visitors on the rise of hot rodding’s most iconic performance equipment company, much on display for the first time. The exhibit provides insight into the life of Dean Moon, Moon Equipment Co. and the worldwide attention Mooneyes continues to gain thanks to new guardians Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama.
“The Museum is delighted to be hosting this exhibit in honor of hot rod pioneer Dean Moon and Mooneyes carried by its current custodians Shige and Chico,” said Museum Director Tony Thacker. “Since I was a kid growing up in England, I was instantly drawn to Mooneyes for their innovations and of course, those funky leering eyes and I’m sure there will be more fans drawn in to this exhibit by this eye-con.”
Dean Moon’s introduction to hot rodding came at a young age and flourished when the family moved to Southern California. Dean started working on the oil rigs surrounding Pop Moon’s Café in Norwalk, Calif. Dean, older brother Buzz and members of the “Hutters” car club built numerous primitive hot rods behind Pop Moon’s Café. His first successful car, a chopped Deuce sedan raced at the lakes and Santa Ana drags, it set a Rusetta Timing Association record at 141 mph in 1950 and was featured on the cover of the Dec. ’51 issue of Hop Up magazine.
Ever creative, Dean invented a string of products starting with a fuel block which he crafted from billet aluminum in high school shop before sand casting the production version. The famous Moon discs found their way onto everything from lakes and drag cars to Denny Hulme’s ’67 Indy car to, well, the NASA Moon buggy. They can still be found on almost every land speed race car there is. Dean was instrumental in the founding of SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association and served as an original board member and past president.
After Dean’s passing in the 80s, Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama stepped up to save the iconic brand. Mooneyes was reborn in August 1992 in the same location Dean opened in 1957 in Santa Fe Springs, CA. The exhibit will be on display through January, 2013.
For more information about this and other events at the Parks Museum visit the web site at http://museum.nhra.com or call 909.622.2133. To learn more about Mooneyes go to www.mooneyes.com .. Thanks to Shige & Chico for a great evening remembering Dean Moon …. NJoy the pics GO with MQQN !!!