Wekfest San Jose 2013 Coverage…Part 1…

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If there has to be one singular event that I look forward to every year, it would definitely be Wekfest Norcal. I’ve had the pleasure of watching this incredible event grow over the last couple of years and every year when I step foot into the latest Wekfest show, I always think back at how it all started inside a small parking garage in J-Town San Francisco. It seems like only yesterday when we were all hanging out inside the dimly-lit parking garage inhaling all kinds of exhaust smoke from the cars that rolled in to park at the show. Things were different then but if there was one thing that hasn’t changed, it is the anticipation of the event itself. I think I am just as excited now as I was before and that says a lot for a show that has gone on for five years now. Typically, events fizzle out after a couple of attempts and fade away. The Wekfest show continues to grow as big as ever and will soon be starting a worldwide tour in Japan in 2014. I guess it really isn’t necessary to sit here and try to describe the impact of this show, everyone should know by now that the Norcal Wekfest show is the “Superbowl” of car shows. If you’ve been there then you already know and if you haven’t, you’ve heard about the hype and excitement around this event. It is a show that you as a car enthusiast should definitely experience in your lifetime. Attending a Wekfest show in a city near you is great too but it does not compare to that of the original event in Northern California. This show is an important one for me personally because like Wekfest, The Chronicles has also been around for five years now. In that time we have both grown dramatically. My success is very different than Wekfest but we have run side-by-side the these last five years and I’m proud to say that we’ve been mutual supporters of one another since day one…

The 2013 Wekfest event had a bit of a different feel to it. I’d be lying if I told you that it didn’t feel a little weird being in a new location but with growth comes changes…necessary changes. Stepping foot into the San Jose Convention Center was a completely different feeling than being at Fort Mason in the past. Wekfest quickly outgrew the Fort Mason venue and was looking to expand. The city of San Francisco provided some significant obstacles so the only real option to find a large enough venue was to move it out of the city. I and many others feel that it just doesn’t have the same aura of tradition now that it is out of the heart of San Francisco but it is an adjustment that we will all have to make. Like I said, growth calls for change and moving to San Jose was the right move to make. We had to try it to see what it was like and honestly, having a facility that was 40,000 square feet bigger really helped with the foot traffic throughout the day. No longer did people have to be turned away and everyone seemed to get inside in a timely manner. Plus the venue was big enough where a majority of the line stayed inside the building. The upgraded size almost made the show seem like it wasn’t as busy in year’s past but by the numbers, attendance was right up there with the events of year’s past. I think the complete change from San Francisco to San Jose had more of an impact of peoples’ thinking than the actual attendance numbers itself. Another thing you could consider is that a lot of people may have been scared off by the lines that they were stuck in during the previous two Wekfest events at Fort Mason. Maybe they didn’t even attempt to try to go. If you’re wishing that the show had never left San Francisco, trust me when I tell you, I understand the feeling. The previous Fort Mason facility was such a picturesque location for the event that it almost seemed perfectly fit for Wekfest. However, the reality is that it just wasn’t able to host the amount of people that wanted to be a part of the event. Better to have a larger building for everyone than to have a better location with hoards of angry people who couldn’t make it inside after waiting in line for 6-8 hours. If Wekfest is the “Superbowl” of car shows, just think of it as Wekfest getting a new stadium and venue to play in. Again, these are necessary changes…

With that said, I can finally start to tell you about my journey to Norcal this past weekend. Like every year that I’ve gone up, I have documented the trip from start to finish. Wekfest SF (now “SJ” for San Jose) is more than just a car show to me. It is an opportunity to reconnect with friends that I don’t normally see due to regional restrictions and also a chance for me to get away and explore one of my favorite cities. Even though the event was moved to San Jose, it didn’t stop me from making the drive down to San Francisco to hang out. If you guys are only here for Wekfest coverage itself, maybe you should consider looking elsewhere for strictly photos of cars. I like to tell a story and give people an inside, in-depth, look at my trip. That includes the show and everything in between…

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My trip started late Thursday night of that week. Making the trip up with me was May, and also rolling along were DPK David and his wife Jackie. David had brought his Lexus LS430 up to Norcal so that Sunny from 5Fifteen Auto Body could paint it, and needed a ride back up during Wekfest weekend to pick it up. May had an event to go to that Sunday so she was going to fly back home early, so I decided to make the drive up Thursday night so that we could have a full day to just explore San Francisco on Friday. So I had four people total in my Odyssey, including myself of course, along with a ton of shit that I had to bring for my booth at Wekfest. Throw everyone’s luggage in the mix and the van was pretty packed. I was a little weary about the drive because I had never had so much weight in my van after installing my coilovers. I have custom rear springs installed to support extra weight but it just didn’t compensate for what the stock rear springs could handle weight-wise. Once everything was loaded into the van with everyone inside, it was squatting pretty low in the back. It drove pretty great actually, so it ended up not being an issue at all. One of the major issues with slamming these Odysseys is that the entire exhaust system hangs really low from the factory. I took it to Super Tuning Performance in Van Nuys and Koko was able to create a custom exhaust for me that provided much more clearance. I almost didn’t take it to get the exhaust done last week because I was so busy, but in hindsight, I am happy that I did because I probably would have ripped the thing off on the drive up to Norcal….

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It seems a little ridiculous to blue-tape an old van but I had actually just had the thing repainted a couple weeks prior so everything was really fresh. I didn’t want to risk damaging the brand new paint so this was my attempt to protect it…

I won’t bore you with the rest of the details on my drive up. It was pretty late in the evening so we didn’t arrive to San Jose until about 5 am in the morning that Friday. By the time we had settled into our hotel room it was already time for breakfast, so we ate before finally going to get some sleep. Doesn’t sound like the best idea but hey, it was vacation time….

After we woke up, it was time to drop off DPK David and Jackie with the ATS Garage guys. They weren’t too far away so they would take them to the show to set-up and then take them to their hotels later on in San Mateo, which was about 35 minutes away from us. I had planned to meet up with Rodrez and his family to go explore Fisherman’s Wharf so we were heading in another direction…

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Once we met up with Rodrez and family, we all drove over to Chris and Dina’s house. They and the rest of the ATS Garage guys were meeting up at their house to come up with a gameplan as to how to set-up for the show. Unlike year’s past, this was the first year ever where they had set-up roll-in a day prior. Having roll-in a day earlier would help to alleviate some of the congestion in the morning and would allow for the show to open up in a timely manner to make patrons of the show happy…

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Over at the house when we pulled-up was ATS Anh’s Integra Type R. You guys are all familiar with this ITR by now so it really needs no introduction….

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Also there were a duo of DB2 Integras that looked like they were taken out of a time capsule from the early 2000s…

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Joel Ray’s Integra has literally remained exactly the same as it did when it was first assembled back in the late 90s/early 2000s. He originally bought the car back in 1995 and it is period perfect to that time. Everything from the Work J Wings to the OG Drag turbo kit makes this GS-R look like it was frozen in time…

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You guys probably recognize this Integra from my Blox coverage but being that I wasn’t actually there, I was interested in seeing it in person. Like Joel’s Integra, it is also turbocharged…

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One thing we’ve noticed about little Maddox, son of Rodrez, is that he really loves cars like his dad and was excited to run around and explore Chris’ garage…

After hanging out and chatting for a bit, it was time to make our way over to the city. There was a ton of traffic that day since there was a Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake concert going on as well as two baseball games, so we had to make it down to the city as early as possible. Otherwise we’d just be sitting in traffic all day. It took about an hour but we made it down there and found some parking by the Wharf. No matter how many times we’ve been there, we always go back to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco because we love the food and the sights that the city has to offer. Maddox probably wouldn’t remember the trip since he’s not even two years old yet but it would be cool to just give him space to run around. Fisherman’s Wharf is like visual cocaine for babies so we knew he’d be excited to be there…

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When we got to the Wharf, I unexpectedly was parked right by the signature “Fisherman’s Wharf” sign. I almost didn’t want to get parked there because I knew that passer-bys might fuck my car up as well as the massive hoard of birds in that area, but the memory of being parked in such a recognized spot was more important than that. Paint can be fixed but being parked there provided an opportunity to get some cool shots that I probably won’t be able to replicate again…

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The first order of business was getting some food in our stomachs. The spot across the street from where we parked had some great seafood so we bought from the street carts and ate it back by Rodrez’s Honda Element. Rodrez got the basket of random fried shit above…

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…and I snatched this half-eaten shrimp sandwich from a hobo. Haha, just kidding of course, I bought the thing because it is a favorite of mine…

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I remember it being much tastier the first time I ordered it so I livened it up by adding some fried skrimps into the mix…

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The girls also wanted to try some of these mini donuts that everyone was raving about from a place appropriately named “Trish’s Mini Donuts”…They did not attempt to pull the bait and switch by selling you large donuts. Trish is an honest woman…

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After eating it was time to let Maddox roam the streets of SF… Here he is with his mom as he attempts to learn Ken and Ryu’s Shoryuken (Forward, Down-Forward, Punch)…

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A father and son moment… I like to experience this type of stuff with Rodrez because I know it means a lot to him to share memories with his son. When I first met him, he was a freelance photographer like I am now and in the span of time in which I’ve known him, he’s become the head editor of Honda Tuning magazine, gotten himself hitched, and now has a son….

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Goldie the Robot Pimp was recruiting early… Not entirely sure if he was supposed to be a statue or a robot because he wasn’t very good at either. He would make robot sounds but move around like a normal human being so he was neither robotic or anything resembling a statue…

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After a couple of hours in the city, Maddox was pretty beat…

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Pigeons doing what pigeons do…

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A seagull scratching up my Mugenz…

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It didn’t help that the fucking kid from One Direction (blue shirt pictured) was tossing up pieces of bread onto the roof of my car. It ended up being scratched up pretty badly but nothing that can’t be buffed-out…

After that, we left the Wharf and explored other parts of the city. Nothing overly interesting so I didn’t really pull out the camera. I should mention that I talked to Ken from Wekfest earlier that day and mentioned that I might stop by the show to check it out after everyone had finished setting-up. This would be a perfect time for me to get some coverage ahead of the crowd and I wouldn’t have to worry about having to deal with people walking into my shots. Ken said it was cool to stop by as long as I got there before they closed up the Convention Center at around 9 pm. By the time we were finished in the city, it was already 7:30 pm. The drive back to San Jose was about an hour and luckily we figured out another route back to SJ without having to run into the traffic from the Jay-Z concert…

When I pulled-up to the San Jose Convention Center, it was probably about 8:15 or so. Everyone but the staff was left in the building and they were gracious enough to just let me explore the show with whatever time we had left until they shut the Convention Center down. I pulled-out the camera and decided to start on my coverage of Wekfest SJ 2013. I still had a booth to set up the next morning so it was important that I got as much as I could. If you know how crowded this event has been typically in the past, you already know that it is virtually impossible to get a clean shot with the hoard of people perusing the show…

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The first build that I made sure to go see was Ferd Natividad’s Acura Integra from ATS Garage. “Kranky”, as they call the car, has had a hell of a journey to get to this point. It was important for Ferd to debut the car at this show since it is probably the biggest show of the year and to show the world a car that he’s been working on for about a decade now. He’s had so many up’s and down’s with this car that it is surprising to see that he event finished it. I’ll tell you guys more about it later but it was one of the most talked-about builds at the show. For many Honda guys out here on the West Coast, it was likely the most highly-anticipated debut of Wekfest San Jose. The car was all locked-up by the time I got there but I have plenty more shots of it from the following day…

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Anh Truong’s ITR is on its farewell tour. Anh has been looking to sell the car the last couple of months but it seems like he’s had a change of heart recently and decided to hold onto it. I think the idea now is to sell some of the stuff and make the car more street-able, then he’ll just keep the car and cruise it around every now and then…

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Chris Sakai’s EK looking good with the white Mugen MF10s though I think I personally prefer the Regamaster EVOs on it…

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Dina Sakai, aka ATS Mama-san, brought out her J’s Racing-themed Honda S2000 on Airrex air suspension…

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ATS AJ’s Integra with full C-West aero kit and Spoon SW388s. AJ used to run a boosted B-motor but ended up blowing the thing sky-high. Now he’s back to having a more stock, naturally-aspirated, motor set-up…

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DB Integra sedan from ATS Garage on RS Watanabe wheels…

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Joel Ray’s turbo Integra…

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Soloman’s bagged Accord sedan with GReddy front lip, re-barreled Racing Hart C5 wheels, rare Azect front grille, and Bomex side mirrors that no one can ever see out of… Really cool Accord build that has been coming together slowly over the years…

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The boosted DB2 Integra you saw early on classic Gales wheels…

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Toyota Supra turbo on Volk Racing LE28 wheels…

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A pair of old school Toyota Corollas, one a wagon and the other a coupe…

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This “Mango” on RS Watanabes was one of my favorites of Wekfest SJ and I got a couple more shots of it coming in the later parts…

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Junior from Wekfest tossin’ up the “A” for ATS Garage alongside his Lo-Lo…

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I know widebody and blister fenders are becoming really popular again but execution is still really important to pulling off the look. With this S13, I’m not so sure if it does…

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Drift-spec S13 coupe with JDM Silvia front end and mismatched Volk Racing wheels front and back…

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Love how this AE86 coupe looked with the classic two-tone and RS Watanabe wheels…

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Z34 370Z on massive BBS LMs…

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Armand Pranadi’s TRD widebody SW20 on deep-dish custom Blitz Technospeed Z1…

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VIP-styled Scion xB…

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Milt Salamanca’s 350Z  from Low ‘N Slow on SSR Vienna Courage wheels…

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Joe Bacigalupi’s Subaru WRX wagon with custom-fitted Voltex aero kit and Work Meister S1R…

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I don’t know how many people noticed this Dodge Charger in a see of imports but this thing was looking tough on Avant Garde Function Series F130 wheels. I just love how the car sat and how the contrasting faces and lips really go well on the black…

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Austin’s two-toned Y33 Q45 with JDM Cima GT Touring front bumper and custom Work VS-KFs. You can’t really see it but he recently installed an Insurance rear spoiler as well…

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Mark Medina’s beautifully-done yellow 350Z from Low ‘N Slow…

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BMW Z4 roadster with the new Liberty Walk Performance aero kit…

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LTMW’s Liberty Walk E92 BMW M3 coupe…

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Wekfest San Jose marked the official car show debut of another Liberty Walk-kitted E92, this one a Laguna Seca Blue M3 on Work wheels…

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Jorge Hernandez’s timeless EG Civic build on display at the ICB Motorsport booth with White Crow front bumper and new carbon kevlar First Molding Flugel Plate….

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Also at the ICB booth was Teddy Timoteo’s Civic with carbon kevlar First Molding Flugel Plate, canards, and side mirrors…

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The other highly-anticipated debut within the West Coast Honda circles was Jay Calderon’s Acura Integra build. RC from RC’s Garage has been doing work on this thing and made it just in time for Wekfest San Jose. From talking to him, he said the car is about 95% complete but so far, it looks great. The Project Mu front brakes throw off the color scheme a bit but A. They are Project Mu brakes in their signature teal, and B. From what I hear, they are only temporary. I had seen some sneak peek shots of the engine bay so I had a feeling it was going to be a good build, but seeing it in person really made me appreciate the car that much more. Love how the bright gold, red, and black accents come together and you can’t realy go wrong with a full Mugen aero kit. Those rare Ganador side mirrors also flowed very well with the overall appearance of the car. Awesome job by RC…

After checking out the DC2, I got word that it was time to shut down and head home. I put away all my camera gear and then headed back to the hotel with May. We hung out for a couple of minutes and then Rywire Ryan called to tell us that they were having dinner with some of the ATS Garage guys, so we decided to tag along. We met up at a Chinese restaurant and grubbed to a feast of delicious traditional Chinese cuisine…

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I was too busy eating to snap photos of like 11 dishes that we had that evening but here’s a sample of what we ate. Above is a seafood fried rice dish that you gotta try….

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Ryan enjoyed the meal and we all had a great time just shooting the shit while eating. Anytime we get together it’s always a good time, especially since we don’t get to see each other that often. We finished dinner, hung out at a Boba spot for a little bit, and then headed back to the hotel to get some rest. The next day was going to be a long one and that is when I really get into the meat and bones of the Wekfest San Jose event. Stay tuned for tons more, we are just getting started…

10 thoughts

  1. Pingback: Wekfest San Jose 2013 Coverage…Part 1…

  2. I can see it was a great day, full of joy and beautiful cars, old friends and good food. Not mention the cute little kid who laughs and express his happiness and innocence. Thanks for sharing this lovely day. Peace and love

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