Bangkok, Thailand - Bangkok’s ebullient custom motorcycle and car scene sprung back into life last Sunday morning with a special event dubbed ‘Sunday Morning Ride x Motor & Decals’ that saw enthusiasts heading for the Train Market Srinakarin in some style with machines of all shapes and sizes.
The morning’s activities were in fact put together by the organisers of the highly popular ‘Bangkok Hotrod Custom Show’ which most recently took place at the ‘Show DC Arena’ last November. A spectacular event that has not just been embraced by Thailand’s bubbling custom scene but also by the volume bike manufacturers who rock up with lavish booths.
The finished product is an impressive and polished affair so it was no wonder that Sunday’s event at the Train Market was a ‘must go’ for those fully committed to reinterpreting cars and bikes just the way they want them to be – usually as crazily as possible.
Bikers, as well as plenty of retro car owners’, responded to the call to gather together for the first time as Thailand steadily emerges from its Covid-19 lockdown, the event organisers’ taking suitable care to ensure that precautions were in place.
The venue was perfect too as the Train Night Market on Srinakarin Road at Nong Bon in Prawet district, which sprawls in the shadow of the giant Seacon Square mall, is famously home to the city’s custom scene, with a central focus being placed on American classic cars. With its infrastructure designed to recollect the style of classic garages and shops an emotive backdrop was ‘built in’ and ready for the arrivals.
And when you think of extreme customisation, you quickly think of the outrageous ‘Mooneyes’ brand – so it’s only natural they have an outsized presence at the Train Market with a lavish retail shop, coffee shop/bar and American retro-style wooden panelled garage.
So, the dots were joined up and the energy packed event focused on everyone meeting up at the glitzy Mooneyes Café. Bikes of every brand, shape size, year and level of customisation rocked up for ‘Motor & Decals’, most burbling away loudly as they arrived.
As Thailand gets back on its feet after the Covid-19 pandemic, the day was about getting the likeminded together for social activity and making new friends, swapping tips and knowledge as well as selling retro used parts and other accessories such as T-shirts.
“Today we have a little event from the Bangkok Hot Rod and Custom Show, Motor and Decal,” said ‘Bomb’, the show’s head organiser. “Today we have lots of people and we exchange the stickers together.
“It’s the first time we have the Sunday morning ride, today we have everything, motorcycle, car, bike, it’s a happy day … and see you next time,” added ‘Bank, another of the event’s organisers.
While motorcycles were the biggest stars of the show, the cars weighed in strongly with some standout retro beauties from Toyota, including several generations of the earlier Corollas as well as a Cressida (the overseas name for the Corona Mk 2). The unmissable Cressida, in an eye-catching hue of green, was as clean as it’s possible to come, slammed, with a deep jutting front spoiler and riding on shining solid plane alloy wheels.
There was also an orange-and-black Mazda RX-7, its styling transformed thanks to the unique ‘Veilside’ kit that swaps out every panel on the car, a pair of Daihatsu Miras, VW’s air-cooled Beetle, Kombi and Type 3, a two-tone Opel Olympia Rekord from the 1950s and a string of lowered Mercedes-Benz sedans spanning several generations.
Arguably the most interesting car to turn up was an Isuzu VehiCROSS. This capable SUV is a rare enough sight on the Thai roads at the best of times, one sees them only a few times a year, but this one was the “Ironman Triathlon Edition” a forgotten trim level for the U.S. market that was sold as a strictly limited edition.
Striking in yellow and black, with the special edition decals splashed over the body, how this particular VehiCROSS ended up in Thailand is something of a mystery. “I have this car for eight years and I changed the engine to the new block of Isuzu,” says the owner, Aunwat Naksompan, who was at the event as he’s a member of Chickadee Chopper Town Thailand.
Adding to this vibrant melting pot were the cars that are the usual residents of the Train Market, a string of classic American muscle cars, including a stunning black second-generation Dodge Charger from the late 1960s as well as novelties including a Japanese fire truck and a TVR Griffith, one of just a few of the English hand built sportscars in the country.
And staying with things that move along on wheels, not to forget the imposing bulk of the Train Market’s signature Derby Sulzer, the first diesel locomotive into Thailand in the 1930s of which there are just two survivors today, although both these Swiss-built monsters have long since been internally gutted.
The Sulzer is currently somewhat tucked away behind the market’s big moveable garage ‘booth’ that it sometimes takes to external events, including of course last November’s Bangkok Hot Rod Custom Show.