Wekfest New Jersey 2019
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
The Wekfest tour is a force to be reckoned with. No matter the city it stops in, it's always a halo show for the region. One people build their cars for the sole purpose of showing them in Wekfest's halls. At Wekfest's events, you'll find many of the older generation's builds that exemplify what a truly thorough and timeless build really is. Some of these cars only come out for shows of this caliber and are otherwise hidden away to be refined and enjoyed away from the spotlight. Wekfest has been around for a long time, and its organizers and contributors have been around for even longer. Their events and many of the participating cars carry an aura about them that can only exist as a result of years of effort and dedication to cars and the community that surrounds them. As it stands now, there aren't many, if any, events that could fill the place of some of these few remaining event series that hold such a high place in the community and such a high level of respect. Hopefully they stick around for years to come.
I forgot to take a picture so I stole one from Jared's Instagram story. We met up at his new place in Providence and before heading out, we had to make a stop at this bicycle shop/coffee shop near by because we like coffee a little too much. They make their own poptarts...I will be back. I've day tripped Wekfest before and while doable, two four hour drives added to being at the venue for roughly 12 hours is a lot in a day. For the sake of our sanity, and to see our NYC resident Tough Club members, we made the trip down the afternoon before.
The drive down to New Jersey took us about 4 hours and is starting to become second nature with how often we make the trip. The only real complaint is horrendous traffic and inhaling Jared's catless rotary fumes. Besides Jared running his heat to keep temps down and my clutch getting a little hot, the cars performed perfectly too! Although, I wouldn't mind a more forgiving clutch in New York City traffic. Some time together and a couple of NYC's best pizzas later, we were ready for the show
Start time was rough. After driving down in a loud car that's older than me, and spending the night in NYC eating pizza, the last thing I wanted to do was wake up at 6am. The payoff was worth it though for the early roll in time and the opportunity to photograph everyone getting their labors of love ready to showcase to the world.
Something I've always loved about media outlets like Joey Lee's The Chronicles is covering roll in before the show starts. With cars starting to roll into the venue as early as 8, there were great lighting, as well as the opportunity to see the show cars running and driving. This year I was participating in the event so it was a bit difficult to cover but I snapped what I could.
Wekfest and Hondas seem to go hand in hand, wether its "golden era" Hondas like this DC2 generation Integra or new models like the FK8 Type R. I took a lot more pictures of this DC2 once inside the hall.
A perfect embodiment of 90s/00s drift car styling; a Sexy Style kitted 180 and Nismo LMGT2s.
Korean luxury entering into the world of VIP is still in its infancy, but there's some cool builds out there.
A different kind of yacht! These two SRTs sounded like a couple power boats idling in line.
Watching the festivities from afar was a seemly stock BNR32. I wonder how many unmolested GTRs exist in the world...and how much money they'll be worth in the future.
Super Advans are so old news in the tri-spoke world, this static Celica on narrowed first generation Dodge Viper wheels was insane! A sentence you wouldn't be able to imagine if you tried...
Tfw they ask you what management you run but you're static...
This was my first time seeing a MK5 Supra in person and I've decided I definitely love it. The proportions are a little off compared to the previous 3 generations but at its core, it's definitely a Supra. Crown Speed Lab brought this red one as part of their booth. It was stock for now, but I doubt it will stay that way for long.
A bigger surprise than the MK5 Supra was this incredible MK2 Supra I caught waiting for roll in. It was simple in design and immaculate! It's crazy seeing the contrast between this MK2 and the majority of MK4s on the show circuit.
Am I the only one that thinks Y32 Cimas kind of look like late 80s/early 90s Jaguar XJs?
I lose sleep over my want for an Evo 8/9 and @PinoFreshh is not helping. Adorned in Voltex street aero with Chargespeed side skirts and Volk CE28s, it was beyond perfect. What isn't pictured is the incredible sound it emits! A Tomei ti exhaust partnered with an aggressive set of cams, it's chop at idle was intoxicating.
I really couldn't care less about Tesla but it was cool seeing a Model S at an event like this and I'll admit it looked good.
It's impossible to build a better E90/92 M3 base than this, and we're graced with two of them. First and foremost, Japanese wheels and beefy tires are the best possible combination for this platform ever, do not @ me. Secondly it'll need to be brought a couple inches closer to the ground, and lastly it needs some form of lip because BMWs always leave the factory looking like they forgot to install one. From there garnish to taste. These two were magnificent, more of this, please.
I'm surprised there aren't more early Evos imported into the states. I swear there's more illegally imported Evo 6s than there are 1s and 2s.
The jeweled headlights in later model Acuras are one of the coolest looking on the market and one of the hardest to pull off in a retrofit. They look right at home on this TL with its rivetless over fenders and tight fitment.
It really is a feat seeing the organizers filter such an immense amount of cars through one entrance in a timely fashion.
Black might be the coolest looking color for the FK8. White new Regamasters are a great contrast to the dark colors and match the red accents well.
I used the rest of load in time to try and grab as many pictures as I could before the crowds flooded in to make sure I could grab photos of cars that I knew would be covered in people. Something always drawing a crowd is the Japanese Classics booth. Every year they bring the heat! Front and center was Kevin Legaspi's HR31 Skyline sitting on SSR MK IIs with a vintage SSR livery covering its flanks.
The livery accentuates the boxiness of the R31 chassis while adding a lot of dimension to it's design. I love seeing this car at events and seeing him drive it to all of them.
Flanking the HR31 on both sides were these two Y32 Glorias. This is a great example of a VIP platform that's also enjoyable to drive and tune with its twin turbo V6 VG30DET. The purple Y32 also featured a pretty impressive widebody, all in metal.
On the other side of their display sat my favorite...vehicle in their display, a Hino car hauler! Nothing in this company is stock, and the Hino is no exception. Featuring a few rare OEM options, it also sports a custom chin spoiler, tons of dekotora lighting, a custom airfoil, and more, all dressed in the R34 GTR V-Spec's Sonic Silver and propped up on Alcoa wheels. The coolest thing in the world!
The Hino's job wasn't just to look cool, it was also hauling/displaying an R32 GTR on color matched BBS LMs.
By far one of the most impressive builds of the event was this S2000 built and shown by Crown Speed Lab. This build is incredibly special as its the second of three S2000s globally fitted with this Voltex Time Attack kit and it was fitted by Voltex's own Nakajima-san himself in their Queens, NY shop. With its slew of chassis modifications accompanying the insane aero, Crown says the car will see significant track time to put their work to good use.
It's amazing just how much more width the Voltex aero adds to the S2000's rather small body.
In contrast to Crown's time attack machine is this stock bodied S2000 on CE28s. I love the plethora of wide body and over fender options for the AP1/2 chassis, but the stock body lines are classic, especially in black. Hidden behind those bronze CE28s are a set of AP Racing brakes.
With that being said, it is hard not to drool over something as good looking as a Spoon Sports S Tai equipped S2K in an ever so classic shade of white. The spoon theme continued to the spoon aero mirrors, only being broken up by the wheel choice, CE28s.
One of my favorites of the event was this perfect EG Civic hatch. The exterior was kept as simple as possible with the most notable addition being the Spoon front lip. Hood off, you could see the cleanliest home for its B series power plant. The bay work featured enough smoothing to simplify well beyond factory and draw attention to the engine while still looking like an actual functioning engine bay. Most exciting of all was the wheel choice! Seeing Barramundi wheels on stateside cars is rare and I'm excited to see them being run on a US build. Barramundi tailors their brand to most cars on the market with their wide selection of sizing, but Honda owners in Japan have taken a special liking to them.
Tough Club brought the heat as usual. The Tough collection of cars was my favorite of the event... I may be biased though. One car that pushes me to do more with my own is Daniel's BNR32. Making well into the 500s with room to go, his single turbo monster is a fast machine. Tons of rare and desirable goods lurk around the car, most notably those Nismo LMGT1s. Those wheels alone could put his son through college.
Danny's 350Z is quite a departure from the typical Z33 build. Nismo and Amuse parts adorn the exterior but most notably, the widened fenders are Do Luck items. This is probably the only Do Luck equipped Z33 I've ever seen in my whole life. Making use of the wider bodywork is a set of SSR Koenigs, a rarity outside of VIP circles but suiting his car well.
Listen, zenki S14s are the best S14s, but I do love Nainglin's kouki. GP Sports aero, JDM kouki additions, and a black rose vinyl wrap make for a perfect exterior while ZE40s and a CTS-V BBK make things roll and stop. Under the hood is the proper engine choice for this chassis, an SR20DET.
Shrugging off the majority of ZN6/ZC6 "show cars" featuring either a Rocket Bunny kit, -20 degrees of camber, or both, Kevin painted a much more stylish picture of an FRS. Originally running a more aggressive fitment on RS Watanabes with a TRD body kit, he's completely revised the look for this year with a full Varis kit while maintaining the stock fenders that house a set of TE37s wrapped in R888s.
I definitely wasn't up to par, but I was glad to be a part of the event.
Also representing Tough Club and holding down the Rays booth was Jared's magnificent FD. He's managed to stuff some enormous OG TE37s under his fenders, supplemented by a plethora of rare and obscure parts to set his car apart from the typical stance or RE Amemiya look.
Minivans are becoming a bit more of a presence around car shows, usually tailoring more towards stance and VIP styling for the family haulers. Other motorists may get a bit of a surprise with this RA1 Odyssey though. Besides the Work RSZ-Rs and the carbon fiber lip, it was very unassuming on the outside. Under the hood hid a K24.
Hondas have by far the strongest presence of all the manufacturers at Wekfest and I think I spent the most amount of time looking at this one. A JDM front end conversion, Spoon lip, and ITR wing all come together bathed in that beautiful blue hue. Something I never see much is the wheel choice of high offset Work VS-XX. I feel like every time someone runs them its with huge lips and they get posted on Instagram with sad boy lyrics. With their higher offset, they tucked nicely into the fenders, leaving enough room to cut around without buckling a fender. Even more rare is they're 4 lug. Nestled in the perfectly shaved bay is god's engine, the B18.
I'm unsure if there were more FK8s or Nissan R chassis. This BNR32 was an exercise in cleanliness and usability. The monochromatic color scheme kept a discrete look while preventing your eye from focusing too much on one facet. Its stock exterior, besides the Nismo N1 bumper ducts, stat high over Advan RZF2s wrapped in fat tires. Under the hood gave purpose to its battle ready stance with a big single turbo in its factory fresh quality bay.
I think the E90 M3 sedan is the best M3 of them all. The S65 is a marvel of an engine; incredibly high revving V8 with a redline of 8,400 rpm making peak horsepower 100 rpm shy of limiter and peak torque down in the 3,000s. Something about the sound of a small displacement V8 is special in its own right. Looks wise, it's definitively stand out from a base model 3 series, but not enough to draw too much attention., the sedan even more so.
This E90 was a pretty perfect example of one. From the BBS wheels, the subtle side skirts and splitter, to the wing, the exterior is perfect! Inside it even had a painted half cage that you'd almost miss walking past it.
I didn't get to talk to the owner of this EG this year, but I had the opportunity last year, and his passion for Hondas and his personal project was inspiring. His love and dedication to the platform shined brightly through his Spoon Sports themed hatch. The Spoon inspired shade is accented by Spoon's own lip, wing, and mirrors, finished by mag blue TE37s. Under the hood sits a K series swap topped by a Spoon valve cover in a bay with just the right amount of shaving.
You want to talk luxury? This Toyota Century was the definition of Japanese opulence. Due to their rarity and how many cool bits of period technology are jammed in from factory, all this example needed was air suspension and some cool Enkei mesh wheels to draw a crowd.
Quite the contrast to the Toyota limo, I was head over heels for this EK hatch. I have no idea what color this was or if it was a custom mix, but the more I looked at it, the better it looked! Carbon fiber additions and bronze TE37s were excellent accents to the greenish hue.
Time Attack isn't as prevalent on the east coast as it is on the west coast so seeing such a thorough build like this is a rarity. This Z33 is sponsored by TF-Works and features an intense aero package with a C-West Type-E kit at its core. The interior was thoroughly combed through in typical time attack style, weight loss and functionality dictating what stays and what goes. What's under the hood, however, is far from typical. Propelling this beast was a VVL SR20 with a quite sizable turbo. Coming from a relatively large V6, this potent inline 4 was swimming in the engine bay! It must really change the handling characteristics of the car.
I couldn't imagine a more perfect pairing of 80s Toyota wedge shaped goodness.
Chester has one of, if not the best AE86 in the country but he won't admit it. The details run incredibly deep in this J-Blood kitted panda hatch. One of my favorite details is the carbon fiber flares that house a set of perfect SSR Longchamp XR4s that have been color matched black to keep true to the panda theme. The perfectly shaved bay houses THE engine for every Corolla that side of 2000, a 4AGE. Chester's 4AGE is a blacktop 20 valve with its ITBs on full display. One day I'll hopefully do a full shoot on this car and his 2 other AE86s for a story.
Next to Chester's AE86 was this AE82 Corolla FX16. These cars have been a secret weakness of mine and I lost it then I spotted it for the first time at Tuner Evo a year or so ago. Like the AE86, the GTS models came with a 16 valve 4AGE, however these models were an FF layout. There were a pretty fair amount of them in racing and early tuning, but you almost never see them nowadays. Fortunately this example is so amazing, it makes up for the lack of other examples out there.
I took a quick break from the hall to walk the parking lot. Events like these usually have cool little gems parked away spectating the event. This FRS on Watanabes was pretty rad! You don't really need more than this.
A cool Silvia import on Advan RGs.
I think there were just as many FK8s in the parking lot as there were in the show, and there were a LOT in the show. I liked this Championship white one on mag blue TE37s.
Jared and I were tripping over ourselves when we spotting this micro F40 parked amongst the enormous commuter cars. There's only a handful of Autozam AZ-1s in the states and it was definitely a surprise to see one just parked up spectating. The itty bitty 14" TE37s looked perfectly sized on such a small car. I was so caught up in looking at it, I didn't even notice the Underground Racing Lamborghini Gallardo parked right next to it looking huge! I think this car was small enough for them to just slip it into the venue...
While snapping the AZ-1 I had to jump back to grab this Nissan Pulsar GTi-R on Sprint Hart CPRs.
Speaking of small, when was the last time you even thought about Toyota's micro car, the iQ. There was a lot of work packed into such a tiny package and it was insanely cool.
I have not stopped thinking about this DC5 since Weskfest. It's a local car that I had no idea existed until I clocked the MA plate. As it turns out, I had actually run into the car a couple times wearing a very different look. Bathed in a clay shade of gray, It wore a full Mugen kit that's easily one of the best out there for these cars. Completing the exterior was a J's Racing BBK hidden behind gray TE37s. Under the hood sat a real beast of an engine. The K20 is force fed air with a sizable turbo to the tune of 500whp. That exhaust manifold was crazy looking!
Two generations of Championship White Honda sports cars, both rocking matching white Regamasters.
I swear every Honda at the event ran with a Spoon theme. It's easy to see why though. This DC2 pulled off the theme flawlessly.
I think this was the first time I've seen a function oriented car running CCWs since 2013. Voltex aero makes for a mean presence.
Two tone liveries are usually not the best, but the livery on this Lancer Evolution is fantastic! The HKS theme was a unique take on both two tone and the HKS tear graphic. Behind the livery lived a Voltex kit and a serious looking interior.
Interesting aero package on this EG. Mixing and matching aero parts sometimes yield cool results and this Civic stood out for it. The front bumper is a Sergeant item exaggerated by a Rocket Dancer front lip. J's Racing finished off the aero additions with their hood, front fenders, and wing.
I've seen this Lexus RC at a lot of events over the past couple years running cast Rotiforms. It has always looked cool, but it felt like it was lacking something. This year he switched out the Rotiforms to a set of chrome Work Equip 05s and they gave the car that final piece it was missing.
For a while, the consensus was the 99-00 front end was the one to have for your EK build, but lately tastes have shifted closer to 50/50 and it's easy to see why when the 96-98 has options like this SiR conversion and the ever so perfect Spoon Sports lip. Keeping with the Spoon and monochromatic themes are a set of Spoon SW388 with splash of blue from Spoon calipers lurking behind.
Wheel fitment on this LS400 was spot on. Tuck for a VIP build is almost always the way to go, and this LS had millimeter perfect fitment with the Bazreias tucked deep into those worked over fenders.
Regamasters were prevalent throughout the show, but this EK's application stood out by cutting Regamaster Evo faces out and putting them into wider barrels for a unique deep-dish look.
Quite possibly one of the east coast's most winningest show cars, this SC400 has been swapped to a 2JZGTE powered machine wearing a full BN Sports Blister kit. Its moulded over fenders house wide Work Meister L1s and its interior is filled with a JDM fanboy's wet dream.
VA Subarus on air suspension are usually odd looking, but the Crate Street VA looked incredible laid over its contrasting white Regamasters.
I spotted Joey Lee, the man behind The Chronicles and Honda judge of the event, and Yasu from Exceed spending a fair amount of time looking over this DC2 so you know it's worth seeing. It's relatively subtle USDM ITR look exterior hides a fantastic engine bay. The silver exterior frames the gray engine bay well while polished parts add a lot of glow.
HKS USA made a presence at the event with their booth, but even more so with their BNR33 GTR. I didn't get to see under the hood, but the center-lock Nismo LMGT4s it sat on were enough to blow me away!
FB RX-7s don't get enough love in our corner of car culture, but this drag focused example was magnificent! This car was recently featured in Super Street and is a powerhouse in the North East show circuit.
BMW's E9 itself is a rarity and this may be the most modified example this side of a factory works team.
EP3s deserve more love! Seeing more of them (as opposed to the usual none) at shows is exciting, especially with such commitment to the build. A full Type R aero setup, carbon kevlar hood, and CE28s outfit this perfect Spoon themed Civic.
NSXs are at a weird point in history right now. They've always been a coveted chassis in the car community, but as time has progressed, they're becoming more and more coveted as prices rise, resulting in people wanting to keep them fairly true to their OEM look and feel, yet the tuning community has dug its heels even further into the chassis, creating some wild results. These two exemplified the two different schools of thought in NSX ownership. The blue NA1 represented the more wild side of NSX ownership with an aggressive aero package, roof scoop, Voltex wing, and Bride seats. Jorge's white NA1 is a more "purist" approach of subtle tuning from the brands close to Honda's core. Sitting on Mugen MF10s, it's Championship White hue remains uninterrupted by aero additions save for the Spoon mirrors painted black to match he roof. The only other obvious exterior enhancements are a subtle lip and Car Shop Glow front turn signals and tail lights. Other modifications are to highlight and enhance the car's storied driving experience.
If you like cream in your coffee, this tan DC5 is for you! Wearing Mugen from the kit to the MF10s, it wore the theme wonderfully.
Big kit, big Meisters, small Miata.
CRXs seem to be getting rarer than their EF Civic counterparts every day that passes. This clean oem plus CRX on Work CR01s makes a case for why we should preserve as many as we can.
Representing Massachusetts with pride, a pair of complementary 370Zs. Both had distinct looks despite sharing similar parts, exemplifying the difference details can make.
GD3 Fits face a lot of neglect in the modifying world with most Fit enthusiasts favoring the later GE8 chassis. Besides how immaculate this GD3 is, what makes it truly stand out is the mind blowing amount of rare factory optional parts from all over the world. If you ever cross this car at a show, give it a good long look over, you'll be surprised what you'll find.
JDM exterior 8th gen Civics are the best Civics post-2000 and that is not up for debate.
Wekfest New Jersey ended with the award ceremony and the display cars filtering into the evening sunlight. After being freed from the convention center, Jared and I decided there was no better way to prepare for a 4 hour drive like all you can eat Korean BBQ with our NYC friends.
Regardless of where I travel, I always feel at home with the people that are there to greet me. From Mass, to NY, to NJ, with love.
After getting our money's worth, we finally hit the road around 11pm for the long drive home. About half way home we ran into Chester and his AE86 and completed the drive home with him. 3am, a cold, empty highway, and the song of a 4AGE, a 13b, and a RB26 echoing into the night. If you told 15 year old me I would have an opportunity like this, I wouldn't have believed you. To anyone who knew what they were experiencing, it must have been a sight.
I've been heavily slacking releasing this coverage, a big part of it being writer's block and being busier than I should be. I'm going to work hard to get more on top of editing and posting. I'm sitting on a pile of photos, both edited and un edited and will be cranking out as much as possible. Pushing myself to create more and actually post the content I generate will only make the process smother and more streamlined. This is only the beginning of Kotodama, with expansion in the pipeline, I hope to create something wonderful.