves confronted with the Mooneyes Open House, Mitsubishi Owners’ Day, and SpoCom. Right. Fire up the Cressy.

101657_Mooneyes Open House

Our first stop was Santa Fe Springs and the historic Mooneyes shop. This area southeast of Los Angeles proper was once the epicenter of hot rod culture, when returning World War II aircraft engineers used skills learned in the military to tinker with leftover Ford V8s.


Once a year the doors open to the legendary place where Dean Moon first spun his moon disc wheel covers and Carroll Shelby built his first 427 Cobra. The speed shop itself has only a small patch of concrete for parking and grilling, so for a brief moment Norwalk Boulevard looks like a scene from American Graffiti.


Nowadays, a handful of Japanese machines have been welcomed into the fold. We spotted a few Toyota Hiluxes and a couple of bosozoku-style A60 Celicas but the cleanest one was this cherry Datsun 720 pickup.


We saw this tiki-themed Subaru Sambar pickup trundling down the 605 on the way to the show. It actually moved at a quick clip considering its 360cc kei motor put out something like 20 horsepower when new. Still, 55 mph is rather daunting when Cali’s death wish imbued drivers are whipping past at 80. Glad to see he made it.

101136_Mooneyes Open House

In a few weeks the Mooneyes crew will be taking this dragster to the Bonneville Salt Flats, where Chico Kodama will attempt another land speed record.

105828_Mooneyes Open House

The best part about the show? The fact that so many facets of automotive culture are covered. You’ve got everything from hot rods to lead sleds to lowriders to muscle cars to 70s shagwagon vans. Also, Chico is a pyro and cooks up one mean barbecue.

120725_Mitsubishi-Lancer EvoX Pikes Peak

Next it was a short blast down to Cypress, home of the glass fortress that is Mitsubishi Motors‘ North American headquarters. In years past, the triple diamond clan brought out classics like the FTO or Starion Group B rally car, but this year the featured vehicles were the Evo X and Outlander safety cars from the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

115944_Mitsubishi-Lancer Evo4

The rest of the show consisted of about 300 LanEvos, generations VII through X, lined up like imperial stormtroopers. In a sea of huge spoilers, we almost missed this imported Evo IV and its bonkers, factory foglight-integrated front fascia.

121756_Mitsubishi-Delica Van

There weren’t many classics to speak of, but an army green Delica did stand out from the crowd. This bad box would look perfect lowered on some 14-inch Sigma steelies (coated black, of course).


Out on the grassy knoll were more rows of Evo overload, but a lone turbo Mirage was a wonderfully clean example of a car utterly forgotten by most of the world. If memory serves us correctly, the Japanese version of this top-spec, 140-hp demon was called the Mirage Cyborg. You can’t get much cooler than that.

121950_Mitsubishi-Lancer Dodge Colt

Just as we were about to give up on seeing anything truly nostalgic, we found a 1977 Dodge Colt tucked away in a corner. Appropriately, this first-gen Mitsubishi Lancer was decked out in rally guise with a set of Hella foglights and black Wats. And just in case the legions of snapback-wearing Evo owners with $30,000 worth of mods weren’t aware, its license plate let them know who the original King of Cars was.


With that, it was time to bounce, but not before grabbing a free MOD shirt. We’ve always wanted a wearable Galant GTO.


Two shows down, one more to go. A quick jaunt down I-5 later we were at the Anaheim Convention Center and SpoCom. It’s appropriate that Disneyland was next door, because the show is like a Fast & Furious theme park. It’s got everything you hope people aren’t thinking about you when you tell them you like Japanese cars: loud music made by computers not instruments, girls wearing less fabric than Magic Mike, and retina-burning paint jobs on what were at one time nice cars.

Once in a while though, it is possible to find a reward for enduring the sensory assault, like a race-ready Mazda RX-3.

9645_Nissan-kenmeri Skyline C110

Likewise, Team Hybrid‘s KGC110 Skyline was a pleasant surprise. With racing stripes down its flanks and a set of Hella driving lights, it looks ready for the track. We want to see an all-out kenmeri circuit monster.

9629_Honda-Civic EF

We’ve always liked EA Civics, and in recent years the Kanjo Racer style has really taken off. Pioneered by Japanese tuning house Car Craft Boon, the look takes big-greenhouse Civic hatchbacks and turns them into zippy traffic carvers on Osaka’s Kanjo Loop. A set of properly rare Mugen rims like the MF-10L have always been part of the look, but large rear wings seem to be a growing trend.

9635_Toyota-Crown S50

One of my personal favorites at the show was a gangster black MS50 Toyota Crown sitting on 5-lug Enkei 92s. There’s only one teeny problem with this build: that black was sprayed over this gorgeous, original-paint Crown. As we learned from Reservoir Dogs, if you let people choose, everyone wants to be Mr. Black. Sure it looks cool, but being Mr. Original is a claim far fewer can make.

9641_Toyota-Crown S50

And with that, it was time to pile back in the ol’ Cressida wagon and head back up the 5 to LA. Turns out, there were several more shows we completely missed that day, including a Z Car cruise, another hot rod show, and the original Cars & Coffee in Irvine. Man, it’s tough out here in SoCal.

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25 Responses to EVENTS: Mooneyes Open House, Mitsubishi Owners’ Day, SpoCom 2013 — Attend All the Shows!

  1. Nigel says:

    Sounds like finding things to do in in So Cal are quite difficult.

  2. Big Mike Muniz says:

    My Rotary powered race prep’d 73 TE27 was next to that RX-3…I guess my car was not good enough to be in the shot…ouch…

    • Ben says:

      Mike, it’s not always about the car. Sometimes it’s cause there is no clear shot or whatever. Also, having your hood up turns off a lot of photographers because you can’t see the rest of the car. Sometimes we get a shot, but then when we come back to the office we realize there was something wrong with it. Many factors.

  3. invinciblejets says:

    Gosh so cal sounds horrible! Lol

    Surprised no starions were there….

  4. Damian Solorzano says:

    Man, I was just thinking of my old ’76 Colt/Lancer a couple of days ago..Could that little car handle- I used to harass RX drivers on the road to Point Reyes with it…

  5. dickie says:

    That is too bad about the crown… the original color was pretty beautiful. Maybe it’s a cheap Maaco or Scheib job and it will come right off with a hose and a little pressure.

  6. Dax says:

    What about the other 2 classic mitsus at the MOD? The Celeste and the71 galant? Any pics of them?

    • Ben says:

      Same issue as I commented above. Hoods popped and parked in a weird spot… I took pics but they didn’t come out well. Being under trees really sucks because the shadows cast on the car by branches and leaves makes them really hard to photograph.

      • Pete240z says:

        I took 500+ pictures at the 2010 JCCS. I agree as I ended up with 25 excellent ones and the shadows and trees and people throw a wrench into the outcome.

  7. Ryan says:

    It was never my intension to keep it original aside from the interior.. I knew when i got it that I was not gonna run that original light blue color 🙁 I mean with the air ride and house of colors jet black It’s obvious. If you’ve seen my FD you’d know nothing’s original with that. To me i think stock is boring..but that’s me…I always envision my cars to look certain way .. My way.
    thank you for the nice comments and I know it’s not possible to please everybody.

  8. Dax says:

    I have pictures but I’m having trouble uploading them to the forum,please help.

  9. Aaron says:

    “Like a f&f theme park …everything you hope people aren’t thinking about you when you tell them you like Japanese cars”

    That’s t-shirt material

  10. Andre says:

    “…in recent years the Kanjo Racer style has really taken off. Pioneered by Japanese tuning house Car Craft Boon, the look takes big-greenhouse Civic hatchbacks and turns them into zippy traffic carvers on Osaka’s Kanjo Loop.”

    Do you guys even know what kanjo racing is and about? Kanjo racing has been around since the early ’80s, if not earlier. Car Craft Boon is only cashing in on the kanjo racer look.

    • Dan says:

      We are talking about US shows and events, where kanjo style is a recent phenomenon. We know it’s been around in Japan for a long time.

  11. pstar says:

    Ugh please don’t turn this site into speedhunters with the glorification of retardedly lame mooneyes crap.

    And as a footnote, no wonder a bunch of starving peasants inspired by Stalin were able to beat the entire US-led UN army into stalemate submission in Korea… the quality of what soldiers “learned” about engines and car mods is noob. It’s just really tastless, ugly, and useless.

    Just wait until 30 years from now when some moron glorifies how cool beater juggalo EF civics sedans are. with missing hoods and autozone steering wheel covers and rusted out mufflers. Because thats what all these dimwits were doing with the old dirty cheap, poorly put together “hot rods” from back in the 50s. Like that trash in the 2nd picture. The car in the 3rd picture is more like a 1950s version of Brian Earl Spilner’s eclipse. Except more clownish.

    Mooneyes is for fatlacing bandwagon rider.

  12. Lukas says:

    I only came here because of the nice lady on picture 1, haha!

  13. Tyler says:

    Sure that Civic isn’t a third gen?

    Also, would like moar of:
    -The lady up top
    -The ’59 F100

    LOL, a few gems here but I think the first post kind of (pardon the pun) eclipsed everything else.

  14. Dave says:

    This is really weird, but that Mirage Cyborg is the car that lingers in my head after reading the whole post…

  15. Gian says:

    You’re right about Cali drivers. i had to ditch my Corolla in favor of a bigger Toyota just to stay safe

  16. Kevin says:

    Great shots! Do you have more photos or a larger one of the red RX-3? So nice.

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