Dean Moon

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Dean Moon (May 1, 1927 - June 4, 1987), raised since childhood in Norwalk, California. He was an avid "car guy" and mechanic heavily involved in dry lakes racing and speed equipment with a keen sense for business. He founded MOON Speed Equipment business (c.1950) and continued to improve the quality and safety of speed and racing products his entire life. He is one of the original founding members that created SEMA in 1963.

Dean Moon was the consummate “Hot Rodder” and innovator of speed parts. He built and raced cars from El Mirage Dry Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats to the Drag Strips and beyond, and established a company that became an icon in the Hot Rod industry. Starting his business from modest beginnings in a garage behind his father's Moon's Cafe in Norwalk, he grew it into an internationally recognized brand name. Early products were a multi-carb fuel block, spun aluminum wheel discs, aluminum gas tanks and a foot-shaped throttle pedal. These initial products were so prominent, today the term MOON Tank and MOON Discs are used on anything resembling these items.

Moon purchased the Potvin company of Chuck Potvin, good friend and manufacturer of ignitions, camshafts and blower drives, in 1960. In 1962, he moved the company to the Moon Equipment building in Santa Fe Springs, California, and continued producing Potvin products.

The very first A.C. Shelby Cobra to reach the United States, delivered to Carroll Shelby, was fitted with a Ford V8 engine and transmission at Dean Moon's shop in Santa Fe Springs, in February 1962. This historic location at 10820 S. Norwalk Blvd. is where MOONEYES still resides today.

Moon fitted a Ford 429 race engine to the Lincoln Futura concept car which became the Batmobile used in the Batman television series.[1]


Moon brought a level of showmanship to the sport of drag racing. His cars not only went fast but looked good with signature Mooneyes decals, yellow paint and chrome plating. His team were well turned out in all white uniforms with the MOON Logo and cowboy hats. Revell made a plastic model kit of the Chevrolet-powered Mooneyes dragster, which they termed as a test bench on wheels and later used as exhibition at car shows after it retired from racing.[2] The car made a comeback in England in 1963 driven by Dante Duce. In 1964 Duce won the Brighton Speed Trials in the Moonbeam, a Devin-bodied sports car equipped with a supercharged Chevrolet V-8 motor.[3]

Many Moon products are still used today and are sought after by the people restoring and recreating old hot rods. The “Mooneyes” logo is now part of the history of the sport.

Moon Speed Equipment "paused" after Dean died in 1987, then stopped momentarily after Dean Moon's wife died. In the early 1990s, Shige Suganuma, a long time Mooneyes dealer from Japan and close family friend of Moon, restarted the company as MOONEYES USA which continues to carry on the traditions of Dean Moon today, including the Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan.[4]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Batmobile". Barris Kustom Industries. 
  2. ^ Hot Rod Magazine, September 1961. The Mooneyes has a Dragmaster chassis.
  3. ^ Road & Track, November 1964, Pages 52-56; See also: Hot Rod Magazine, February 1962, Pages 86-89.
  4. ^ "2009 Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show" Cyril Huze

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