The late great Dean Moon was a character and three-quarters. Truly one of the early high priests of hot rodding, besides being a dragstrip and Bonneville racer, Moon was a sharp-eyed photographer, and major producer of hot rod and racing parts. His famous “Moon Eyes” logo is ubiquitous in car culture, and people put this sticker on their bikes, cars, refrigerators, beer kegs — you name it, even if they don’t totally understand what “Moon Equipped” is really all about. Dean is no longer with us (passing away in 1987), yet his brand and company live on, still housed in their original home shop and showroom location in Sante Fe Springs, California. Here’s a brief description of the undertaking: For 30 years, Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama, two Japanese/Japanese American hot rodders, helped save Moon Equipment Company, an iconic American speed parts company, rebrand it as Mooneyes, preserve legendary founder Dean Moon’s legacy, and popularize hot rod culture in Asia. As Asian/Asian American pioneers in their industry, they battled against racism and xenophobia and ultimately created a global following. Now, Shige is attempting to grow hot rod culture despite declining interest in hot rods, and Chico is handcrafting a new race car to try to break a second land speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats.
A few years ago, a group of young film makers, under the banner of Humanist Films, led by producer/director Ming Lai, set sail to document and tell the original Moon story, plus bring it up to date under its current ownership and activities. The just completed film is entitled Craft of Speed, and a partial version of it will be screened on-line at https://www.craftofspeed.com/newsarchive/craft-of-speed-is-now-completed . This early bird screening will take place Monday, November 13, 2023. Or if you miss that, you can see the original trailer here: Craft of Speed / Ming Lai | Automoto MASTER (automotoentertainment.com)
It was my particular privilege to contribute some information, background, and voice over to this film, and any certified hot rodder, racer, car fool, or just general lover of SoCal pop culture will love it. Stay tuned for wider film release and distribution information at craftofspeed.com
Please click on any image to see it full screen in hi-res