Wekfest Hawaii 2015 Coverage…Part 1 of 2…

About a week after I got back from Japan, I pretty much just moved whatever I had packed into a smaller luggage and flew out to Hawaii. My sleep schedule was completely fucked but it is normally fucked even without traveling so I was ready for the Wekfest Hawaii event. Though I’ve been on the Wekfest tour for a couple of years now, Hawaii is not typically a stop that they bring me along on. It is a smaller show compared to the others on the tour but I think they realized that I have a pretty strong following on the island and felt it necessary to bring me in as a judge. Things seemed all too familiar in Hawaii, especially since I had just been there last August for the Spocom Hawaii show. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the car scene in Hawaii but things don’t change too often. Unlike the community out here on the West Coast, things don’t move nearly as quickly and so the cars tend to have less of a dramatic change over time. Hawaii is a strong community of car enthusiasts but they are also very much in their own world. Have you ever heard of the concept of “Island Time”? Well, Island Time is pretty much everyone there just doing things on their own time and not really giving a shit about what goes on anywhere else, haha. That means people just kind of work at their own pace and aren’t exactly the type of people you would imagine to be “on time” for much of anything. Their automotive community, as a whole, is also on Island Time. They mod their cars their own way and to their own standards. They don’t conform to current trends or worry about what the hot thing is at the moment. Hawaiians just do their own thing. That is both a good and bad thing. On one hand, it helps them to offer a very unique perspective when it comes to modifying their vehicles because they aren’t abiding to current trends but on the other hand, things also tend to be a little slower there, and as such, their community doesn’t grow at the same pace…

The most interesting thing about the Hawaiian car scene is the variety. The spectrum is wide even with such a small group of enthusiasts that you either see builds that are really, really good, or you encounter cars that are really, really, bad….if that makes sense. Lets just say that there are people there that “get it” and some who aren’t quite there yet. I think many factors contribute to that but the ones who are really good at what they do have learned from the older generation of motorheads from Hawaii. Some are actually older guys who are still building cars. I don’t know what happened but somewhere during the mid-2000s, the Hawaiian car community just sort of vanished. I remember in the early 2000s, guys like me from out here in Cali were looking to Hawaii for inspiration. Sites like DOHC Research and Team Rice were producing some great cars…then, it just kinda stopped. I don’t know if drifting took over and people forgot how to build cars there or what but there was a noticeable gap between the time. It is good to see that their community is strong now but still, there is a very obvious difference between the older car guys and the new generation of tuners who just build slammed, stance-themed cars, with no interest in putting a car together with quality or attention to detail…

The link between Hawaii and Japan has always been very strong. So much so that it seemed like Hawaiians had a better understanding of Japanese tuning culture than the rest of North America. Their cars used to represent that…soooo…what happened?…Japanese VIP style is as strong as ever but there are very few Hondas that you could really compare to the ones on the island from yesteryear. Their Nissan S-chassis stuff was epic before too but even they seem to be few and far between nowadays. Maybe people just stopped caring and moved onto building VIP cars. Or maybe people just don’t bring their cars out anymore. I’m not sure…

Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of great builds from the island but there is still a lot of growth there. Perhaps there is a lack of proper motivation there, and that is why shows like Wekfest are important, because they represent change and create competition. A venue change might help, especially since every show seems to be held in the same building but at the same time, should it matter? The environment shouldn’t be a detriment to what you want to create. It is merely a platform for you to display your work. I love Hawaii though and see a lot of positives, especially because there are good people out there. It was a pleasure talking to many of them and seeing how excited they were to be at the show. I think as we continue to move forward there will be progress there. It just takes a little longer because they are moving at their own pace…

Below is the first half of what I captured during my visit to Hawaii for Wekfest. These represent the cars that caught my eye, most good, some bad, and everything in-between. I think you’ll see what I mean when I saw that there is a lot of variety with their cars. You’ll also be able to spot the differences between the older enthusiasts and the new/current generation. Thanks to everyone in Hawaii for the hospitality and those who I had a chance to chat with in the short time I was there. I look forward to being back and seeing the continued growth….

IMG_6978-Edit

IMG_6981-Edit

One of the first cars that I encountered that morning of the WFHI event was Mike Matsumoto’s Acura NSX. You’d think a guy with an NSX is a big baller with all kinds of money to spend but from chatting with one of Mike’s friends, it is actually quite the opposite. He actually just has a regular job and works a ton of overtime to make money just to spend on his NSX. I can respect that…

IMG_7023-Edit

New for this year on his NSX were these 3-piece SSR Professor SP3s…

IMG_6983-Edit

IMG_6986-Edit

Right behind him was this JZA80 Supra from the same car club, SMG Hawaii…

IMG_6990-Edit

Another Supra from SMG, this one bagged and wearing Ridox aero….

IMG_6995-Edit

Interesting to see how many Supras are floating around in Hawaii, and apparently they are all from SMG, haha…

IMG_7001-Edit

Alex Yang’s E92 BMW M3 featuring a rare Powerhouse Amuse Ericsson M480 aero kit and 19-inch Volk Racing TE37s. He also has a carbon Varis rear wing…

IMG_7011-Edit

Spoon Sports-themed AP1 S2000 on Regamaster EVO…

IMG_7022-Edit

Brandon K’s S2000 CR in Apex Blue on gunmetal MB Battles…

IMG_7014-Edit

Full ASM-equipped S2000 on bronze Volk ZE40s….

IMG_7006-Edit

Wide rear-end of a Liberty Walk R35 GTR nicknamed “Walk U”…

IMG_7027-Edit

The R35 planted to the show floor on Airrex air suspension….

IMG_7031-Edit

Even the plated RSV Forged wheels had a custom center caps that had the words “Walk U” engraved into them…

IMG_7036-Edit

BN Sports-kitted Lexus IS300 looking like an Altezza straight out of Japan…

IMG_7038-Edit

This Honda Odyssey look great on red Volk TE37 wheels…

IMG_7041-Edit

The BN IS getting set to park at the JSPIRIT booth…

IMG_7052-Edit

Rocket Bunny Version II Scion FR-S in all white with Work Meister wheels…

IMG_7055-Edit

IMG_7048-Edit

Chris Bornios’ VIP LS430 build rocking a brand new set of Work Durandal DD5.2 wheels and a freshly-painted bronze metallic roof…

IMG_7058-Edit

Scion FR-S with an Aimgain front bumper…

IMG_7059-Edit

Another shot of the Rocket Bunny FR-S and its Work Meister M1 wheels…

IMG_7064-Edit

Back outside, I spotted this S13 240SX coupe with JDM 180SX Type-X front bumper….

IMG_7067-Edit

I really liked this turbocharged Toyota pick-up with a 4Runer front end, flared fenders, and a custom carbon front chin spoiler…

IMG_7071-Edit

Matsumoto’s NSX once again…

IMG_7077-Edit

IMG_7083-Edit

…as well as the Ridox Supra…

IMG_7080-Edit

…and the Supra whose owner goes by the IG handle “@mysupraneverwins”….

IMG_7089-Edit

This dark green EH Civic looked great on white Mugen NR wheels and BYS lip/rear duckbill….

IMG_7096-Edit

Lance Harano’s award-winning Toyota Sprinter…

IMG_7098-Edit

Really aggressive wheel fitment on this Civic sedan from SMG…

IMG_7105-Edit

Evade AE86, which I did a story on a couple years back for Import Tuner magazine. Nice to see that it is all still together in one-piece…

IMG_7111-Edit

Another of the green Civic on Mugen NR wheels. The car also has Mugen or Mugen-style sides…

IMG_7113-Edit

Interesting touch with the chromed fender flares on Harano’s TE27 Corolla…

IMG_7118-Edit

Brian Mikami’s RA20 Celica…

IMG_7125-Edit

One more of the supercharged Evade AE86 wearing J-Blood aero…

IMG_7130-Edit

Section-D AE86 coupe on Work Equip 03…

IMG_7131-Edit

A shot of the rear end of Lance’s Mango and his chrome flares…

IMG_7132-Edit

When the streets fuck with you heavily so you need a homie to carry your front lip into the show for you…

IMG_7138-Edit

Wild custom UCF30 from Empire VIP….

IMG_7141-Edit

Another shot of the “Walk U” Liberty Walk GTR…

IMG_7142-Edit

The Spoon Sports S2000 eventually made its way into the building…

IMG_7146-Edit

IMG_7151-Edit

Alex Yang’s Ericsson M3 on display in the Mackin Industries booth…

IMG_7148-Edit

IMG_7153-Edit

Also in the Mackin booth with the ASM S2000 showcasing Rays’ new Volk ZE wheel in their traditional bronze finish…

IMG_7157-Edit

Lexon-styled Lexus IS pancaked on Work Emotion CR….

IMG_7159-Edit

Bagged CL9 TSX from Team Showcase that had a very extensive mod list…

IMG_7161-Edit

A better look at the Civic from earlier under the bright convention center lighting…

IMG_7162-Edit

IMG_7168-Edit

LTMW-built Liberty Walk 997 GT3 on display right at the entrance of the WFHI event….I believe this is the first and probably the only LB*Works Porsche 997 on the island…

IMG_7169-Edit

Brian Mikami’s Celica GT coupe…

IMG_7173-Edit

IMG_7176-Edit

More of the Evade 86 and a look at the supercharged 4A-GZE motor set-up under the J-Blood hood…

IMG_7179-Edit

Always good to see a nicely-modded, clean, AE86 that isn’t all beat-up and rotting….

IMG_7183-Edit

The windshield banner says it all…haha…

IMG_7184-Edit

Slammed Subaru WRX wagon on Volk TE37V. Reminds me a lot of Jamie’s Subaru Wagon from San Diego even though this one is a newer model WRX. Both are red and sitting on TE37Vs…

IMG_7187-Edit

One of the main reasons why Hawaii has so many vehicles on air suspension is that a lot of the island has some pretty shitty roads, particularly in the city. Sometimes it is necessary to just air-up so you can get down the street without destroying your car…The Subaru above is an example of an otherwise, fully-functional Subaru that is bagged…

IMG_7188-Edit

Like the Subaru above, this one is also a bagged STI sedan….

IMG_7189-Edit

Closing out Part 1 with a shot of this really clean period-correct EF CR-X with a ton of UK-spec OEM parts and a clean set of SSR Hasemi S5 wheels. Looks to be a build of old that just stood the test of time. I’m glad that the owner brought it out for all to see. Great job..

That’s all for now. Happy Chinese New Year to everyone and have a great weekend! Part 2 comes next! Stay tuned!…

One thought

  1. Your observations are quite correct Joey! After living here (Oahu) my whole life, I have seen the scene going from the flourishing hub of the purist JDM sport’s/tuner car scene in the early 2000’s, to the lame hype/stance show it’s become today. Like you mentioned, it has always been a scene split among the young and old generations, and a lot of what held that together was the actual act of racing/motorsport’s (Much like Japan…). Since the only Racetrack available here on Oahu shut-down (Coincidentally when the scene started dissolving/going underground…), the amount of enthusiasts has dwindled. Essentially any modified car here is a “show queen”… Even if one wants to partake in any street fun, the traffic lately is horrendous and will only get worse (Not to mention the roads are of 3rd world quality in most areas not being pimped to tourist’s as you mentioned…). Only the die-hard’s are still making quality build’s, and because of the “island economy” (High cost of living due to shipping/remoteness.), many are reluctant to show off their hard work… Sad to say Joey, but I think our scene is on the slow road to extinction. And as our scene is marginalized and condensed it will surely bear some gem’s in the future. One thing I am sure of is we planted the seed’s back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s for many of the “scene’s ” existing today (JDM Honda’s and Drifting to name a few…), and that’s something we can be proud of! Good coverage Joey, and thanks for the nostalgic flashback/mindjog!

Leave a Reply