Every time I visit a company I learn a little every time.
It doesn’t matter what they produce it’s always a learning experience.
In hot rodding circles their isn’t a more respected or recognizable company than that of the yellow eyes, Moon Equipment Co.
Founded by the late Dean Moon who grew up in Norwalk CA with his family, Dean helped run his fathers Moon Cafe and go kart track called Moonza.
Turning 20 years old in the late 1940’s and having an interest in racing meant Dean was in that same hot rodding “window” as the like of Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby.
He built and raced land speed cars at both Bonneville and El Mirage and was heavily into drag racing in the 50’s, he helped shape these sports from the beginning.
Being in Southern California and seeing a need for off the shelf speed parts Dean started his company Moon Speed Company in the late 50’s out of his father’s cafe in Norwalk.
In the early 60’s Dean Moon was producing parts for racers and outgrew his fathers cafe.
In 1962 Dean opened up the Moon Speed Equipment store at 10820 S Norwalk Blvd in Santa Fe Springs, the building I am standing in right now.
The history within these walls gave me the chills, late in 1962 in the back room of this building Carroll Shelby’s newly imported AC Coupe sat alongside a Ford V8 engine while Dean Moon prepared the tools ready for the two to come together.
In just 8 hours the car was complete and ready for testing and through the success and partnership with Ford changed motorsport forever.
Dean Moon was involved in a number of extremely important motorsport events and continued to produce speed parts that grew with the rise of Southern California’s hot rod addiction.
In 1987 Dean passed away and the company paused before being reinstated by Shige Suganuma a Japanese friend and business partner of Dean.
Shige is responsible for continuing on the tradition that Dean left and has left things very much how they have always been.
Moon employees pride themselves on doing it the same way as its always been done, the same machinery and processes still exists and its so refreshing to see.
Being traditional doesn’t mean they aren’t smart though, a lot of the smaller weld on bungs and threaded fittings are CNC cut by a nearby company and allows the guys to concentrate on filling the orders on time.
Each tank is different and most are made to order, you specify the size, the fitting placement and Moon will handle the rest.
The camshaft division at Moon is taking a little rest as the employee who ground the cams passed away and never wrote down the details needed to recreate his camshaft designs, it was all in his head.
It was a similar story throughout a lot of the racetracks and shops of Southern California, with the huge array of performance parts and technology at SEMA the flipside was the death of the handmade speed parts and knowledge that comes from these racers that were active in the 40’s 50’s and 60’s.
I didn’t meet Shige but I felt like I needed to shake his hand and say thank you for keeping this company as grounded as it is.
Walk the halls of the SEMA and have a look at the companies that were also on Dean Moons path in the 40’s sure they are 5 times as big, buying up smaller companies and probably have a toilet block in their head office that’s larger than the complete Moon workshop. But a company like Moon driven by Shige now displays a unique style that although archaic emits this energy that’s genuine and attractively unchanged with time and technology.
Moon have an open door policy, you can go into the workshop and do exactly what I did, I highly recommend it as the history is so rich you can almost taste it.
I would like to thank Shige for devoting his life to the continuation of Moon and keeping the tradition alive.
Producing parts like spun aluminium tanks.
The way its always been done.
Because without Moon.
The world just wouldn’t be the same.
Thanks for reading!