Wekfest Seattle 2017 Coverage… Part 1…

**The following words below are of the opinion of myself only. They do not reflect the views of anyone else but myself and are under no contractual obligation to Wekfest USA and do not reflect their views. If the words cut you deep down inside and you’re offended by it, then these words are for you. If the shoe fits, you fucking wear it.**

I love the Pacific Northwest. I really do. There’s something about that region, particularly the city of Seattle, that’s special. I started going to Seattle in 2013 to shoot cars up there for Super Street magazine and after my initial trip, I now find myself going back there every year. People always wonder why I travel specifically up to that area to shoot cars because it isn’t an area that is spoken much. It is a region that I feel is largely slept-on because you just don’t hear much about the car enthusiasts there. The people there generally keep to themselves and the car scene is very much the same way. They have their own events and people from there attend them, but it’s sort of like Hawaii in that things don’t change a whole lot there. They have what they have and many enthusiasts there are perfectly content with what they have. Washington was somewhere I wanted to go because I’ve always known about a small group of guys there that built some pretty incredible Hondas. For those looking for a bit of a history lesson, about 10-15 years ago, Seattle had a thriving car scene. They had plenty of events, and shows like Import Showoff and Hot Import Nights made the city of Seattle an annual destination. They were known for some high-quality builds and some of the guys from the region would even make the trek down to Southern California every now and then to compete at some of our biggest shows. I still remember the day when a guy by the name of Christian Coujin showed-up to Hot Import Nights L.A. in a complete VeilSide Fortune Model Supra. The car was completely mind-blowing and way ahead of its time. He won “Best of Show” that day and the car later went on to appear on the cover of a popular import magazine that was in publication at the time. As a younger guy in the car scene back then, I looked-up to guys like that who could build cars of that caliber. I believe Coujin now is building Porsches all over the world alongside Akira Nakai of RWB. He appeared on my IG page one day and I even spotted that same Supra sitting atop a hoist in his garage, still looking as great as it did back in the early 2000s. That’s crazy to me. There was another guy to who was killing it back then from that area who owned another Supra and later an R34 Skyline GT-R. I forget his name but I’m sure some of you old PNWers would know his name. Anyways, before I get stuck in this trip down memory lane, the scene was incredible there. In terms of Hondas, the guys from Trik Speed were building cars as good as anybody at the top of their game out here in California, but they did it with their own style. I remember always looking for photos of their cars when I was younger, looking for inspiration and right-click saving whatever I could find in event coverage websites. Hawaii was going strong back then too but both were just very different in terms of execution and both very independent from the style that was developing here in Cali. Over the years, it seemed like the scene up there sort of slowed down and withered away. Some guys got older and got rid of there cars while some just went into hiding once all the popular car shows stopped going up there. A new flood of enthusiasts came around after the Fast and Furious-boom and it shifted the landscape of the car scene forever. There were more young people getting into cars and a lot of the older people just didn’t see the scene going in the direction that they wanted. Styles evolved or devolved, however you want to look at it, and in the last few years, “stance” became all the rage and that’s all people were into it seemed…

Even though we all never heard much from the Pacific Northwest, I knew there were still some hidden gems up there. Every year I would go, I would uncover more of these great cars. With the way the weather is up there, you never get to see much of these gems because they are stored away in the garage. It rains up there so much that people just don’t have much time to bring their cars out for anything. In the summer, there would be sort spurts of time when it would be nice and sunny and I’d always try to arrange a weekend to shoot when I knew the weather might be decent. The first year I went up there, it was so cold that I woke up with my rental car covered in ice. I had to shoot cars in the rain and though it made for interesting photos, they weren’t ideal situations to be shooting in. The more I got involved with the enthusiasts up there, the more I figured out my way around there. I told them I’d come back every year and when I did, I’d try to bring more friends up there to enjoy the area with me. The last couple of years, I even started throwing a car meet up there so I could meet more enthusiasts and the gatherings just became HUGE. There were so many cars and people coming out that we’d literally shut down the area of Alki Beach and police would have to come and escort everyone out. I made some good friends out there, most of them being older guys who were my age or a little older who were around during the years when their community was thriving. Some of the guys still had their cars from that time period and just stored them. Over the years, I got to see many of the cars I once saw only online and eventually some of the guys sold their cars and moved onto other projects. Some just stopped working on cars but would still hang out with the others because they’d become good friends through cars. I had hoped some of them would have held onto their cars a little longer because I knew one day that I’d find some way to bring an event up there for them to bring their cars out to for the newer generation of car enthusiasts to appreciate. In some ways I think that maybe we just came back a few years too late, but that’s also just me being selfish and really wishing people could keep their builds forever. And that’s just not realistic…

When Wekfest was looking for potential new stops on their nationwide tour, Seattle was the first place that I really lobbied for. After having car meets there and meeting so many interesting car people, I knew this was the best location to add to the tour. The city of Seattle is beautiful, the food is great, and I wholeheartedly believed that we would be doing ourselves as car hobbyists an injustice if we didn’t cast that bright spotlight onto that city. Let’s bring some excitement back to that region by breathing some new life into it. The great thing about Seattle is that it is also only about 2 1/2 hours away from Vancouver, so you’d get a huge injection of automotive talent coming down from Canada to showcase their builds. And let’s not forget about the neighboring state of Oregon as well. I’ve shot some cars from there during my trips to Washington and have written plenty of stories for features cars from Oregon through the years. It is also a place that houses many great builds that most of never heard of. What more could you really ask for? It was the perfect addition to the tour. When my buddy Kenneth Li from Wekfest told me that it was official, man, I was so fucking stoked. I started leaking the news to some of my friends from up there and they didn’t even believe it. Like they almost were shocked that anyone even cared about their community up there. Some didn’t even believe it. The funny part of it was that people kept asking me if I was going to throw a meet this year. I was like “Dude, really? We’re doing a fucking huge car show up there now! We don’t need to have a meet anymore!!”..

On the content-side of things, this was my opportunity to really reset and to get my photography back on track. I had balked HARD on the last two events with trying to get my own car ready that I found myself with little to no time to shoot at both Wekfest Long Beach and San Jose. With Seattle being the next stop, a brand NEW stop, I was going to finally have a chance to shoot, and boy did I shoot a lot. There’s just something exciting about seeing a new crop of cars from a different area to help re-invigorate the creative spirit. I knew I could pull some good cars from that area but with a major car show series hitting that area, I had no doubt that we’d be seeing some builds we have never seen before. California seems to be in a bit of a stagnated state currently so I couldn’t wait to really get away to see some new shit. You guys from Cali know what I’m talking about too. We have a lot of events out here but we just haven’t seen too many new builds lately. We’re just sort of stuck in this Rocket Bunny/Liberty Walk/widebody -everything phase and every car is starting to look sort of the same, sadly, and we’ll eventually get out of it, trust me, but right now…. I really don’t know what to do with it… It almost reminds me of a time back in 2002 when I went to a car show and every car had a Buddy Club front bumper on it, it was the most insane thing ever. Like what the fuck is going on here? EVERY car. I’m talking about the Buddy Club front bumper for the EK Civic chassis. Fucking bumper was on EVERYTHING; Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan. Fuck man. That’s what it feels like now. Except Buddy Club bumpers are now fake Rocket Bunny kits. You guys know they make other body kits for cars right? Stop making fake FR-S Rocket Bunny panels fit on your cars. THEY DON’T FIT! There’s such a thing called “body lines” that people need to follow for Christ’s sake. I’m going off on a weird tangent again. Okay, anyways, Seattle…

It was just the perfect time to get away from California for awhile. Even though I’m being negative, Wekfest San Jose was a great event, probably the best Norcal event since the move to San Jose after the Fort Mason years. I was really happy with it. There were great cars there, many I’d seen before, many built by friends of mine, and some that I’d never seen until that weekend. But I’m not gonna lie, I sort of went into Wekfest San Jose looking forward to my trip to Seattle already because I knew it was probably going to be possibly the best show of the year, and it’s only early July. People were surprised when I told them how excited I was, and even the people from Wekfest seemed a little nervous about how the show would do. There was no way it wouldn’t be a good event. New city, great weather, excited enthusiasts from both the Pacific Northwest and Canada, what could go wrong? I forgot to mention that the show would also be held inside Centurylink Field’s own convention center, which is wedged in-between the stadium where the Seattle Seahawks played and Safeco Field where the Seattle Mariners call home. The venue is fucking beautiful. The odds were in our favor. What’s the worst that could possible happen? If the show sucked we’d just blame it on the city and never go back there again, lol…I’m just kidding of course, that would never happen. The next best option they had was this “fitment”-based car show which is an event that was basically forced down their throats of everyone up there because they don’t have any other options. They just want your money and send you this “TOP 100” decal, which is a blatant rip-off of a design by the way, that they say you can “flaunt all year”.  Who the fuck wants to be Top 100 of anything anyways? That’s like an attendance award for going to class every day. You get this warm fuzzy feeling inside that you accomplished something but then you realize that 99 other people did that same shit too. What’s rewarding about that?

“I paid this guy a lot of money to eat my sandwich and he told me my sandwich tasted as good as 99 other sandwiches.” 

Doesn’t that sound lazy to anyone else?

People may not always agree with the shit I say but there’s no one out there that will tell you that I’m not passionate about this car community and continuing to try to help push it forward. I think bringing a big event like Wekfest to Seattle will help to inject a new sense of excitement in that region. People will be motivated and have another reason to want to build better. After experiencing the show first hand, I firmly believe that it’ll be a regular stop on the tour and the car enthusiasts from that region will be back better and better year after year. I’m excited to show you guys the photos I collected during that trip so that many of you who weren’t familiar with the cars from there will have a better understanding of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. For those who still live there or once called that area home, you, your friends, and your fellow car guys will finally get the exposure you all deserve(d). It was also nice to get a taste of what Canada has to offer. Perhaps it may be time to devote some more time to getting to know our Canadian brethren as well…

Enjoy and make sure to check back for more, as there are a ton of photos to go through and upload this week…

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I figured I’d do this coverage the more traditional way by including some candid photos that we captured during our adventures roaming around Washington. There aren’t a lot but Seattle is such a beautiful city that you almost have to take non-car photos. Above is how downtown Seattle looks from beautiful Alki Beach…

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Justin and Ken taking in Alki and the unicorn that was a Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible that we spotted…

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The day before the event took place, we spent a few hours at Pikes Place Market, a popular tourist destination in Washington and also home to the first ever Starbucks…

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Speaking of which, here’s a quick glimpse of the original Starbucks coffee shop and the original logo/colors…

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I was able to convince Yasu Shimomukai from Exceed Japan to stay for three weeks so he could attend both Wekfest events in San Jose and Seattle. This was actually his first time going to another state in the U.S. that wasn’t California, Arizona, or Nevada…

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One of my favorite spots to stop at in Washington is Piroshky Piroshky, a Russian bakery located in the busy marketplace…

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Tiffanie with her summer ‘fit on…

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Preston formerly of Function & Form now on the Wekfest team, visiting Seattle for the first time…

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Ken from Wekfest enjoying a Smoked Salmon Pate Piroshky…

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Tiffanie got some fresh Peonies so we got some photos in front of the famed Farmer’s Market…

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The view of Seattle, along with the Space Needle and Mount Rainier from Kerry Park viewpoint…

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We had a pretty big group of first-timers in Seattle this time around so I was essentially the tour guide for them throughout the weekend, taking them to all the landmarks and popular food spots…

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Gotta get that phone time in even when there’s plenty of sightseeing to do…

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We arrived at Centurylink Field at 6 AM the following morning to set-up for the Wekfest event. Vendor roll-in started at 7 and one of the first cars in the building was this beautiful red BMW E30 M3 on BBS wheels from Rennstall…

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Red S2000 low on bronze Volk Racing CE28 entering the venue to check-in for the event…

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A couple of Rucks from Trik Speed parked at the entrance awaiting set-up…

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Glad to see my first set of Ganador mirrors early in the morning on Austin’s FD RX-7…

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Accord sedan with Mugen lip kit, front grille, and Work Emotion wheels…

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RE Amemiya FC3S RX-7 sitting appropriately on Enkei Racing wheels, true to the traditional RE-look from Japan…

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Rocket Bunny Z33 on deep-dish Superstar Leon Hardiritt Ordens…

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Bill Master’s turbocharged EP3 Civic is one of the best Honda builds from that region that has been around for quite some time now. Guys like him help to set a high-standard up there which has helped to really keep the Honda community strong in the PNW…

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One of the builds that I was really hoping to see at Wekfest Seattle was Jackie Law’s turbocharged S2000 from Canada. I’ve been following his build for years now so it was cool to finally see it in person. Plenty more to come of this car later…

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Chris from LEVEL ONE’s J32-swapped V6 Civic equipped with a huge Comptech supercharger. Interesting to see shaved moldings on a Civic in 2017 but one could assume that this was probably done quite some time ago. The front end features a Sergeant front bumper, First Molding front lip, J’s Racing wide fenders, J’s GT wing, and orange Volk Racing TE37…

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Brandon’s S15 Silvia Spec-R from GOOD VIBES on bronze Volk TEs. Second set of Ganador mirrors that morning…

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Jody Cheung’s AP2 S2000 with Voltex front bumper and front/rear flares to hold the concave white Volk TE37 wheels…

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Sam Du decided that it was a good idea to drive the Super Street Rocket Bunny Scion FR-S up to Seattle from L.A. Four breakdowns and almost a lost set of car keys later, perhaps Sam realized it was not the best idea to make that drive…

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One of the best Honda builds you’ll ever see and most likely the best DC5 ever-built stateside is Huy Hoang’s custom all-metal widebody, turbocharged, Mugen RSX. I had the pleasure of shooting this car for Super Street magazine a couple years ago and was overwhelmed by the quality inside and out. If you’d like to learn more about it, CLICK HERE to read the digital version of the feature I put together for it…

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Mel Diego’s Mugen EP3 Civic is another really lowkey great Honda build from the PNW that was also featured in Honda Tuning magazine back when it was in publication. Not much has changed with this build over the years and there’s nothing you really need to do it to improve it. He just put these 17-inch Mugen MF10 wheels on it and it just looks fucking perfect…

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The crazy thing about Huy Hoang is that he just shits money all over the place and brought not one, not two, but THREE of his builds to Wekfest Seattle. The above white Mugen RSX is another project of his meant originally to be his daily driver. I don’t know what’s more difficult, figuring out how to keep three cars clean for the show, paying the registration fees for three cars, or trying to find enough people willing to wake-up early to drive your cars for you into the event…

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Jerimiah Styles’ beautifully put-together DA Integra with Mugen M7 wheels, Mugen side skirts, Mugen rear spoiler, and JDP front lip. He’s still waiting on a set of Mugen seats to show-up to complete his car and then we’ll probably get together some time to get a feature story done on this timeless build…

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Richard Ly’s Acura NSX wearing rare I’s Impact aero and Volk Racing CE28N…

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Jerwin Rumbaua’s black NSX using Downforce widened front fenders up front to house the gold BBS LM F1 Edition wheels…

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Centurylink Field providing a great backdrop for the sleek lines of Honda’s 90s supercar…

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The front lip of Jerwin’s NA2 front end meeting the pavement as he rolls into the convention center…

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It was surprising to see so many NSXs at this event, so much so that Wekfest even created an NSX Class category for the first time ever to award the best two of the show…

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Ben from LEVEL ONE’s Canadian NA2 NSX looking nice and low on Volk TE37SL…

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Subaru WRX wearing a catalog of Voltex aero pieces….

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S15 Silvia on some white VeilSide Andrews Racing wheels, which is a bit of a rare sight…

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I gotta admit that it was pretty cool to see the old Fast and Furious “Tokyo Drift” livery applied on this Rocket Bunny widebody S15 Silvia from Oregon. Even though the car didn’t get much screen time in the movie it is just one of those graphic schemes that will be forever familiar…

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Hakosuka Skyline GTX running big fender flares and a set of bronze Volk TE37V…

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Canadian VIP-style done well with this Mode Parfume Lexus GS300 on WED’S wheels running a custom set of dancing L.E.D. taillights…

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One of the coolest builds by far was this 1st generation Honda Civic hatchback, which featured a custom widebody kit made by the owner, and under the hood was a chromed-out turbocharged single cam. Crazy. The owner even rebuilt a set of Epsilon wheels to fit under the flares snuggly…

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Another car I’ve long been waiting to see in person was Benny from Slowlane’s complete Spirit Rei Onevia. He’s still waiting on some new wheels and stuff to come but the current stage of the car is fucking money. He didn’t put his Spirit Rei front bumper on until he got inside the venue but that just left an opportunity for everyone to see the massive front-mount intercooler from his Toyota 1JZ-GTE swap…

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Alvin’s slammed E24 BMW 6-series coupe looking good on Alpina wheels…

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PSM Dynamic M4 widebody BMW owned by Kevin Huynh…

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If you were Charles Wong, you’d be all smiles as well in this R34 Skyline GT-R V-Spec from Vancouver…

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Right behind it was an R35 GT-R in black, running a set of Volk Racing TE37 Ultra…

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Cris Kuan’s Kraftwerks-supercharged Varis Arising narrow-body 86…

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Some enthusiasts traveling from all over to to be a part of Wekfest Seattle weren’t used to the 1/4-tank gas rules that most convention centers have in place for indoor shows so some guys were forced to figure out ways to burn some fuel before entering. This guy either had too much gas or was just having too much fun making all kinds of noise. Luckily I was able to capture a nice little flame shooting out from his exhaust that morning…

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Classic combination of white and Volk Mag Blue on this Voltex-widened Mitsubishi Evolution…

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Even Kei cars made an appearance at Wekfest Seattle, this one looking pristine on a set of RS Watanabe wheels…

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This red Civic featured a custom carbon fiber lip kit all the way around, contrasting against the red paint and the gold of the Volk RE30s…

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SR20DET-powered Datsun 510 coupe with molded flares on Epsilon wheels…

Well, we are off to a great start, right? Hope you guys enjoyed some early morning shots of some of the many great builds at the Wekfest Seattle event. Please come back and check out more as the updates come!!…

7 thoughts

  1. Pingback: Wekfest San Jose 2017 [Event Coverage Part 5] | MoMoHitsTheSpot!

  2. Epic start to an awesome show! Glad to see some EP3s and Huy’s Integras are amazing.
    Surprising to see a lot of cars I follow on Instagram. Quality.
    Epic photos Joey.
    Blair, New Zealand

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