What started as silly banter on our Facebook page between me and SpeedHunter, Linhbergh Nguyen, evolved into a proposed meet of Houston’s best old school Japanese classic cars, I excitedly agreed to make it happen. When JohnP eventually found out that I had accepted the proposal from Linhbergh, JohnP had gone into full fledged freak out mode. If you know a little about John’s background, then you know when he throws a meet, you also know he likes to do things big. Enter the MaydayGarage x SpeedHunters All Japanese Nostalgic Car Meet.
As me and John checked out possible venues to host the meet, the question that we just couldn’t answer was exactly how many old Japanese cars could we pull in two weeks? With no previous planning or researching (which John loves to do), we took a rough estimate that we could realistically get about 10-15 cars that would meet this criteria, and possibly up to another 25-35 cars that wouldn’t fall into the “nostalgic” category, but would want to come just to see what was going on. So we guessed about 35-50 cars.
Still, we didn’t have a place set to accomodate this gathering of JDM rides. Different ideas were thrown around, parking garages, restaurants, parks, and other places most people have small car meets, but this is JohnP we’re talking about, and he wanted it to stand out. “Go big or get the fuck out”, as John so eloquently puts it.
Fabio had suggested a place that we all frequent on a weekly basis, Moon Tower Inn, an up and coming hot dog stand on the outskirts of eastern downtown. So the call was made, as this was a centralized location (come on, it’s in down-freakin-town, how much more centralized do you want it to be??), served not only food, but also awesome beer, had ample parking space for a meet our size, and provided the downtown Houston skyline as a backdrop.
We did have some obstacles to overcome however. First, we had to make sure the nice guys at Moon Tower Inn would let us host our small gathering at their venue on a normally busy Friday night, get permission from the wonderful guys at The Pruitt Co., an automotive repair shop, to use their wide driveway to showcase our JDM rides from yesteryear, and the somewhat sketchy roads of downtown Houston. Thankfully, the guys from Moon Tower Inn were gracious enough to allow us to have our meet, the gentlemen from The Pruitt Co. let us use their driveways, and we found a somewhat okay route to downtown with the least amount of bumps in the road. This was a huge relief, and we know that part of a successful meet is location, location, location, and Moon Tower Inn was THE place to be Friday night at 5pm.
What we didn’t count on was The NCAA Final Four which was also on the same day, same time as our meet, and even really close in location. This caused some people delays in getting to our spot where people were already lining up at 4pm including a very clean four door EF civic. At 5pm, it was looking kind of bleak, but I knew we’d be okay because my phone was blowing up with text messages letting me know traffic was a bitch, and that people were asking if they’d be able to get a good spot.
Then they started coming.
Pretty soon, me, John, Mikey and Jonas were all running around trying to direct traffic and parking situations for this huge influx of people coming. I tried to take some pictures in between the mayhem of running across the street as if it were a game of Frogger, but thank the gods of Bomex, we had our whole team of photographers out and about to make sure we covered all angles.
As I looked across at Moon Tower Inn, it was CRAZY packed, and the line was insane! When I wanted to try out an Elk (yeah, elk) hot dog, the line was at least 30 people deep, so I told myself i’d have one later. This line only became thin later in the night when I was told that our meet attendees had eaten all of the hot dogs they had. Crap. It had then dawned on me that John had told the guys there that there would be roughly “30-50 cars”. We were dead wrong.
Something that I really enjoyed observing during the meet was the tight, close and romantic atmosphere around both the cars and between the people there. It was if everyone were talking to each other, meeting new friends, and sharing stories. We had a number of people from out of town cities such as Victoria, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin just to attend our shindig. A pair of AE86’s came in on trailers, a clique of older Hondas, and a huge heap of newer cars that filled the streets of downtown.
Everyone I came in contact with that night was all smiles, and I was told repeatedly that they really enjoyed the location and the atmosphere, which is exactly what we were going for. I was even asked if this was a yearly event thrown by us and SpeedHunters. Who knows? Maybe it can be.
As the sun came down and some of the cars slowly started to leave, it was time to relax and have some $5 pitchers of Bombshell Blonde with the fellas. After chatting it up with some of the attendees, we were told that Moon Tower Inn had just gotten more hot dogs of the duck variety! Yes! I had two, which was way too much, but wow, they were especially good after a long day of running around. A fantastic end to what was a fantastic meet.
We’d like to thank the great guys at Moon Tower Inn and The Pruitt Co. for making this meet happen! If you guys want the BEST exotic game hot dogs in town, please visit Moon Tower Inn! If you’re looking for some work and maintenance done on your car, take it by to The Pruitt Co.!
All photos were taken by Andrew Machac, Khiem Pham, Danh Phan, and myself exclusively for MaydayGarage!