Wekfest San Jose 2018 Coverage… Part 1…


“Ten years ago I was at a car show inside a small parking garage in Japantown, San Francisco selling Chronicles t-shirts from the trunk of my friend’s car. That show was the first-ever Wekfest event. Today, we’re standing in the middle of what might be the premiere car show in the nation.”

That was an anecdote I offered to the crowd that day during the beginning of the 2018 Wekfest San Jose event. I prefer not to be on the microphone on most days but I felt like it gave good context to where we were that weekend. This was kind of a big deal to us. Ten years is a very long time to not only do something, but to sustain it and continue its growth. To put that much effort into anything for any length of time even near a decade is pretty remarkable considering the notion that whatever it is you’re doing has yet to even reach its peak…

I love the fact that Wekfest and The Chronicles came to fruition along a very similar time-frame. I started The Chronicles back in late 2008, right around the time when Wekfest was transitioning into its own entity from another event it was replacing known as J’s Gathering. I’ve been there since the beginning supporting the event as my own work grew but I didn’t jump on the nationwide tour until, umm, let’s see… I want to say maybe about five or six years ago? Even that in itself seems like a long, long, time ago. The car show series has always done well. It started out in San Francisco, quickly outgrew that city, opened-up a stop in Chicago, Southern California, and many more. It’s even international with a stop in Nagoya, Japan annually. They used to fly me out to do coverage and do some judging here and there, but as the years have gone by, I became more acquainted with all its inner workings and now with Wekfest even operating a lot out of my own office here in Los Angeles, I get a glimpse at all future developments. I think the biggest turning point came a couple years ago when one of its creators, and a good friend of mine, Kenneth Li, made the move down here to Los Angeles. Not only was it a huge turning point for the show, it was a period of transition for Ken personally as well. Life and all its nuances had shifted Ken’s priorities to other places and I was more than happy to welcome him down to Southern California. This was also when I got to know the guy a lot more and we grew closer. I think we are very different people but creatively we vibe in a lot of ways and we were able to sort of help push each other with ideas. The guy has done an incredible job of growing the event alongside his partners and I’m happy to see it reach the ten-year mark. We knew it was going to be a huge year for the both of us but I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t completely surprised with all the wild ideas Ken had and what he was actually able to execute…

For San Jose, he wanted to do it huge. The Bay Area is where Wekfest laid its foundation. It is where it all began, and as such, you honor that region by putting on the best car show you possibly can. When I say, they wanted to do it “huge”, that is exactly what they did. This event would hold more than 500 vehicles, host more than 50 supporting vendors, and the entire aesthetic of the event would be renewed to represent the celebration of ten years in the Bay Area. With social media controlling practically everything these days from a marketing side, it would be easy to get the word out. Just push, push, and push. The results would come. It was never difficult to bring in the crowd, it was more of a refining of execution to really present a great event for all who attended, whether it be exhibitors with cars or people who waited for hours in line to get in to enjoy the builds…

This show has always been an especially hectic one for myself. I’ve always used it as a platform to debut new merchandise for The Chronicles and with the multitude of incredible cars in attendance, judging at this event is probably the most difficult and time consuming. At other Wekfest events, I usually cover the media-side of things and do judging. For San Jose, I am a participating vendor with a booth to maintain, I shoot photos of the event, do video as well for the Vlog series, and also judge. I’m busy. And that is putting it mildly. The last couple of years, I’ve had many distractions and time management issues had made it difficult for me to really do proper coverage of the event. So much so that I could honestly tell you that my coverage of this event from the past two years have been pretty bad. I just didn’t have enough time in the day to do everything. I was overloading. I need to re-prioritize. It hasn’t been the best year for me personally but recent occurrences have provided me with the opportunity to hit a hard-reset in life. I tore everything down recently so I could rebuild everything from the ground-up. From work to personal relationships to everything in-between. Let’s just say that things have been very difficult. Nobody would ever know it just seeing me or talking to me, but I haven’t been myself. This weekend away in the Bay Area would be the start of my rebuilding process. I looked back on the past few years and how my content had suffered a little at this event and I really wanted to put every bit of effort I could into bringing you the photos in the depth that I had provided you with before. It’s important to me to produce good content and to honor the people who provide me with an outlet to do what I do for a living.

Put that anecdote at the beginning of this post into perspective.

I now do this for a LIVING.

During the rough patches this year, I told myself that I would ride out the rest of this year and make 2019 my redemption season. While making the 6-hour drive up to the Bay alone in my rental car, I had a lot of time to think. All that silence made the time in the coming months so much more important. Instead of just merely riding out the year, I decided that I shouldn’t wait. Time doesn’t wait for me so why should I offer it that same respect? Why not take control and rebuild NOW? That started with me putting everything aside for what was important in the interim. I would be standing on the grounds of the best import car show in the country. I need to make the most of it. Where everything else has failed me before my creativity has always thrived. So I let myself work.

You stand by the people that believe in what you do and what you are capable of.

This is an homage to a decade of excellence for both Wekfest and The Chronicles. What you’ll see in today’s post and the ones to come in the future aren’t ten or so photos followed by an excuse for me being too busy to shoot. It’s just good content collected during a period of time when every minute was maximized and utilized. I didn’t shoot every car in the building, obviously, because that’s just not my style. I shot what I caught my eye, for 9AM to 9PM. Somewhere in-between I drank some coffee, peed, did video, talked to people who I wanted to talk to, and I think I might have breathed here and there, haha. Enjoy. And I’ll offer you more thoughts in the next few posts. I think with all the photos I shot that I actually wanted to use, we will end-up seeing about three-parts to this coverage. And it is pretty good I must say. This venue hasn’t always been the best place to shoot but I worked with what I had. Thanks for looking. And I ask that you come back for the rest…

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Unlike most other Wekfest events on the nationwide tour, the Bay Area stop has a two-day set-up process, meaning that set-up is the entire day prior and not held on the same morning of the show. We arrived by about 9 AM and one of the first guys to come set-up their car was Ryan and the Rywire K-turbo Honda Integra Type R…

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Not much has changed within the engine bay. There are some things that need to be tinkered with inside the motor after a recent tuning session that needs to be dealt with but time just doesn’t seem to be on Ryan’s side either, but in a good way, with business doing well and new projects coming in often…

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Ben Ho’s US Touring Car Championship Civic coupe being unloaded off of its trailer for display inside a vendor booth…

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J-swapped Honda Accord coupe with a custom Holley intake plenum. I seem to catch this car every year in the exact same location during roll-in…

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Scion FR-S running a Varis front bumper mated to a not-so-common Hurtling Solid & Joker carbon front lip and Todoroki KMO wide fenders…

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Subaru WRX STI rocking a S204 badge wearing full Voltex aero and white concave Volk TE37…

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Johnny Chuong’s 3M vinyl-wrapped widebody Acura NSX from SGC Motors…

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Rauh-Welt Begriff Porsche 993 dressed in black….

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Can’t help buy enjoy clean, decal-less RWB builds, especially when they are on BBS E88…

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Complete ground-up resto Datsun 510 running an SR-swap, carbon over fenders and Volk TE37V…

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Interesting to see Hoshino Impul Silhouette wheels on a 4-door Civic…

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Joseph LaFlare’s FEEL’S-equipped DC5 RSX on SL-variant Volk CE28 wheels…

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Porsche 964, not cut-up and unmolested, sitting nicely on gold BBS E88 wheels…

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Mark Arcenal from Illest/Fatlace’s backdated Porsche 930 RWB build making a rare public appearance. The only time I saw Mark all weekend was to banter with him in regards to LeBron James joining the Lakers being that he is such a diehard Warriors fan….

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It wouldn’t be a car show in 2018 without a trailer and/or hauler without a bunch of really wild builds…

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The Rywire S2000 and Brian Duong’s Varis Kamikaze FR-S/86 delivered to San Jose to be displayed at the Mackin Industries booth…

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Widebody all the things. If there’s a wheel arch, we can cut it and put something on top of it…

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Full carbon-bodied Overtake R35 GTR…

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This year’s San Jose event played host to a number of really clean Datsun 510 builds…

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Voltex Mitsubishi Evolution running Advan TCIII wheels…

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Datsun Bluebird coupe on black Panasport wheels…

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The engine bay of Rowell Ysmael’s super clean RHD DA Integra. He was parked in a gap with both a lot of sunlight and too much shade so I didn’t get a shot of the exterior at this point in the day…

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Twin-turbo Ford Mustang making a lot of aggressive noises during roll-in…

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Michael Mao’s Route KS Super Madonna Acura NSX build made the trek from Long Beach…

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Custom re-sized Mugen MF10 wheels for the widened body panel’s of Mao’s NSX….

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Jayson Santoyo’s NA1 NSX wearing Marga Hills aero and Volk CE28SL wheels…

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Asian Barbie’s Rocket Bunny R35 GTR on Rotiform wheels also rocking a Varis carbon hood…

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Not quite sure what aero is on this FD2-converted Civic SI, I wanna say it’s custom but I’m always wrong so don’t quote me on it. Great looking car though with the help from the guys over at Inspire USA…

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Brian’s Varis Kamikaze 86 unloaded off the trailer and awaiting display….

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There seems to be less Civics every year now whenever I go to major car shows throughout the nation, then I remember that all the guys that used to build Civics are now fucking with Integra Type Rs or own an E46 and a gun-collecting habit. Nothing wrong with that of course, because you now see really clean ITRs, sometimes they’ll even have a Mugen front lip and Gen. II wing….

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You either see a full Mugen-catalog executed on the DC2R or you’ll run into the classic Spoon Sports-themed R builds…

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It was great to see the guys from JSJBROTHERS out and about at car shows in 2018. These guys were doing event coverage LONG before social media took over our lives and the best thing about them is that they would literally take a picture of every fucking car in attendance and have the photos up by the end of the same day of the event. I can’t even do that now in 2018, lol. And apparently they know how to build cars and hoard parts as well. Check out this Mugen Civic build from them wearing the complete kit with silver Mugen MF10 wheels and Project Mu brakes.

“If she doesn’t know JSJBrothers, she’s probably too young for you bro…”

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Here’s the rear of the Civic, complete with the Mugen rear wing, rear bumper, and Twin-Loop exhaust. The only thing missing is the mid-wing, which is not a total loss and perhaps better left to a bygone era….

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Tony Pham’s 3.2L-swapped and supercharged NA1 NSX wearing classic Advance aero and white Volk TE37…

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Full J’s Racing-adorned AP2 Honda S2000 wearing the J’s front half bumper, front fenders, rear over fenders, rear wing. Only thing missing is the hood…

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It’s almost unfair to have an FK8 Civic Type R these days because not only are they amazing vehicles, they also look spectacular with just a simple drop and Volk Racing wheels…

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Drew’s LS-powered Mazda RX-7 running RE Amemiya aero….

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Beautifully-executed TE27 Toyota Corolla running color-matched over-fenders and TRD Tosco wheels…

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The rear of JDM Drew’s FD, largely unchanged over the years….

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BNR32 Skyline GT-R buried in a sea of cars waiting to roll-in, sitting on refinished Blitz Type 03 wheels…

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Carlos representing one of the classic Cali car clubs, Kosoku, in his “Cloned-R”…

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Inside we get a glimpse of the Rywire custom widebody Mugen S2000, which debuted at last year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas. As mentioned in the beginning of the post. I still have many more photos to come. Thank you for looking and make sure to come back for the rest of it!…

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4 comments

  1. That civic has a mid wing to got with the kit i sold them wonder y its on the car maybe they dint have time or doesnt like how it look

  2. That mugen equipp civic should of install that mid wing i sold them with the kit maybe they dint have time or doesnt like how it look

  3. Thanks for blowing it out of the water with coverage, roll-in is always one of my favorite parts of any show.

  4. Thank you for sharing the great shots! Do you have pics of the Porsches and Lexus with liveries?

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