Wekfest Chicago 2016 Coverage…Part 1 of 2…

Chicago seems very familiar to me. I don’t know why, but whenever I go back there, I always feel like I’ve seen many of the cars that make up its highly-interesting tuner community. I say “highly-interesting” because it really is. There are great cars that exist in that region but I always hear about how many of the enthusiasts that make-up the community there don’t necessarily care for one another. It’s weird. I don’t know if it has a lot to do with the competitive-nature of its inhabitants or just the unrelenting fear of someone knowing about your car, possibly making it a target for theft, but Chicago as a city, is very “cliquey”. Enthusiasts tend to stick to their own cliques and everyone else generally keeps to themselves. I’ve gotten to know the community fairly-well because of people like Ginash from JDM Chicago and his friends. I visited last year for another event and they welcomed me with open arms. They even took me around the city and gave me a general rundown of the car people that make up the city. From our discussions, they passed along their feelings on their own community, its many shortcomings, and how they hoped things would change…

When Wekfest first hit the city of Chicago years ago, it wasn’t met with very high acclaim. The show struggled and it left a bad taste in both the mouths of Wekfest organizers as well as the enthusiasts that attended the show. I wasn’t around for the tour back then but Chicago was its very first stop outside of California so it wasn’t far-fetched in thinking that there would be issues. I just don’t think anyone expected it to be so bad that they wouldn’t come back until 2016. In the six years since that first event, much has changed. The Wekfest name has grown throughout the nation and has since become a household name within the automotive tuning community. It would appear that they had ironed-out their previous kinks during their first stop and would erase any lingering effects that were leftover from year’s past. 2016 would be Wekfest’s year of redemption in the state of Illinois…

As mentioned, I wasn’t on the tour the first time around so I didn’t know what to expect. I was familiar with many of the cars from my visits last year but walked into the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center with a very open mind. I was greeted with many familiar faces but was surprised by just how many people came from other states to be at Wekfest. I think if anything, that was validation that the show had finally meant something more to the Midwest because of so many visitors from all over. Cars came by nearby states in Wisconsin and stretched-out to as far as New York. I think there were people who even made the trip from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I think it helps that Chicago is in such a central area because its a big city that people want to visit and as such, helps to bring people to Wekfest. Overall, I think it was a great show. It is always nice to be back in Chicago and I even spent some time exploring as a tourist this time around. The show had a variety of great cars to look at and the overall vibe was very positive. From chatting with the locals this year, I think they were more satisfied and felt redeemed. Even with the early shortcomings from Wekfest’s first visit, it wasn’t totally on their fault. The people from this region felt that they wanted to be better representatives of the community so both the enthusiasts and the Wekfest staff worked together to put on a great show….

I posted the two-part Vlog on YouTube last week while I was in Japan, and this week, you will see the two-part photo series. Enjoy and take in many of the great builds that were present that day at Wekfest Chicago…

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Illinois-native Michael Braeuner’s Varis Arising Mitsubishi Evo X…

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Nick Dela Rosa’s Varis Subaru WRX STI airred-up outside while waiting for staging…

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Bronze Volk Racing ZE40 wheels paired with yellow AP Racing big brakes…

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Nice job with the full Varis livery…

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Chris Stewart from Grid Life and his imported Honda Street Kei Van…

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Lamborghini Huracan in flat black finish from GT Haus…

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Another Huracan, this one in a sultry red finish…

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Joe Cheung and his Toyota FJ Cruiser served as both a tow and display vehicle at Wekfest Chicago….

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Early morning roll-in with not the most pleasant of driveways…

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Another look at the oddly-sized Street van. Almosts looks too small for America…

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Steve Lowell’s K-swapped and supercharged Civic hatchback with BYS front lip and Sprint Hart CP-Rs…

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Anointed Aero widebody DC5 RSX…

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Nawshin Basher’s freshly-painted Voltex Evolution from New York….

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David Lee’s RPS13 240SX with rare GT-1 Motorsports kit and Rays-produced Nismo wheels from Touge Factory…

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Latest-model Ford Mustang GT on Volk Racing TE37 Ultra…

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Always good to see my friend Marcus Cooke and his Infiniti G35 sedan. He is from Long Beach originally but moved out to Illinois last year for a better job opportunity. His G35 went with him of course and now the Midwest gets to enjoy his hardwork…

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Dual EF Civic hatchback builds from Ramblers car club…

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My old friend Chris Sullivan and his AP1 S2000 on Volk TE37…

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Mico aka Geekylurv’s EM1 Civic coupe on SSR Type-C…

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I kept seeing this S2000 with Circuit Garage flares throughout the weekend while I was exploring Chicago…

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Rocket Bunny Scion FR-S on 3-piece black-faced Work Meister S1…

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Love the color-combo on this S2000. Can’t really go wrong with the classic Rays bronze finish on the blue…

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Spotted this Subaru WRX STI outside and couldn’t help but enjoy the aggressive Desmond wheels on it…

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The owner, Matt Wirtz actually made the drive from Wisconsin and recently completed the tucked engine bay set-up…

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Interesting to see the Regamaster decals on a Desmond Marquis wheel…

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I thought this Corolla looked nice under this blossoming tree outside the venue. Looks almost “Japan-like”…

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This Corolla was one of the cleanest builds of that entire event and I loved the mint set of SSR Longchamp XR4 wheels on it…

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Basher’s Evo all cleaned-up and ready for the show. For those that don’t remember, this Evo used to be silver. The entire car was repainted and the engine bay completely retooled for the new look. Everything on this car was touched or modified at one point or another from the repaint, to the full Bride interior, down to the little details like the Acura MDX “Jewel Eye” retrofit. I think immediately upon seeing it up close I realized that it was the Best of Show already…

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These two two Mugen Integra Type Rs came from two different states just to be a part of the Wekfest Chicago event…

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Shyam Sookram’s ITR previously had a BYS front bumper set-up but he switched things up in 2016 by going with a complete Mugen aero kit complete with the Mugen Gen. II spoiler. Shyam actually made the drive all the way from New York…

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Making the 5-hour trek from Iowa was Chen Huang and his Mugen Integra Type R. Unlike Shyam’s ITR, Chen’s is a bit more aggressive and non-traditional with the J’s Racing front fenders, custom over fenders, and paint-matched J’s Racing rear wing. He also has a K-swap with individual throttle bodies while Shyam’s R retains the B-series motor…

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Turbocharged Civic hatchback with a big front-mount intercooler and carbon front lip…

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One more of the GT-1 240SX all cleaned-up and show-ready…

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Closing-out Part 1 for now with this custom Toyota Aristo from Royal Republic looking nearly unidentifiable with the Toyota Crown face-swap…

More to come, so stay tuned for more! If you haven’t seen the Vlogs for the Wekfest Chicago 2016 event yet, head on over to the official Stickydiljoe.com YouTube Channel to catch-up!…

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