Craft of Speed
The Story of Mooneyes
For 30 years, Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama, two Japanese/Japanese American hot rodders, helped save the iconic American speed parts manufacturer, Moon Equipment Company. By rebranding it as Mooneyes, they preserved legendary founder Dean Moon’s legacy, and popularized 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.
I was introduced to Mooneyes by my father-in-law, who used to own a ’32 Ford Roadster, in bright yellow and
equipped with Mooneyes speed parts. Later, I had the honor of meeting Chico Kodama, the President of Mooneyes USA, and I was inspired by his and Mooneyes owner Shige Suganuma’s incredible story. With their full support, my team and I are making a feature documentary about their lives and work. The film is an epic origin story of legendary Dean Moon and his worthy successors, Suganuma and Kodama. It spans from Moon’s creation of Moon Equipment Company as an iconic American speed equipment & custom accessories company to Suganuma and Kodama’s evolution of it into Mooneyes, a coveted international brand. We’re deeply honored to be able to tell this important story to inspire new generations of hot rodders.—Ming Lai, Producer / Writer / Director