Dean Moon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dean Moon
BornMay 1, 1927
DiedJune 4, 1987(1987-06-04) (aged 60)
United States
NationalityAmerican
OccupationAutomobile designer, race car driver

Dean Moon (May 1, 1927 – June 4, 1987), grew up in Norwalk, California. Moon was around cars and racing from his youth as his father owned "Moon Cafe" with a go-kart track he called "Moonza", a pun on Monza.[1] He was involved in dry lake hot-rodding in that late 1940's.[2] He founded MOON Speed Equipment business (c.1950) and worked to improve the quality and safety of speed and racing products his entire life.

Moon was one of the original founding members that created Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association in 1963.[3]

Dean Moon was a 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 rodding 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. Products carrying the Moon name included the Moon disc wheel covers and Moon Tank auxiliary fuel containers were very popular, and Moon Equipment's bright-yellow show cars and drag-racers were cars were used as models for Hot Wheels toys.[1]

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 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 Dragmaster-chassied Mooneyes dragster, which they termed as a rolling testbed (driven by Gary Cagle to a win at the 1962 NHRA Winternationals[4]), then as exhibition car shows after it retired from racing.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McAlee, Brendan (3 December 2013). "For Japan's hot-rodders, the eyes have it". British Broadcasting Corporation.
  2. ^ "Dean Moon, Drag Racing Pioneer, Dies". Los Angeles Times. 6 June 1987. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  3. ^ Paul D. Smith (2009). Merchants of speed. Minneapolis: MBI Pub. Co. and Motorbooks.
  4. ^ Burgess, Phil, National Dragster editor. "More Tree tales, the Mazi model, and Stuff In My Office", written 21 December 2007, at NHRA.com (retrieved 19 September 2018)
  5. ^ Hot Rod Magazine, September 1961.[page needed] The car has a
  6. ^ Road & Track, November 1964, pp.52-56; Hot Rod Magazine, February 1962, pp.86-89.
  7. ^ "2009 Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show" Cyril Huze

External links[edit]