Wekfest Los Angeles 2019 Coverage… Part 2…


Damn, that post the other day really took off, huh? I did not expect that type of reaction at all. What started out as a long rant that I was worried no one would even invest the time in reading ended-up being a pretty big statement on the current landscape of our car community. I suppose it has been a long-time coming and a lot of people have been feeling the same way. It’s both sad and interesting these days that you can write something long-form that people are actually willing to read though. We’re so used to things being presented to us immediately with such an incredible amount of brevity that we’ve become privileged to information. I mean, a majority of the time we’re learning about something on YouTube or some video outlet with someone literally screaming into our faces just to keep our attention. We can’t even communicate or hold a conversation anymore without itching to jump out of our own bodies. Everything is just presented to us on a platter now and if we don’t like it, we simply push it away, move onto the next thing. This applies to everything of course, and not just cars…

We are entitled.

Simply put.

People just don’t take the time to learn anymore. They just want you to tell them what they need to know. They don’t bother to try and UNDERSTAND anything. It’s fucking sad and so disappointing…

So let me tell you that I was completely overwhelmed when Part 1 of this post went ANYWHERE. If I was a metrics guy, I’d have been blown away by the numbers. They’re good. For me personally, however, it’s the fact that people are willing to actually take the time to read it and understand it is what blows me away. Because I’ve come to the understanding that people just don’t take the time anymore—to do anything. Imagine we live in a world now where someone is surprised that other people read. That’s almost comical in a way, isn’t it? But… instead of being a cynic, I choose to believe that there are people out there who are invested, and who care…

Trust me when I tell you that there are probably a million things I don’t fucking care about. I just don’t choose to invest time into caring about shit I don’t find significant to my life. But this car shit, well…I don’t know too many people who are invested in this like myself and many of my friends. You could consider us “lifers”, to be honest. That’s why this shit matters. I’d like to believe that there are a few of you out there who see things the same way we do. And I appreciate that… 

As far back as I can remember, my only exposure to import car culture was reading magazines and going to car shows. I’d go to the local supermarket and just look through every print tuner magazine I could while my Mom was shopping. If it was at all possible, I’d even try to purchase a copy to look at it when I got home. Once or twice a year, we’d have a big car show and I’d bring a camera with me to take photos. I didn’t know at the time but those two things shaped my adult life much later on. I grew up writing and shooting for the same magazines I used to read in the markets and now I’m a part of one of the biggest car shows in the nation. Everything I’ve done since then on the media-side has been a love letter to my childhood, and my childhood was cars. I think that is why the shift in mentality and how people do things when it comes to our community has become such a point of contention for me. I don’t live in the past, but I’d like to help shape the future going forward because I know there are kids like me growing up who really love this shit and are every bit as interested in having this as their hobby for a very long time…

Being on the other side of things, working behind-the-scenes at car shows is very different than how I experienced events as a youth. It’s fun still, but not the same type of fun. I see much more of the logistical side of things now and how the ‘machine’ works. I see all the little pieces that make the shows work or not work. The funny thing is that when I’m not working a Wekfest event, I still do go to other car shows and events. If time permits, I try to go to as much as I can. Spocom, for example, is a competitor by all accounts but I’ve never not shown them support. A few weeks before Wekfest, I was actually just there walking around and chatting with friends. I didn’t even bring my camera or had any plans to do any type of work. It was just fun to be in that environment and not be working or involved with anything behind-the-scenes. I just enjoy it. It’s always good to reconnect with friends and acquaintances, and well, you never know what you’ll see. Chances are, even though there are probably 99% of the same cars there that you’ve already seen, there’s always gonna be one or two new ones. And that’s why I still go to everything. I just don’t like waiting in line to get in. But that’s just the bougie part of me. I’m also entitled, lol. And…sometimes I need to take a nap because I’m getting older…

Anyways, I don’t know if many of you even know this, but back when I first started going on the Wekfest Tour full-time, whenever the show came home to Southern California (Long Beach in those years), I wouldn’t be involved in the judging. I voluntarily removed myself from that whole process because I just had too many friends competing at the time or was often even involved in helping them with their builds. It just didn’t seem fair so I just reserved myself to shooting and having a booth at the show for The Chronicles. While we’re being candid, one of the main reasons why I didn’t want to judge out here back then was also because I didn’t want to deal with the attitude some people have out here. I later came to realize that this issue of entitlement was everywhere and spread like a fucking disease but it was already pretty bad back then out here. I think I’m just more critical of California and the West Coast in general because I’ve always held it to a higher standard having grown-up here and all…

I started judging in the last few years because it became a necessity of having a strong core unit that worked together at every stop and to be frank, most if not all, of my friends have stopped competing, have ‘retired’ their cars, or don’t go to car shows anymore. And the few that do I’m not directly related to their builds in any way so I can look at their cars without bias. Things are generally pretty smooth these days at shows, not many complaints, but there are always one or two that just can’t not-win (I wouldn’t even call it losing really) gracefully. Why? Because they’re entitled. Not soon after the show this year, this guy went on his Instagram account to post some passive-aggressive comment about how he was going to part his car out because he didn’t win against another guy, even going as far as to post a photo of the other guy’s car, but of course, then not tagging him so he wouldn’t see it. There’s no point in sharing who it is or what car they own because it was obviously a deep-dive for attention and he’s gotten plenty of it. So much so, that he even had some of his ‘fans’ send emails to Wekfest about why he lost. This email was shared internally because we discuss these issues to see if a mistake was made, and I decided to go take a look for myself. I went about it very respectfully, being that we are professionals and all, and I even asked the owner of the car that didn’t win why he felt his car was better, and what specifically made him feel like he should have won. No response. Then a couple of other people that follow him proceeded to comment and ask why I felt the other car was better. The thing is, not once did I ever say the other car was. It should also be noted that I did not judge this class nor was I involved in any way. I knew enough about each car though to give some insight on what happened so I explained the process. I just wanted to have an adult conversation as a means to keep communication open between everybody.

Crickets.

Silence.

That’s the problem today, nobody bothers to take the time to look outside of whatever the fuck they are doing. And then they just want to complain. They think that once they reach 20-40k followers on Instagram that it gives them this badge of entitlement that they can wear like a crown to dictate how they should be treated. He never bothered to understand what was done to the other car and how both had very similar modifications, just executed differently. What his followers think about his car has no bearing on the judges’ decision. It isn’t an Instagram poll where people who follow you can vote for you versus a car they aren’t familiar with. In all honesty, neither car was particularly special in any way. The work is good and the cars looked solid. Were they amazing? No. They’re not doing anything groundbreaking. Both built with blood, sweat, and tears. Both probably required a lot of money. Custom widebody, forced induction, suspension mods, interior work, etc. Solid, SOLID builds. Amazing? Nah. Just built to fit the current times with all the trendy stuff you can imagine to where you can even call it a full build. It doesn’t mean that people don’t appreciate your work just because you didn’t win a fucking award. It’s a piece of metal, more often times plastic. You have the praise of so many people who support you on these social accounts. If adoration is what you seek, it’s there already. Blind, empty, social adoration. There’s an outlet for you to meet these people and for them to see your car in person to appreciate it further. IN REAL LIFE. That’s a win. If you’re a real car show competitor, you should be aiming to win “Best of Show” honors every time. You should be competing for the title, the big one. And there are very obviously specific enthusiasts at these events that do that. They are there to COMPETE. Their cars also stand far above the rest of the pack. And that’s great. Those are the examples you should follow if you want to seriously compete. The rest is just fluff. It’s just for fun. There are like 500 cars in the building and you want to be mad about the four cars in your class and the one car you lost to? You really got upset about four cars?…

That’s like competing for the NBA Championship and then being mad that you lost the Slam Dunk Contest. That’s crazy to me.

So often when someone doesn’t win, they automatically turn to “judging is political” or “it’s biased”. Political in what way? We have no active interest in who wins because there is no personal gain. You think people pay us or do things to sway us to pick them? Lol. For what? Nobody has anything to offer us that we legitimately give a flying fuck about. Most of us have been in the industry for over a decade now, there’s nothing we haven’t seen or heard. You know what motivates us? Getting done on time so the car show can end and everybody can go home to spend time with their loved ones. Unless you’re holding a baby hostage or something, I don’t think you can really sway our way of thinking…

How about you bribe me for an award by gifting me your overwhelming sense of entitlement? I’d love to take that off your hands. Maybe we can just give everybody an award. Add some more saturation to this already convoluted environment we’ve created for each other…

Social currency is no good here. And whatever real world shit you have to offer us, we’ve already worked our asses off in our lives to acquire them. Trust that judging is purely subjective, not political. Those are two VERY different things. If you really think about it, even a points-based system is subjective. The only difference is a clipboard and a series of numbers that don’t equate to anything.

Let me get the fuck outta here on that note, it’s dinner time. Here are some more photos from Saturday morning roll-in. 🙂

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One of the most common questions I get these days is how I feel about the FK8 Civic Type R. I would never compare them to the ’90s era Hondas I grew up around but I think the FK8 is fantastic. They also look great with just a nice drop and a set of Volk Racing wheels…

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White EH Civic hatchback wearing an Purple Speed front lip, Chargespeed wide fenders up front, Work Meister CR01 wheels, J’s hood(?), and J’s Racing rear wing…

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Interesting contrast with this Datsun pick-up truck rolling in with a Ferrari not far behind it…

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Jeremy Allgier’s ARC-themed Prelude build with an appropriately-themed ARC oil cooler peeking-out behind the front license plate bracket…

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Purple KP61 Starlet running TRD N2 widebody panels and RS Watanabe wheels…

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Somehow I forgot to get a full shot of Chris Ortez’s Supra during the madness of roll-in that Saturday but I did get a shot of his Desmond Regamaster EVO wheels and restored Alcon big brakes…

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Chris also has a set of Alcon brakes in the rear and his Desmond EVO wheels have a complete set of rare center caps…

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Joe from Team Menace’s VeilSide Fortune Model FD3S RX-7 built by the talented crew from LTMW here in Southern California…

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Super rare CP Racing widebody kit on this 1st generation SA RX-7 complete with period-correct HRE (Hayashi Racing Equipment) mesh wheels…

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Front-angle view of the widebody ’81 Starlet. If I remember correctly, this also had a 4A-GE swap under the hood…

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Omar Cabrera’s RHD Origin Labo Kouki S14 should be a pretty familiar sight to many of you, as it spent all of January 2019 on the cover of Super Street magazine. Since then he’s added a new set of Volk Racing TE37Saga Time Attack Edition wheels…

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Inside his shaved and tubbed engine bay is where the most significant change has happened with Omar ditching his old RB25DET swap with a VVTI 2JZ-GTE engine…

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By the late afternoon, the building was pretty full already as cars continued to come in…

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Streetfighter LA widebody BMW F30 335 sedan on LD97 forged wheels…

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The newest addition to the LTMW fleet was this Ferrari 458 Italia wearing the newly-released Liberty Walk GT Silhouette kit…

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Parked right up front by the main entrance of the show was Marc’s Super Trofeo Lamborghini Huracan on BBS LM…

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A look from above reveals a host of carbon kevlar accent pieces in the engine bay of the Huracan, which features a Sheepey twin-turbo kit…

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The intricate carbon rear diffuser under the titanium exhausts of the Super Trofeo-kitted Lamborghini…

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Kristian’s Civic hatchback wearing a full Hybrid Racing livery, Truth Motorsports front w/Mode Parfume x Exceed front lip, C-West sides, and mismatched Volk Racing wheels…

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Had to get a shot of the freshly powdercoated Volk RE30 wheels with the sun setting outside…

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Amir Bentatou’s K20 turbocharged time attack NSX which is finally starting to come together and hopefully competitive by the start of 2020…

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The Infinitewerks Lexus LS460 with its K-Break aero kit and triple chrome-plated 22-inch Junction Produce Scara wheels, reimagined and produced by Infinitewerks…

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Route KS Super Madonna custom twin-turbo Acura NSX sitting on custom resized Mugen MF10 wheels owned by Michael Mao…

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Really wish I grabbed a photo of the custom rear trunk on this S2000 that I keep telling you guys about but never actually show you, lol. One of the nicer S2000 builds that day….

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Varis Version 2 widebody Mitsubishi Evolution X, all white with a matching white GT wing, contrasted with bronze Volk Racing TE37V Mark II…

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Another angle of the CP Racing widebody Mazda RX-7 looking great in black…

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If you live in Southern California, particularly in the Orange County area, you’ve probably seen this custom widebody Hyundai Genesis on Rotiform AVV wheels at some point. Jonny Lucas, the owner, drives this car quite often on the streets and often times at this ride height…

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Roll-in ended at about 7PM that Saturday evening and we cleaned-up before heading home for some much needed rest. The following morning there were still about 20 cars that were set to roll-in to finish filling up the building. One of the cars that immediately caught my eye was this Kenmeri Skyline on Panasport G7 wheels…

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The owner is actually from New Zealand, if I recall, and this Kenmeri is the newest project in his fleet of cars which include a Honda S600 roadster and a S30Z which was on display at the 2017 SEMA Show…

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There isn’t a whole lot you need to do to a Kenmeri to make it look good and this one looks fantastic with just some bolt-on flares and custom-built Panasport wheels…

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FD2 Civic Type R conversion on this FA5 Civic sedan with front-staggered TEs…

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On display at The Chronicles booth was Sang’s J’s Racing GT widebody turbocharged S2000, which I believe he actually just sold today. If it’s true, he definitely had a great run with this build, having owned it for 10 years. Excited to see what’s next for him…

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Sometimes people show-up at the end and somehow get the best spot in the house, as evidenced by this Kenmeri Skyline being parked right behind the Wekfest booth…

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Leen Customs brought out this nifty little imported Daihatsu Kei car bagged on Hayashi Street wheels…

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Chris PS13 240SX with Silvia front face conversion and Enkei RPF1 staggered wheels…

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Sometimes we’re blessed with one of the gods of S2000, on this weekend, Tommy Ha graced us with his presence in his ASM-everything AP2 S2000. It’s cool to see Tommy out and about at a car event and not working or judging….

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Apparently you can stuff some pretty big wheels under these new Mazda Miatas, this one was aired-out tucking an aggressive set of SSR Vienna Dish…

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Jaguar XJ from PUREVIP looking pretty cool bagged on Work VS-GS wheels, which was one of the more peculiar-looking wheels in their line-up a few years back. They gotta go on the right car to give it a specific look and they seem to work (no pun intended) on the Jaguar big body…

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Great wheel/tire fitment is all you need sometimes and this Audi R8 is a perfect example of how it can dramatically impact the overall flow of a modified vehicle…

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Wapo Felix’s GM LS-swapped Honda S2000 running what looks to be a Pandem front bumper and M&M Honda over fenders all the way around. Great color flow throughout with everything mostly executed in black with just a nice touch of red accents from both the engine covers, center caps on the Work VS-XX wheels, and Recaro seats…

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Ricky from PUREVIP’s imported Y32 Cima bagged on Wald Duchatelet wheels…

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Karuma Unlimited brought a nice collection of vehicles including this Clinched widebody Lexus IS…

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I’ve always known LOWRESS to be a car club from Japan so it was interesting to see their banner on the windshield of this Pandem Version 2 987 Cayman….

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I swear the final portion of coverage won’t be nearly as lengthy. People swear it takes all kinds of time for me to write all this shit but I’m a writer by trade so all you gotta do is put a keyboard in front of me and I’ll type away. Anyways, hope you enjoyed the words. If you don’t like it, it’s one of those “if the shoe fits” type of deals. I guess you just gotta wear it. Thanks for looking folks, stay tuned for Part 3 of 3!…

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5 comments

  1. All i gotta say is I wish i could meet you one day. There are people out there like myself who have the same mindset. Yeah I know my writing isn’t as good as you, i was actually pretty nervous deciding if I should write this or not but why not. I really enjoy your long blogs, you keep it interesting and especially when you go deep thought into your blogs, those are very meaningful to me. The way you write and express your thoughts & feeling really help me open my mind with all these ideas I have. I have been wanting to create a YouTube channel & apparel ‘brand’ for a long time now but I do not want to be just like everyone else (a sheep). When i finally decide to do both I will have something big to bring to the table. Anyways, keep doing your thing Joey, I really enjoy it and believe it or not it helps me a lot get through the Day and Night.

  2. It’s those that truly care, believe and support what you’re doing that will take time out of their day to fully read and absorb the things you have to say.

  3. I enjoy your writing (wish I could talk to you) but I guess will never happen.

    Thank you for the content all these years.

  4. Wait.! People actually go to shows just for awards? Smh…

  5. Joey is literally the Ye of our culture! We anxiously await the drops, genuine content, and always says what the fuck he wants lol keep it A1 brother, much love from Texas! Cant wait to get that Volume 2!

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