Wekfest Seattle 2019 Coverage… Part 2…

Before I started putting this post together, I went and took a trip down memory lane, pulling-up some of my older posts back when I first started traveling to the Pacific Northwest. Those were very different times. Back in 2013, I was knee-deep in magazine print work, often looking for cars to shoot for work while trying to stay afloat. I’d find cars in different states and would book flights even though I had no money in my bank account, hoping that whatever I spent would even-out when those freelance paychecks came rolling in 3-6 months later. Freelance life is hard, if you ever wondered. Sure you’re ‘living the life’ traveling and seeing all these cool things but most of the time, you find yourself at the local Coinstar exchanging your loose coins in hopes it’d pay for a plane ticket and a bite to eat. Then you’d have to wait for the features that you put together to run in the magazine months later before the paycheck would come in and you’d have to do it all over again. Those were the times when I missed having a 9-5 job. Sure, it wasn’t necessarily ‘fun’ or ‘living the life’ but a steady paycheck was never a bad thing. You never know if those sacrifices will ever really pan-out. You just have to sit back and trust that you did what you could and that the universe will reward you…

I’m glad I did it, however. I don’t have very many regrets in my life and being a freelance photographer/writer was never something I would look back on with regret. Fortunately I had people behind-the-scenes that believed in me too so when it came time for me to make a decision, I usually made the right one. By about 2013, I had become a pretty trusted freelance ‘guy’ in the tuning car print industry. My work was solid and the people who would hire me for these jobs gave me free reign to do what I wanted, especially when it came to Honda-centric content. Whenever it came time to do the Super Street “Honda Issue”, Jonathan Wong would let me have the driver’s seat. I’d get to pick the cars, write the stories, shoot the photos, and sometimes I’d even get my own guest editorial. It was fun. I’d say those were some of my favorite times doing freelance work. I miss those days. The Chronicles was pretty well-known by that time as well. The site had seen its most successful year in 2012 and though I didn’t have any money, I’d consider myself to be successful. I grew this ‘thing’ out of nothing and it helped me become a noteworthy person in this industry of ours and I was empowered to make decisions…

It all seemed like a means to an end back then to pay the bills but it never really hit me that flying to Seattle, Washington that year would have such a significant impact down the line. I guess I was unknowingly planting the seeds to something bigger when I was sitting in the dark inside my shitty motel in SeaTac, looking out at the rain while eating a soup and sandwich from the local supermarket. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing just yet—it just felt right being there…

Every year I went back, I’d plant some more seeds. My friends started to come along with me, I’d bring more car guys in that area to come hang-out, shoot more feature cars to bring more eyes to this area, and we’d try to do more stuff to breathe some life into that sleeping giant that was the Pacific Northwest car community. In 2016, I was hanging out with Kenneth Li during one of our other stops on the Wekfest nationwide tour and I was like “Hey, we gotta add this stop to the tour. I think going to Seattle would be huge.” 

Looking back now, perhaps the guys I met up with initially in 2013 and on knew that maybe we were onto something. Or maybe not. Maybe they were just as blind as I was about it. I guess it helped that many of them were older and were around when the PNW car community was thriving, so they remembered and understood its potential. I just wonder if they knew back then that we had unknowingly lit this match. I could easily ask them of course, because well, they’re still all here. I still go to Terry’s house to kick it, still see the same faces, most of them are still fucking with the same cars even—some might even be bringing their cars back from the dead. If it wasn’t for those guys, Wekfest Seattle might have never been a thing. Had those guys not extended that olive branch and welcomed me with such open arms, perhaps I would have never invited that idea into my head to tell Ken about this powder keg that had laid dormant for so many years.

Thank your local car enthusiast. Give those old PNW car guys their flowers. Those guys are the real MVPs.

I mention those guys today because we’re actually gonna be seeing them quite a bit here in Part 2. It’s great that many of them are still so involved with cars, whether it be working on their own builds or helping out with others. Some are still getting their own projects going again but in the mean time, they’ve gained such great respect from fellow car guys in the area that they often help each other out. That’s a great thing to see. One of my takeaways from helping to breathe some new life into this region is seeing some of these older guys get back into cars. Sure, life has presented them with some new challenges and some new adventures, but they’re still die-hard car guys at heart. They just needed a little bit of fuel to get their creative juices flowing again and that hunger to get back into the hobby that they love is there now. If you’re of the current generation or are just getting into cars now, boy are you guys in for a treat. When some of these dudes get back into their projects, you’re really gonna see some cool shit. I’m excited for things to come. Where things go from here is anyone’s guess. Wherever or whatever happens from here, let’s all remember to have some fun, okay?…

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I remember back when I first started coming up to this area, Huy’s DC5 was just a myth. It was in pieces so long and spent so much time getting the metal widebody work done that no one had any idea when it would ever see the light of day. I’m glad he stuck with it though as it eventually became one of the best, and most thorough, Honda builds in North America…

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If you see Huy then you already know that Bill Master isn’t far behind, these guys are always together hanging out and helping one another with their cars. Bill’s got one of the best EP3s ever and after only seeing it in photos for so long, I was glad to be able to shoot my own photos of it on one of my trips to Seattle. Back then Huy and Bill would hit me up to hang out and we’d cruise over to Alki just to shoot the shit…

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Jackie Law’s S2000 was a build that had been on my radar for a long time now. I’d always see photos of it on Instagram but there was never an opportunity to ever meet Jackie being that he was from Canada. When Wekfest made Seattle an official stop 3 years ago, I was finally able to see the car in person. He eventually even made it down to The Chronicles’ Anniversary Meet in California last year which was super cool…

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One of the guys that I was happy to finally meet his year was JJ Dubec, excuse me, Dr. JJ Dubec. The guy is a doctor who owns multiple medical clinics up in Canada and during his off time, he builds all kinds of cars. A couple of them have been to SEMA in Las Vegas and this Liberty Walk NSX is his latest creation. It’s actually the first one in North America. It was nice to finally have a few minutes to chat with the guy and see his R35, this NSX, and a Ferrari 458, all equipped with Liberty Walk kits…

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Bill Master’s EP3 is one of those builds that you could say was ‘timeless’ because of the parts he chose to use, the way everything is executed, and just how it all comes together. I don’t ever say that many great things about the EP3 chassis but this one is one of the best examples ever…

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One guy I can’t forgot to mention who has been a good representative of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer is Mel Diego and his Mugen-themed EP3. It doesn’t have the crazy forced-induction set-up that Bill’s EP3 has but Mel’s car is just super clean. Also executed well with a great selection of parts. This is one of the cars that actually first started drawing my attention to the PNW years back when I saw the car online and in Honda Tuning magazine…

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Jackie showed-up to Seattle this year with a set of bronze Volk TE37 wheels but still retained the Voltex aero set-up and turbocharged F-series that its been known for. He was reppin’ August Cascade not only on his windshield but also as one of their booth cars this year…

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It looked like Huy was having some transmission problems the last few months but had the car back together in time for the show. Not much has changed on it but there literally isn’t anything else he could or should do other than to just enjoy it…

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It’s not too often you see a strawberry-face conversion these days. This S14 looked great with the S15 face and at a glance, it looked like the car has seen some extensive custom fabrication work…

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I don’t know shit about bikes so I’m not gonna pretend like I do. I just thought this made for a cool photo…

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A local black BNR32 Skyline GT-R crusing on Volk TE37SL…

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Travis Weaver and his restomodded ED/EF Civic hatchback waiting outside with some friends before their scheduled roll-in time…

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Jeremiah Whipple’s yellow Civic hatchback was looking great as usual with the Spoon Sports carbon front lip, black TEs, and a J’s Racing rear wing…

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Cooper Boudia’s Integra is yet another build that really motivated me to visit the Pacific Northwest years back. He drove his car all the way down to California for one of The Chronicles’ Anniversary events and we were all pleasantly surprised to see the quality of his work. I think that was back in like 2012, just a year before I started flying up to the PNW. I shot his Integra for Super Street during that time as well and after all these years, it is still looking pretty great…

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Tam Phan’s silver BMW E30 “slick top” on BBS RS painted by our friend Toto Deleon representing Trikspeed car club…

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That night when Yasu and I were hanging out at Terry’s house, he told us that if he couldn’t drive the car to the show, he wouldn’t bring it. I think he finished the car at around 4 AM and hadn’t slept at all, but sure enough, around 9 AM, he came rolling-up to the venue…

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One of the cars that I totally did not expect to see was Gerard’s Toyota Aristo from SERIAL NINE. I just saw the car recently in Wisconsin during Final Bout Gallery and had no idea he’d be coming down from Vancouver for Wekfest. I thought I was seeing things or it could have been another Aristo/GS but his car is pretty unmistakable…

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New to the exterior of Terry Suvonnarith’s Integra for 2019 was a Spoon Sports front lip and modified J’s Racing vented front fenders…

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I think I first met Adrian and saw his EM1 Civic SI back in 2016 or so when I hosted a summer meet down at Alki Beach. He was rocking a Spoon Sports-theme back then and in the years that followed, the car continued to evolve. Not only were the parts changing, but he’s also put more focus on making the car cleaner inside and out…

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Here you get a better look at how the J’s fenders have been altered, eliminating the center section to make the once double-vented fender a larger single vent…

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I always forget that Adrian’s EM1 has a center-exit exhaust which comes out through the rear bumper…

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Caspar Hill’s B18C-powered Civic hatchback with Livesports rear spoiler, Rocket Dancer front lip, and bronze Volk RE30…

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Trevor Zerr’s K-series turbocharged RHD EG6 Civic SI slowly angling up the driveway into the venue…

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BJ’s silver Civic coupe seems to be a regular every year now at Wekfest Seattle, looking nice and simple with just an OEM EM1 SI factory lip kit and Mugen M7 wheels…

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There’s more of this K-swapped Civic in the WF Seattle Vlog but I did capture this shot of it as it was driving in. I don’t know what happened after this but his oil pan was busted and it spent half the show on a jack. Bummer….

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Kristine’s Captiva Blue Civic hatchback project has come together nicely, a 2-year long collaborative effort with her husband helping along the way. The car started out as a beat-up shell which she began restoring back in 2017. The engine bay and interior were both stripped down and cleaned-up before it was resprayed inside and out. She then started hoarding parts, both aftermarket and OEM, and put it all together just in time for this year’s Wekfest event. As with most Honda builds, the exterior remains very simple, with just some Japanese factory equipment, optional and OEM, paired with Spoon Sports brakes, Volk TE37 and a set of Magical Racing mirrors. The interior, if I remember correctly, is gutted with a pair of Recaro seats, a Vertex wheel, and a Year10 Chronicles x Battlecraft shift knob…

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I miss the CE28N wheels on Terry’s Integra but I guess even he realized that the region was overrun with them so he put on a set of black Volk SE37K which narrowly clear his StopTech big brakes…

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Huge front mount intercooler from Speedfactory Racing filling in the opening of Adrian’s C-West front bumper. The coupe looks great with the C-West sides paired with the front and the bronze Desmond Regamaster EVO wheels contrast the Electron Blue Pearl well…

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Hako Dave’s 1971 Skyline GTX coupe with some big bolt-on flares and classic SSR Longchamp wheels…

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Pretty nifty seeing a M3-themed BMW 3-series wagon sitting on VeilSide Andrew Racing V wheels…

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Yoshi Shindo popped-up outta nowhere this year with a freshly-finished SR-powered RPS13. I think he and his friends actually put this car together top-to-bottom in just two-weeks time, which is pretty insane…

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Being so close to Vancouver, B.C. means that Wekfest Seattle gets their fair share of enthusiasts coming down from that area with cars we don’t often see here in the States. This Japan-imported Nissan C35 Laurel looked solid on Superstar Leon Hardiritt Ordens…

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I don’t know my C35 Laurel lip kits off the top of my head since I literally never see these things but this particular Laurel looks like a Medallist Club S version which comes factory with an RB25DE in it. RBs inside Japanese big body sedans are always fucking cool…

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Gerard’s Aristo is one of the coolest JZS161 builds ever, in my opinion, because he drives the shit out of it and then still manages to get the car fixed in time for a car show. After Final Bout, his car was pretty beat-up but you wouldn’t think so seeing the car pull-up to Wekfest like this. The only noticeable difference from when I saw it at Final Bout Gallery is the TTE front lip. The SERIAL NINE Breed rear overs, front fenders, and GT hood are all still there, as are his custom VeilSide wheels…

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S13 240SX coupe running bolt-on flares, an JDM OEM front lip, Type-X sides, sitting on Work Equip 01. From the quarter glass decal and the fact that it’s painted yellow, it looks like this build might be heavily inspired by New Zealand drift shop, C’s Garage…

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A couple more of the SERIAL NINE Aristo because it looks fucking rad and I only get to see it maybe once or twice every few years…

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As I snapped photos of Gerard’s Aristo driving by, out of the left corner of my eye came this JZA80 Supra running a GReddy Gracer front lip and Work Meister S1 wheels with faces that have been color-matched the factory Toyota 1A1 Anthracite Metallic…

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As it turned onto the street to line-up for staging I caught a glimpse of the Top Secret carbon rear diffuser and TRD rear spoiler…

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Widened Type-X style 240SX sitting at the stop light on bronze Volk TE37…

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TRA Kyoto Rocket Bunny Z33 with a big Voltex GT wing in the rear. I think this car looks great but it irks me when people don’t realize that “Pandem” and “Rocket Bunny” or two different lines of aero from Tops Racing Art Kyoto. This particular kit is a Rocket Bunny kit and lately I’ve been seeing people make the mistake of putting Pandem decals on cars that have Rocket Bunny aero and vice versa. They are not the same. As a more casual comparison, it would essentially be like wearing a pair of LeBron’s sneakers and calling them Kobe’s. Both made by Nike but two different lines of shoes. You feel me? Don’t get me wrong, I think the car itself is great. I just think it’s a common misconception that needs to be pointed out because far two often people mistake the two. Pandem has box flares. Rocket Bunny are the round flares…

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FD2 CTR-styled Civic sedan riding really low on CCW Classic wheels…

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Another shot of the Rocket Bunny 350Z. I always thought it was cool how the wing stands mount onto the rear hatch on these Voltex GT wings…

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A Mugen-faced Integra from Team Menace coming down the overpass. I actually walked inside the venue to see what was going on at this point and completely missed the whole Team Menace line-up coming through…

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When I came back out, I finally got to see one of my favorites from this area, Ronald Khamphouvong’s Integra Type R. Man has this car changed over the years. I remember meeting Ronald at a gas station in Seattle back in 2013 when we were shooting Steve Kwan’s Civic for fun. Back then all the car had was a set of TEs, a pair of canards, and a J’s Racing carbon front duct in the bumper. I don’t even remember him saying a word back then and just kinda hung out in the background, haha. In the years that followed, every time I came back, there would be more changes to the car and I kinda knew that he had a good eye for things because his car just had its own sense of style to it. Now in 2019, it’s become one of the most recognized Integras in the country…

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His ITR just has so much presence now with the Crowhouse front, Airwalker sideskirts, and Mugen wing. This year he switched it up again, swapping out the Work RSZ-R wheels with a set of double-staggered Volk CE28N in white. The J’s Racing fenders and converting them into a single vent was actually Ron’s idea and differ from Terry’s because his retains the sidemarkers…

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Right behind Ron’s ITR was Mikey Andrada’s turbocharged Civic coupe and Jeff Diaz’s NA1 NSX…

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Mike switched-up some stuff this year and his Civic now hosts a Exceed x Mode Parfume front lip, wider FRP front fenders from J’s Racing, and silver Volk TEs. He’s also added some new things under the hood but I’ll get to that when I show you guys the engine bay details in Part 3…

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Jeff’s NSX is looking great with a set of staggered Work RSZ-R wheels in black, along with his Advance front half-bumper. Chen, who previously owned this NSX, flew out from Iowa and rode along with Jeff to the show. Let’s just say the NSX is in much better hands now that Jeff’s repainted it and put his own personal touches on it…

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Forgot to mention that Ron also added Ganador mirrors this year. I think he previously had Spoon mirrors. Nevermind that though, let’s just stare at how great the car looks now. The white CEs are actually a look inspired by a DC5 ITR built by some friends of mine from JDMYARD all the way down in Australia…

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Metal widebody Datsun 510 coupe running period-correct Epsilon Southern Ways mesh wheels…

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I asked Mike who was going to hang-out with him after his car broke down at dinner later that evening….

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Grand Prix White AP2 S2000 with a Spoon Sports S-Tai front, Mugen MF10 wheels, and J’s Racing rear wing…

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You can venture to guess that people were pretty energetic and in a good mood that morning, seeing that so many people greeted me while I was getting a photo of their car. Most of the time those gestures only include one finger and it’s not the index, let me tell ya….

This EM1 Civic SI was looking pretty stylish with a J*Blood front, Spoon SW388 wheels, and classic “I really can’t see shit outta these” Bomex side mirrors…

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Look at this happy motherfucker, lol. Man, that side profile with those RSZ-Rs in those specs…fucking spectacular. I guess I’d be happy too…

That’s a wrap on Part 2. Still more fire to come!! Stay tuned!!

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