Wekfest Japan 2018 Coverage… Part 1…


If you were to ask me what would be on my top 5 list of favorite events annually, the Japanese incarnation of the Wekfest car show would definitely be right near the top. It is unlike anything else on the Wekfest tour and has some of the greatest variety of vehicles collected in one location. There are things that I would like to change about it to continue to evolve the show to make it better but as it sits right now, I very much enjoy it. I look forward to it not only because of the cars, obviously, but because it provides me with another opportunity to go back to Japan. And you guys should all know by now why I love Japan so much. It’s the place that recharges me. It’s so different than home yet it also feels like home, if that makes sense. I have friends there, the food is amazing, the people are great, and well, it’s not anything like America, as much as they try to replicate Western lifestyle. Speaking of which, I think the internal dilemma right now within this event is the fine line between making it a Western event and keeping it traditionally Japanese. The latter would be what I prefer. I mean, I love how completely enthralled they are in the idea of completely adapting our style, but we can never forget that our style exists because of what they have spent decades creating in Japan. We do things a little differently now in 2018, which is something that they have grown to love, but I can’t help but hope that they never lose their sense of tradition…

Internally, that gets a little messy when you’re working with the Japanese to operate a popular car event. They feel like they have to cater to that Western style to create an audience for the show while guys like myself and Wekfest car show series creator, Kenneth Li, very much enjoy the infusion of traditional Japanese-styled car builds. We manage to sort of create this balance through compromise but I’d be lying to you if I told you that we were completely satisfied with what we see. 5 years in, there is still much that needs to be done and improved on. There is just so much to Japanese tuning culture that we would be doing everyone an injustice by not including a specific style or sub-group of enthusiasts. Granted, there are specific types of people you want to avoid, for the sake of keeping everyone safe but still, it’s a hobby after all and it would be amazing if we could just sample a little bit of everything and include everything that is great about Japan under one roof. How long will this take? I don’t have an answer for you. All I can hope for year to year is that everyone can come to an understanding for the benefit of the event and people who come to experience the show. I’m not taking anything away from the show, because it’s great in its current form, but the ceiling is so high for improvement. When you have something that is already good and you still have so much room to get even better, that’s a formula for unprecedented success, and who doesn’t want that?…

This year, I spent most of my time shooting photos while also being one of the official judges overseeing the show and as you guys have seen already, I also sprinkled in some video. I guess the biggest change for me this year would be myself and Exceed Japan not operating our own booth at Wekfest Japan. Yasu has just been so busy with customer cars and I made the trip to Japan by myself so it just didn’t seem feasible to have a booth. Normally I’d have help and company joining me in Japan but it was a one-man trip this year. I figured it was best to not put too much on my plate anyway since I really wanted to play around with my new camera and learn all of its nuances. Photography is now even more fun and exciting now learning with a new dSLR body. Other than the track event with the No Good Racing guys in Okayama, this was my first time really messing with it. I still have a lot to understand but I’m satisfied with the results. I’ll leave you guys now so you can see for yourself….

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My morning started out a little later than usual being that we didn’t have to set up a booth this year. Our trip from Osaka to Nagoya was about 2 1/2 hours or so and as soon as we arrived to the Port Messe venue, I began shooting. The first car that caught my eye was this Honda NSX on bronze Volk TE37 Ultras. I believe it is owned by a member of Club Wharp, a storied car club from Osaka…

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Right in front of that red NA1 was a white NSX, also on Volk TEs, previously owned by Joe from Car Make Across…

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Honda Inspire (Our 8th gen. Accord in North America) lightly modded, running a set of BBS wheels…

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Masatoshi Amisaki’s gorgeous Z32 Fairlady on white Advan Racing wheels…

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Zoomer enthusiasts lining-up to get staged inside the Port Messe hall…

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Red Hakosuka Skyline marching up the ramp to the staging area…

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Amisaki’s Z32 is always a welcome sight whenever I go to Japan. Nice to see it relatively unchanged over the years and looking good…

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Slammed Volkswagen Eos on OZ wheels with Bride seats up front…

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The great thing about watching the roll-in process at these events is you’ll sometimes see something pull-up that catches everyone’s attention, like this widebody NSX. I don’t know what kit it was, I just knew that whatever I was staring at was just completely absurd but in the best way possible…

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I wasn’t a huge fan of the front half of it but the widened rear, center-exit exhaust, how the car sat on Volk TEs, and the custom rear taillights just looked bad ass…

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If you’re Asian, chances are your family has owned a Previa at one time or another in your life. You’ve likely also sat in one even if your parents didn’t have one, just based purely on statistics of course. In Japan, the Previa’s counterpart, the Estima is too busy looking crazy, slammed on BBS wheels. And no, this one wasn’t supercharged and making that insanely annoying winding sound that they all make when they get old…

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I rarely see Lexus IS F-Sports in Japan but this one looked great, also on BBS wheels…

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Lexus 3GS static, running Endless big brakes and Work Meister M1…

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Custom widened front fenders and rear quarters on this green 3GS running what looks to be K-Break Hybreed Fivesta wheels…

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TRA Kyoto S14 Silvia from REVIEW getting unloaded from its trailer…

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Interesting to see an Amuse Z34 front bumper retrofitted to this supercharged Z33 Fairlady…

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Takamasa Oya from Zerozero8 Works’ Z32 Fairlady…

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Daito from E.PRIME’s AE86 Levin race car always looking spectacular…

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Tomo from Team REVIEW’s Rocket Bunny Boss S14 and Daito’s E.PRIME Levin…

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When your fully track-bred race car looks better than most show cars…

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Mugen-themed DC5 Integra on custom blue Enkei NT03 wheels sporting the ever-recognizable Hasback banner…

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I have no idea what wheels are on Makoto’s Westmoreland-faced MK1 from Crazy Rabbit Japan but they looked pretty great as he rolled into the venue.

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Tomo’s Boss S14 livery looks to be completely painted-on. Under the hood is a custom candy red engine bay with an RB25 swap…

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Tomoyuki Sasaki’s Ferio angling-in with Keigo Okada’s DC2 Type R not far behind…

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Atsushi Oka’s Rocket Bunny Cayman from 9010design on Barramundi Forged wheels. For those who don’t remember, Oka brought the green Rocket Bunny Z33 with Jordan-themed Work Meister S1 wheels last year…

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Yousuke Tsuji’s Pandem Boxster also representing 9010design…

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Keigo’s Kinsler ITB’d Integra Type R on CCW forged wheels…

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Akira Bitou’s Rocket Bunny RPS13 180SX on Work Meister M1…

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Norifumi Kobayashi from LEVEL ONE Japan arrived at this year’s Wekfest Japan event sporting a new Mugen front face on his award-winning Accord Wagon…

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Check out the cage inside of this custom widebody S14 Silvia from EXCLUSIVE…

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The beautifully-assembled Speed Forme S30Z that you guys got a glimpse of when I visited their shop in January…

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Risky Snail was back once again this year with its wild Ford Model A hot rod build. This is yet another build that you’d never think would pop-up at a Wekfest event in Japan but you just never know what kind of crazy stuff is happening overseas…

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I guess you can say that this was the more “tame” Risky Snail Model A build compared to the previous one….

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The Inazumaworx AE86 Trueno being trailered into the staging area…

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More E.PRIME goodness with Daito’s Levin attack vehicle…

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One of the more interesting arrivals this year was this AE86 Trueno Coupe from DOPEFOREST. It still had its body unpainted, no glass, not even a driver’s side door (it’s LHD), and was still very obviously a work in progress. Nonetheless, it was trailered into the event with a fully-running engine and the engine bay was spectacular…

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Speaking of work in progress, Masaru Ishikawa brought out his GX70 wagon, which previously had a police livery and was a running drift car. It is currently in the rebuild stages and was without an engine, just showcasing the custom metal work throughout…

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It needed a little bit of help getting off the trailer, even without an engine, but Ishikawa gave the thumbs-up and was good to go inside the venue…

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A few minutes later, one of the best builds I’d ever witnessed in person was unloaded; the Inazumaworx “Black Unlimited” AE86 Levin. Hopefully you guys got to see the walk-around of this car in the Vlog, where you can see its engine set-up, custom fuel set-up and more…

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The “Black Unlimited” theme is based off of an incredibly rare “Black Limited” AE86 Trueno, produced by Toyota as an anniversary edition Trueno with different interior, rear garnish, graphic, and other limited OEM goodies. This Unlimited however, is themed after it but far from anything that Toyota would ever dream of creating back in the 1980s….

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Volk TE37V wheels in bronze with customized brake calipers bearing the Inazuma Works namesake…

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Custom box flares grafted into the GX70 body with only a working rear door on the driver’s side…

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Just seeing these three together was worth the plane ticket to Japan this year, even without the engine…

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Masaru Ishikawa also unveiled his latest project, this RPS13 180SX with an insane amount of metal work to achieve this radiused fender front/rear. If you want to see all the work that went into it, check out his Instagram profile HERE

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Look how low this 180SX can sit now with the radiused body work, and the car is just sitting on OEM Nismo wheels. I believe the four are squared 19-inch rears from a Z33…

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The Inazumaworx AE86 Trueno, featuring custom suspension which allows for the vehicle to sit at this height with aggressive negative camber…

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It’s always nice to have a solid group of friends who help you out and believe in your dreams, no matter what they may be. While these guys are pushing Masaru’s GX70 into Wekfest, I’m gonna go ahead and close Part 1 here. Hope you guys enjoyed the photos. Thanks for looking. Part 2 coming real quick…

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1 comment

  1. The wheels on Makoto’s MK1 are Ronal Racing. Not sure on the full name though, some call them ‘RS’, some call them ‘Turbo Mesh’..
    http://classifieds.wheel-whores.com/classifieds/ads/view/10729

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