Tuesday, 22 May 2018

2017 My Year of Custom Culture Travels

2017 My Year of Custom Culture Travels

I have sorely neglected this Blog since 2015 and I apologise for this neglect, I have continued traveling and attending Custom Culture Events, Car and Motorcycle shows, I have also started a Tour Business called Gearheadz Travel which takes groups of Gearhead Enthusiasts on Escorted Tours to Events in: Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia but just failed to add these trips to my Blog.

2017 was a huge year of Traveling and Events, because this Blog is Travel oriented I will be including sightseeing photos as well as Cars and Bikes and other Custom Culture goodies.
2017 kicked off with a trip to the:

  • Bangkok Hot Rod & Custom Show, held in May 
  • MotorEx Sydney, held in July
  • Art of Speed Malaysia, held in July
  • Kustomfest Indonesia, held in October
  • MOONEYES Hot Rod & Custom Show Japan, held in December
All of these events are world class and a credit to the organisers, they should also be on any Gearheadz list of events to visit, and of course I can help you with that!!

Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show 13th - 14th May 2017

Bangkok HRCS was held at the BITEC Exhibition space in Bangkok an ideal place to hold a Custom Car and Motorcycle Show there is plenty of indoor space a fantastic food court and enough outdoor space for you to bring and park your ride.

This was my first ever trip tp Thailand so I was really looking forward to my visit, I flew into Bangkok on the Friday before the show and had booked into the  Phuengnang Homestay Hotel situated in a beautiful almost rural area they call the lungs of Bangkok, which is surrounded on three sides by the Chao Phraya river, the Hotel was even more beautiful than expected and that the staff extremely friendly and helpful, I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful little hotel if you are visiting Bangkok.

 Whilst in Bangkok I had two tasks to complete, check out Bangkok HRCS and do a photo shoot for a dressmaker friend using a local Thai Girl, the Hotel provided a fabulous back drop for the gorgeous Miss Boua as did the show.

Ok Back to the show, I had been requested to arrive early, a little hard to do because Miss Boua and her friend took me to a night club after the shoot, it was a late night! anyhow I grabbed a taxi and headed for BITEC where to my surprise I was asked to help with the judging, I was also given a fixer/interpreter for my stay.

After attending the show briefing it was time to have a look at the show entries before the crowds arrived, Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show is a clone of the MOONEYES Hot Rod and Custom Show in Yokohama and mentored by Mr Shige Suganuma owner of MOONEYS Inc. so as you would expect the standard of Cars and Bikes on display is very high and covers most Custom styles, there is always a great selection of vendor stands to browse and of course the people you meet are fabulous.

Each of the Asian shows has it's own style giving you an insight into the enthusiasts, Street Rods are rare in Asia and Bangkok a pair of 1937 For Coupes one an OZE bodied car built by Daryl Haglof and the other a more traditonal styled Rod, Rat style or what has now become 'Traditional style Hot Rods' are more popular in Asia and come in many body styles, some using Jeep bodies or even Jap Pick Up cabs or chopped, channeled and slammed sedan bodies, so are we allowed to call them Rats?

Hot Rods, Street Rods and Rats

Also on display were a handful of Low Riders and a Bomb, Bangkoks traffic would surely make for Low and Slow cruising, on show were a trio of very nicely built American Pick Ups, it is great to see these well built Customised American cars in Thailand because you know the people who build the and own them are true Gearheadz because it can not be an easy task building and owning these cars in Thailand.

Lowriders and Bombs

JDM or "Japanese Domestic Market " Cars are always popular in Asia, economics is one reason for their popularity but so is the fact that they are what most people relate to, Mini Trucks seem to be by far the nost popular style in Thailand.

JDM and Mini Trucks

Just like the rest of the world Volkswagons are extremely popular in Asia and Thailand is no exception there were some fabulous examples of Adolf's dream car on show at Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show.

Beetles and Combi Vans

Then you have the just plain strange catergory of cars, if thats what you can call some of them, I love these vehicles they always bring a smile, I would love to drive that Quad Thingy!

Custom Car Oddities

Well these are just the cars that stood out for me there were many more that I could have included but the blog would go on forever, The Bikes will be even harder because Bikes is what Asia does particularly well, I hope you enjoy this insight into the Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show.
I will leave you with a few random photos from the show.

Random Photos from Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show

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Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show Bikes 

Well I promised you Bikes form Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show and here they are! Asia rolls on two wheels so it should not come as a suprise to learn that some of the best Custom Bikes come from Asia and believe me Thailand does not let the side down.
I was expecting to see Yammie SR400, Royal Enfield Scooter and Cub Customs but what blew me away was the sheer number of Harley Davidsons, there were Knuckles, Pans, Shovels, Flatties and Block Heads, Triumphs apart from the trade stall exhibits were few and far between.
The Customisers had turned their eye to Ducatis as well as Yamaha's and Hondas there were a couple of very nice Honda four Choppers on display, the Bimmer fans did not leave wanting either, Hondfa CX 500's would have to have taken the prize for the ugliest bike ever built but God bless customisers, they are back looking mean.
I will not bore you with any more words feast your eyes on these fine examples of two wheeled art, lets start with the Harley Davidsons.

Custom Harley Davidsons

Custom Yamaha's

Custom Honda's

Custom Ducati's

Custom BMW's

Royal Enfield

Custom Scooters and Step Throughs

Custom Triumph's

Random Pics From Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show

OK folks thats it for the Bikes of the Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show, next up will be a feature on a tour I took of Fat Boy Customs Bangkok, a Motorcycle Custom shop that had me speachless"well almost".

Fat Boy Designs Bangkok

I met Mark, the owner of Fat Boy Designs when I attended the Bangkok HRCS, Mark, the man responsible for the Bangkok HRCS is also the owner of the MOONEYES Shop in Bangkok, he is defineitly a busy chap. Fat Boy designs are responsible for some of the best Custom Bikes in Thailand, the incredibly high standard of the work they do was evidenced by the Jewel Bike.

The Jewel Bike, from Fat Boy Designs

The Jewel Bike is impressive, it looks fabulous! the design is beautiful the craftsmanship faultless every little detail and there are hundreds adds to the overall concept, the thing that i did not realise when I first saw it was exactly how brilliant this bike was, virtualy every part of this bike has been machined and/or fabricated from Aluminium, the petrol tank, oil tank, the seat, all Aluminium, the forks and tripple clamps, the wheels, the bars and forward controls all designed and machined from billet in house. The tube and lug frame was fabricated in house using aircraft grade Aluminium tubing, the lugs are machined from the same grade of material and finished in way that makes them look like cast pieces, there are polished brass details all over the bike again all done in house, the paint and pinstriping in house, you can spend ages looking at this bike and still more detail emerges.

The week after the show I went to visit Mark at Fat Boy Customs, I was expecting a small work shop with a crew of very good tradesman working away, but what I found was a facility that included a retail showroom with several Custom Bikes for sale, Acessories, Custom Painted Helmets, MOONEYES Gear, a whole wal displaying Trophy's that mark had won for his Drag Racing  and various other exploits, complete Harley engines and custom worked Barrels and parts.
They also had a NC Machining room, a Metal fabrication room, a Fbreglass fabricaction room, a Pinstriping room, a Spray booth, a huge Custom parts store that they could raid when they needed something special for a build, Fat Boy Designs is the most impressive Custom Bike Work shop I have visited.
Marks story is an interesting one, he started working in the family auto parts manufacturing business and traind as a machinist, the company employed a lot of NC machines for parts manufacture so Mark learened not only how to use the machines but design and program creation as well, in his spare time he indulged his love of Motorcycles by building, riding with his mates and racing his Bikes, "he still has most of his old Bikes and Go Karts in storage at the workshop". 
Eventualy there came a time when his father wanted to retire and he asked Mark to take over the management of the Auto Parts business but Mark was having none of that, he wanted to start his own Custom Bike Garage and so Fat boy Designs was started, Marks professionalism and drive are incredible, he gathers skilled people around him and takes exceptional pride in everything that is designed and built at the workshop, he is a great organiser, Bangkok HRCS is proof of that, he had also entered into a collabaration with Cherry Company Cycles of Japan to make one piece moulded fibreglass fuel tank, seat and rear guard units for late model Harley Sportsters.

This is P Bombs bike with the Fat Boy Designs/Cherry's Customs Unit fitted and painted

Mark gave me the full guided tour through the Workshop  which not only builds Custom Bikes but also services and repairs Harleys and the odd Triumph, they also build and maintain the companies Drag bikes a new one of which was under construction when I visited and has since hit the track, they had three Custom bikes on the assembly benches, all belonging to local customers, Mark stated that the Custom scene is strong in Thailand and they are kept busy building bikes.
From talking with Mark and his guys I got the impression that working at Fat Boy Designs was more than just a five day a week nine to fiver but that they often hung out at the drag strip and Motorcross track, Mark also sponsors a Vintage Motorcross bike  which was built at the shop and is ridden by one of his employees, Fat Boy Designs seem to be one of those rare places where the Owner and his Employees are all totally commited to the Motorcycle lifestyle and to the quality and expertise it takes to design and build fabulous Custom Bikes, I got the feeling these guys would work for free if need be.

Below are some Pics from Fat Boy Designs

Mark and his workshop manager at Fat Boy Designs

The Showroom

Some of the bikes for sale in the showroom

The Machine Shop

Finished billet parts machined on site

The Fibreglass shop 

The Pinstripe shop

Custom Bikes, in the assembly shop


The new MOONEYES Bangkok Drag Bike under construction

The Vintage MXer getting a pre race weekend service and tune

To say I was impressed by Mark and the crew at Fat Boy Designs is an understatement, I try to visit the shop whenever i am in Bangkok and always love to see what they are up to, If you are ever in Bangkok drop in and say Hi, Thanks to Mark and the crew for their hospitality and for the chance to see their worksop.

See ya soon

Don't forget if you want to join me at any of the Events on here contact me at www.gearheadztravel@gmail.com 

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