Wekfest San Jose 2014 Coverage…Part 1…

If I had to pick one event in the U.S. that I look forward to the most every year, it would unquestionably be Wekfest San Jose. For the last couple years, the Norcal Wekfest event has had a strangle hold on all other import automotive shows in the country and has quickly become regarded as THE premier event to attend. The show started out in a small parking garage in J-Town of San Francisco and has since grown exponentially. Now the event is held in San Jose at the McEnery Convention Center where it holds roughly 500 of the country’s premier custom import and domestic builds. I’ve been going to this event as long as it has been around and am now also one of the main car show judges on their nationwide tour. It’s been a real pleasure to watch the series grow. It is ever-evolving and it is understood that changes will always be made to make it better, but there still isn’t another event that really rivals this series when it comes to car quality and spectator-following…

Wekfest San Jose is also one of my busiest events annually because I not only have to judge the Honda/Acura Class, I also have to set-up my own vendor booth where I promote and sell merchandise for The Chronicles. This doesn’t sound too bad on paper, but it is quite a bit of work. Also add to that the fact that I go to this event to do event coverage. So I’m judging the Honda/Acura Class, which covers what seems like almost half the show, operating a booth (with help from great friends), and shooting hundreds of cars. This all needs to be done in a span of two-days which is also consolidated into just a couple of hours. My proverbial cup is FULL. This year, things are even more interesting because Wekfest East, happening across the country in New Jersey, occurs the following week. So I come home for a few days, pack my bags, and do it all over again…

As many of you know, we recently rebuilt and reassembled HeyMikeyyyy’s Integra. Most of you should know the car by now but if you don’t, you’ll see it later on in the coverage. We had originally planned to bring the Integra to Wekfest San Jose but during the past week, Mikey had reservations about bringing the car because we had planned to take it apart again and redo some stuff before we finally got it running. Being that it didn’t run, we’d have to trailer the car up north and Mikey kinda just wanted to go up there and enjoy the weekend without having to worry about the car. The general consensus is that the Integra is pretty well-liked since we debuted it at Wekfest LA so we collectively wanted the car to be present at the San Jose show. It took some convincing but in the late hours of Thursday evening, we were able to convince Mikey to bring the car with us on the trip. Access to a truck and trailer was already there, so it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle to strap the car down and bring it…

It is important to mention that because the car was at Wekfest LA competing, I removed myself from the judging panel at that event. I just didn’t feel it was fair to have a car competing in a class that I was responsible for judging. It just wouldn’t be fair. Someone else stepped up and took my place as a judge for WFLA and everything went smoothly. Despite what some might think, I had absolutely NOTHING to do with how the Honda/Acura Classes were judged at WFLA. I had no part in it because I did not want to have any thing to do with it. For Wekfest San Jose, it was understood that my services were necessary. Some of the best Honda and Acura builds in the country were present at Wekfest San Jose and there probably isn’t another person in that building that was more well-equipped to handle the task of judging them. I have experience on the tour since I go to pretty much every stop nationwide and I know how things work within their system. I can get things done on my own efficiently while also providing my input with some of the cars in the other make/model classes because I see enough of these cars to have a good understanding of what they have and how they were put together. Wekfest needed me to judge and on any other tour, I would have backed-out if I had a personal stake in any of the cars competing. Instead of having to worry about the conflict of interests that would have come into play if Mikey’s Integra was a part of the competition, both Mikey and I agreed to just have his car present at the show in my booth as a non-competition vehicle. People will still talk and want to say that politics are involved but it would just all be assumptions and hearsay….

In any case, here is my coverage of Wekfest San Jose. Part 1 will document random tidbits of our journey to Norcal along with some coverage during the set-up portion of the show. Since the event is so incredibly popular, the show is flooded with people once the gates open. This makes it almost impossible to do coverage. You just can’t get a clean shot with all the people walking about. Most don’t even care that you have a camera and just walk through your shot, which is also terribly annoying. To alleviate this problem, I try to do all of my coverage before the event starts. That way, I have free reign to walk around as I please and can get photos without interruption. Once I get the shots I want, I can focus on judging and intermittently walk back to my booth to make sure that everything is okay with merchandise sales…

I want to take this time to thank each and everyone of you who take the time to come by the booth to support The Chronicles, along with those who stop me to share a kind word. I may seem busy most of the time, and I am, but I do not mind when people stop me to introduce themselves. I appreciate it when people have feedback for me and/or just want to say hi. I’m grateful for the support that I get and I hope you guys stick around….

We start our coverage during the beginning of our trek up to Norcal from Socal, which is typically a 5-6 hour drive. We were trailering two cars, which slowed us down considerably, and we also tend to lag quite a bit and eat a lot so it took us about 10 hours to get to Norcal. Luckily we left that Friday or else we would have never even made it to Wekfest San Jose….

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I was so busy prepping my booth for the show that I didn’t even get any sleep the night before. There was a lot going on that week so I just didn’t have enough time. This is typical for most events that I do but I have to admit, as I get older, it gets tougher and tougher to stay up to get everything ready. The guys came by and loaded up the Integra and we went on our way to meet up with some of the others to begin our trip. For the drive up, we had a special guest. Mark from Fatlace needed the RWB Pandora One to be brought back up north for the show that weekend and one of our friends, who worked for Fatlace, volunteered to bring it back. He didn’t want to go up on his own so he just rolled along with our caravan. While it was cool to see the RWB Porsche, I didn’t envy our friend Vince who was driving it. The 964 Pandora One looks great, but it doesn’t have A/C. California in the summer gets pretty hot and during the drive up, we’d see temperatures in the triple digits. Stuffed in a Porsche with no A/C in 107 degree weather for hours doesn’t sound fun at all. I’ll gladly sit my ass in the Dodge Ram pick-up truck pulling the Integra with the A/C on full blast. I had my luggage in the Integra with the windows fully down and my deodorant stick even melted in my bag….

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On average, you’d probably see the RWB Pandora One at a car show or sitting inside the Illest store here in Orange County. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to see Mark’s Porsche in the hood with the windows rolled down. We kept our eyes on it of course, but casual passer-by’s made the full head turn and weren’t even paying attention to the road when they saw this thing chillin’ on the street…

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Phaze2 Mizzark’s BMW M5 is capable of being driven back and forth from Socal to Norcal with ease, but he too decided to trailer the car. Mizzark aka Mark was bringing his wife and baby with him for the trip to Wekfest and wanted them to be comfortable. The last thing you want to have to worry about is your car when you have the family to take care of….

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This seemed like a terrible idea to me, but the rest of the guys decided to plaster the rental trucks with decals. I was fine with it in the end because I wasn’t the one that had to return the trucks after the trip and had to remove all of it, haha….

We had a pretty sizable group with us so it was important to make stops to rest and eat. If it was just me, I’d probably try to get there as fast as I could and worry about food later, but we had family and friends involved so we had to make sure everyone was okay. We took off from Socal around 2pm and made a stop over at one of our favorites places on our drive-up every year, which was Harris Ranch. This spot usually reeks of cow shit because it is a ranch, but they have a restaurant inside the serves really good food. Next door is also a gas station with tons of space for trailers so it was the perfect place for us to stop….

After we parked the trailers, we sat down for an hour or so to grab a late lunch…

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Fatlace Mark’s 964 in the parking lot of Harris Ranch. For those wondering or those who may have forgotten, this is the same Pandora One that was once green. It now has a much more subtle look to it now that it has been re-imagined in black. “Subtle” is a term I use loosely, of course. You won’t find the words “RWB” and “subtle” used too often in the same sentence….

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Mizzark’s E60 M5 from the Phaze2 family…

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During the stop, we also ran into Keychain’s IS300 along with the rest of the guys from the Prestige Marketing/Its JDM Yo caravan….

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We don’t care about “street cred”. We trailer cars because we’re older and we’d rather be comfortable and safe with the A/C on blast than any “daily driven” credentials. You guys can do that all you want. We’ll happily tow our shit. Drive a heavily-modded vehicle from Socal to Norcal? Been there, done that in the rain and summer heat. No thanks….

I didn’t shoot too much more after. I was in and out of sleep since I hadn’t slept the night before. Thankfully, Mikey did all of the driving that trip so I could just rest. We arrived in Norcal late in the evening and just hung out in the parking lot for the rest of the night. We chilled, talked, and just planned out the following two days. Since the show was happening on Sunday, set-up for the event was all day Saturday. The show was as big as it has ever been so it was important to get there in a timely manner. We wanted to visit the city of San Francisco that day as well so we decided to go to the venue in the morning after breakfast. Some of the guys had to wash their cars too before roll-in so we stopped by a car wash near the hotel we stayed at….

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Phaze2 Salem’s TSX at the wash….

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I don’t know how many of you guys are aware, but Salem actually destroyed his authentic Spoon Sports front bumper about a month ago during a track event. He went off track and actually lost a big chunk of the passenger side of the bumper. The entire piece broke off clean so he was able to salvage it. We all thought the bumper was lost because of how fucked up it was but Edson from Premier Auto Body was able to fix it. You wouldn’t even know it was that damaged now because it looks like new again….

Once the cars were cleaned-up, we headed over to the San Jose Convention Center to set-up. Vendor roll-in happening during that time so there weren’t that many other show car competitors there yet. We set-up pretty quickly and hung out while the others figured out where their cars were going to go. I took the time to walk around and snap some photos since no one was there and I had some time to kill. I had planned to go back in the evening before the convention center closed to get some more coverage but our schedule was so loaded up that it was hard to get back in time. Everything worked out though and I got most of the shots that I wanted…

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One of the cars that I was really looking forward to seeing was Ferd’s Integra from ATS Garage. The last time I saw this car was probably the last time you saw it; on the cover of Super Street magazine. Since I shot the feature, I hadn’t seen it and it had some new additions that just made the build that much better. If you know what you’re looking at, you’ll be able to identify the new additions. For those that don’t know, I’ll give you some more info in Part 2 when I have more detailed photos of the build….

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Haven’t heard much from ATS Anh these days since his focus (rightly so) has been on his family and making sure the wife is happy, but it was good to see him make an appearance at WFSJ….

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One of the new ATS Garage debut’s was ATS G.J.’s Honda del Sol build. He was still setting his car up as well so I’ll have more info for you when I have better pics in the later posts…

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Along with the del Sol was another new ATS debut, ATS Alex’s Integra on Spoon SW388s….

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Mickey Andrade brought out his custom Liberty Walk BMW wagon, better known as “Rick Flare”, for its first ever Wekfest Norcal event….

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Ojay’s award-winning Toyota Previa build representing Style Over Comfort…

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The Wekfest LA Best of Show winner, RCG’s Mugen Integra, all set-up and ready to hopefully continue its winning-streak at Wekfest San Jose….

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One of my favorite DA Integra builds of all-time, Dave Chik’s timeless Mugen-themed build on NR-10Rs….

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Joey Abundiz’s incredibly well-done Honda del Sol build. Love what he did with the engine bay while still retaining the single-cam motor….

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RWB Pandora One in more familiar surroundings….

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Rocket Bunny R35 GTR that you recently saw at the Blox Revolution event….

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Jorge Hernandez making a rare public appearance in his timeless gold Civic hatchback. Not much has changed since he last showed at Wekfest San Jose in 2013….

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Jason Haradon’s Civic build is probably one of the greatest things that I’ve witnessed in all my years in the import scene. His build is ground-breaking in many ways because it is one of the few, if not the only, full ground-up restoration builds. I’m not saying it is a “restoration” like he just cleaned up some parts and made his Civic look OEM again either. Every single piece of this Civic is brand new, other than the chassis itself of course. Every single piece he could find new for the 92-95 Civic from any and every part of the world has been sourced to create this project. It is done in such a way where you wouldn’t even know that it was fully-restored because it was done THAT well. You don’t see builds like this because people haven’t really taken the time to fully understand just how much work it takes into restoring a Civic piece-by-piece….

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Just look at the engine bay. You’d think that it was stock with just an authentic Mugen Formula valve cover but again, almost every piece is brand new. Even simple things like the headlight and chassis harness is brand new Honda stock. How he managed to find these things is beyond me but Jason Haradon is a completely different animal when it comes to building Hondas. We thought his DA Integra was perfect. This Civic right here exceeds that by far….

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A “mint” set of NR-10Rs with decals these days probably goes for an upwards for $3000 plus. I don’t even want to know how much these near perfect NR-10Rs are worth. They are probably the most expensive manhole covers EVER, haha….

All I could really do when I saw Jason’s Civic was stare at it in awe. I thought I had seen it all already and apparently I was fucking wrong. You can’t even put his build into words that would justify its value within the vast Honda enthusiasts’ community. You can’t even use the word “immaculate” anymore when you talk about other Honda builds. This is a game changer right here. As Jason said to me, this will either be the future of the Honda community or no one will understand it….

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Mikey’s toys on display at The Chronicles booth after we finished setting it up….

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We plan to take this thing apart as soon as this week to begin some more work on it. Hope you guys like what you see when it re-emerges at my annual anniversary event in November….

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WFSJ is probably the last time you’ll get to see this motor with all the forced-induction components on it…

After we got everything situated, it was time to head back to the hotel to pick up the rest of our group and head down to San Francisco. Every year we go to Norcal for Wekfest, we make it a tradition to head down to Fisherman’s Wharf to grab food and walk around….

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I brought my Odyssey to Fisherman’s Wharf last year where it got peppered with Seagull shit so I vowed to never bring it again. It made for cool pictures but it just wasn’t worth messing up my paint anymore. Good thing we had a rental to destroy this time around…

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The local eateries at the Wharf always have some of the best street food…

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Fresh crab on deck…

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Shrimp and crab rolls….

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Clam Chowder in a bread bowl is a must….

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Our buddy Loreto, who is from San Jose, came out to the Wharf with us to chill and enjoy some foods. I don’t think he goes to the Wharf very often himself so it was fun to explore with him and his wife-to-be Leslie….

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It’s not a good vacation unless you EAT….

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Phaze2 Mizzark’s baby boy Mateo got to experience San Francisco for the first time. He’s too young to know what is going on but it was cool to see the family together on vacation….

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We walked around with Phaze2 Mateo while his parents enjoyed their food…

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Salem, Mateo, and Mikey…..

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Local surroundings….

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After we left the Wharf, we headed over to check-out the Golden Gate Bridge. Dinner happened after that but it was nothing spectacular. We rested-up and then prepared for the madness that was to come the following day for Wekfest San Jose. That’s a wrap for Part 1. Make sure to come back tomorrow for much more! Thanks for looking…

4 thoughts

  1. Hey men, I was looking for you at the event, never found you, I saw your booth, Mikey and Mikey’s integra, I came from Mexico and wanted to say hello, been following your GREAT work , nevermind, I hope there’s gonna be another opportunity, Greetings!!!

  2. Pingback: Wekfest San Jose 2014 Coverage…Part 2… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  3. Pingback: Wekfest San Jose 2014 Coverage…Part 4… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  4. Pingback: Wekfest San Jose 2014 Coverage…Part 5 of 5…The Finale… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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