Wekfest Chicago 2019 Coverage… Part 1…

Boy has it been a crazy few weeks people. In the last 3-to-4 weeks, I’ve literally been to Japan for Wekfest, Chicago again for Wekfest, and then back to the Midwest again for the Final Bout Gallery event. It’s great to be seeing so many cool things and experiencing so much, but on the flip side, you have no idea how happy I am to just be sitting in my office, watching TV, and working on content. Also great is having the time to be able to travel with friends and experiencing said-things with them but my closest friends have long understood how much I thoroughly enjoy solitude. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, just know that I am probably doing just fine and unwinding my brain from constantly traveling. My body clock needs to re-adjust and settle back into ‘normal’ life as I don’t plan to do much traveling in the next month or so…

Life is ironic that way. I remember back in the very beginning when I first started doing all of this. I was sitting in my apartment with nothing to do, just sitting around watching television with no money or aspirations to go anywhere. Fast forward a decade later and I’m honestly moving around so much that I find so much peace in just doing exactly what I was doing back in the beginning: absolutely nothing. I had to fight tooth and nail to get what I have now, earned the ability to have all these rewarding experiences, lost so much sleep trying to do everything I could…just to appreciate what I’ve always had. It’s crazy if you really think about it, but it is also incredibly important to remember the importance of BALANCE. You can do anything you want and aspire to be better at anything you want, but don’t forget your foundation and where you came from. You have to appreciate the grind and the times when you had nothing, even later on when you’ve become successful. I think that it is so important…

In the past I’d try to push very hard to try to get content out as soon as I can but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that I was simply tired and getting older so it just takes more time for me to recover these days. I’m operating at such a high level lately that I feel like my work has been the best that it ever has been but that also comes with me having the time to reset so that I could invest the proper energy into pushing the best content I can. It’s BALANCE. And I was a fool in the past for not fully understanding that. But as they say, “such is life”, and you get wiser as you move further along on your life path…

I wasn’t ready for Chicago. To be realistic, I’d just come back from Japan and witnessed the best Wekfest event over there to-date. So many great cars, such a great environment, and well…it’s JAPAN. I think it’s safe for me to say that everyone that went to Japan with me was not ready for Chicago. Just because we’d come back from traveling across the world to be at the mecca of import tuning culture. Not being ready doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it though, so there we were, back on a plane once again, this time traveling three hours ahead to the Midwest to see what was new in Chicago…

I’m not gonna sit here and compare the cars I saw in Chicago to what I saw in Japan. That just wouldn’t be fair. So I went into this event with the full understanding that I wouldn’t try to put each event side-by-side but to set one another as far away from each other as possible. Instead of comparing, it’s appreciating the differences and the nuances. Let’s remember what is great about the Midwest and its automotive community. The cool thing about this particular trip was that my good friend Yasu from Japan was visiting. You guys should all be very familiar with Yasu by now as he’s been a dear friend as long as I can remember and we just do car shit together all over the world. He had never been to Chicago or the Midwest and wanted to see what it was like. He’s been on this mission lately to experience car shows in different parts of America after hearing us always talk about how different every region is. I was hoping maybe Yasu could point some things out at Wekfest Chicago that maybe I hadn’t noticed before…

The one thing that he noticed and pointed out early on really stood out to me. It wasn’t particularly anything unnoticed or unsaid before, but it was crazy to see how quickly he understood what he was seeing. Yasu said that ‘(Chicago) doesn’t have show cars, they have street cars’. While many would assume that to be a negative statement, I see it as the highest of compliments, particularly for a city like Chicago. It’s so gritty and real, such a no frills-type of place, it’s honest, sometimes harsh. They don’t have show cars. They do have car shows, of course. And yes, some cars are built specifically to be displayed and to win awards, but as a whole, I wouldn’t say Chicago was a place for show cars. They have very cool street cars that are built to be used and driven, some raced or for drifting—and that’s fucking cool…

If someone came to Cali and was like, “you guys don’t have street cars, you only build show cars that you guys don’t drive”. Well, you wouldn’t be lying. We also have race cars too that we can’t drive on the streets. And the people who would get mad at a statement like that don’t see the bigger picture. Things are just different. Embrace it. IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE.

Let me go take a coffee break and then we’ll dive into the photos from Wekfest Chicago. I’ll talk more about the show in Part 2. These are just some captures from the morning. And those who are going to be mad about there not being much Honda content in this set, hey man, I don’t build the cars there and I wouldn’t capture anything I don’t particularly enjoy seeing. And the ones I did like were probably either inside or out while I was doing the same. Things just work out like that when I’m running around frantically trying to capture everything (that I like, obviously)

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Okay, onto the photos. Roll-in started quite early in the morning, as it usually does for every WF event. By 7AM, cars began to arrive in groups to set-up within the Navy Pier venue in downtown Chicago…

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There was no shortage of imported vehicles from Japan making a presence at the show. Cars brought in legally and by “other means” is quite common in the Midwest and East Coast unlike the much stricter West. The above Nissan C33 Laurel was one of many imported vehicles at the show this year, owned by Richy Contreras…

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Mike’s Voltex widebody Evolution X is a car I’ve come to be familiar with throughout the years I’ve traveled to this area. He recently put on a set of brand new Desmond Regamaster EVO II wheels and his car is definitely one of the cleaner builds that you could qualify as a ‘show car’…

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991 Porsche on Rotiform wheels heading in as one of the vendor display vehicles, if I remember correctly…

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This JXZ90 Cresta was another example of a imported turbocharged big body sedan that North America never received…

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Luis Veguilla’s mint 1971 Datsun 510 Wagon on Work Equip 01 wheels…

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One of the featured displays, or should I say, featured ‘gallery’ of vehicles this year were the guys from Final Bout, Chicago natives who have turned a grassroots drifting event into a real movement in North America. Just a week after WF Chicago was their Final Bout Gallery event…

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Melvin del Rosario’s KA-turbocharged RPS13 leading the pack wearing Origin Labo Streamline aero…

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I gotta say, I really miss the full PROCEED team livery that Chob and the rest of the guys had on all their vehicles at one point in time, but it’s still cool to see their cars out and about, and at a car show of all places…

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Josh from PROCEED’s RPS13 wearing full Ikeya Formula aero…

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Nick from Touge Factory chatting with my buddy Damon Young who was spotlighted in the Wekfest Chicago Vlog episode on our YouTube channel…

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Some of the guys displaying their vehicles in the Final Bout section heading up the ramp and into the venue…

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Ilia from PROCEED has himself an FD3S RX-7 now…

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Crazy to think that it’s been almost ten years now since I first met Damon. We don’t see each other much because he lives in Michigan and I don’t have any reason to visit there, lol, but we do keep in touch…

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Eric and the boys giving Damon’s 240SX a look over…

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Damon doesn’t get out much these days with him being a dad and all but he still gets out every now and then to cruise in his very responsible SR-powered 240SX…

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Mike from GLEAM’s Mazda Miata always lookin pretty thrashed and sounding really good with a 13B swap inside…

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Everett from Violent Clique’s widebody S2000 with a C-West N1 front bumper and Work VS wheels…

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I really like how Josh’s RPS13 looks with the Volk GT-N wheels on but he switched it up a bit for Wekfest Chicago and went with Nismo LMGT4 wheels in white, paired with white Craftsquare mirrors…

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Coming all the way from Japan were three drift cars from the legendary Sexy Knights. The cars were brought over for the Final Bout Gallery event the following week but arrived just in time for display at WF Chicago. Ilia and the guys from Final Bout actually had to drive all the way out to Seattle to pick the cars up after they landed at the port out there and then brought the cars back to Chicago just in time for the show. Pretty rad to see these cars in the U.S. and such good timing for them to be at both events…

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Another shot of Mike’s Miata on Euroline DHs…

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I wish I had more time to get some more photos of Adam Jabaay’s Civic race car build which he literally just finished recently. It’s a wheel-to-wheel race car built specifically for the Gridlife tour series…

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The rear of the PROCEED 240SX with Type-X rear wing, 180SX taillights, Ikeya Formula rear valance and GP Sports EXAS F1 exhaust…

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Always wondered what front bumper this was on this Lexus 2GS. Looks part Mode Parfume and something else, with the round foglight section and streamlined license plate section….

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One of my favorite photos from that weekend were of Ilia and Josh’s cars parked nose-to-nose with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop…

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Daigo Miura’s 180SX from Sexy Knights wearing Sexy Style Type 1 front, sides, and Type 2 rear, along with Sexy Knights fenders…

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Some quiet time for the GLEAM Miata before Final Bout Gallery the following weekend…

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Ilia carefully unloading the cars from Sexy Knights…

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If you’re wondering, these cars are actually staying stateside from what I heard and they’re actually for sale. They were built specifically to bring to Final Bout Gallery and weren’t intended to be sent back home to Japan…

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Ryo Miura’s FC3S RX-7 with the Sexy Knights World Wide front bumper unmounted after coming off the trailer…

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Ilia re-installing Tomoya Suzuki’s BN Sports front bumper onto his blue FC…

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Pretty awesome to see how big FR Legends, the mobile drifting game, has gotten since its initial release. Now they’re even being branded on cars from Sexy Knights and having their likeness in the game…

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Sexy Knights Japan meets Chicago, Illinois…

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Tomoya Suzuki’s FC is a combination of classic BN Sports aero paired with Sexy Knights over fenders and GT wing. The hood is from Foresight and the two-toned wheels are from Stance Magic…

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Ryo Miura’s FC rocks Sexy Knights front bumper, hood, and sides, along with RE Amemiya Aero Mirrors…

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…and the rear features a Foresight rear wing and R-Magic rear half lip…

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With Ikeya Formula and BN Sports aero in one place, you’d think Wekfest Chicago was a page taken out of an old Drift Tengoku magazine…

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A couple more shots of Everett’s S2000 with Circuit Garage over fenders since it blended in so nicely with the backdrop of the Navy Pier venue…

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One of the more uncommon builds of Wekfest Chicago was this old Volvo 142 coupe, slammed low to the ground with over fenders and a ZG-style front chin spoiler…

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My old buddy Chris Sullivan’s 200K+ miles AP2 S2000, which still looks fantastic by the way, from Ramblers Racing crew. He also has a K-swapped Honda Fit which he races along with his S2000…

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Mico and the boys from Ramblers having a good time during early morning roll-in…

That’s all I got for Part 1. There’s another set of photos which I throw up pretty soon, probably tomorrow if anything, with more cars from Wekfest Chicago and more Honda stuff before I hurl a 1000 photos of drifting at you when the Final Bout Gallery stuff comes. Stay tuned!…

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