Event: Wekfest LA 2012 – Long Beach, California V.1

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This past weekend the Queen Mary park in Long Beach played host to the second stop in the 2012 Wekfest Tour; Wekfest LA.  It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since the show stormed the grounds in 2011; and as I was expecting, the show was unreal.  Honestly, if I could choose one show to attend for the entire year, there is no doubt it would be Wekfest – LA specifically.  There really is no better venue than the Queen Mary; great weather, beautiful ocean and downtown views, off-shore breezes, shaded grassy areas to relax, and plenty of room for the 300+ cars and the thousands of attendees.  The Wek get better at organizing these shows with each event’s passing and for like minded people, their efforts don’t go unnoticed.  I’d like to give a big thanks to Kenneth Li, Adam Luong, Geoffrey Nguyen and all the other behind the scenes people at Weksos that make this tour what it is.  I had a blast checking out the builds, catching up with familiar faces, and meeting a handful of new people.  With that said, I need to work on getting more sleep before these shows.  I’ve slipped into the unconscious habit of getting a maximum of 2-3 hours of sleep before any particular Wekfest show I’ve attended.  Somehow I managed to arrive a good two hours before media was allowed in; two hours I spent sleeping in the parking lot.  With about 30 minutes to 11am, I walked towards the entrance where I saw my buddy Jon.  As we were talking Geoffrey came up to say hi.  We talked for a few minutes, got my stamp a little early, and I slipped into the fray of glossy metal that is Wekfest.  Check out the first part of coverage past the break – hope you enjoy!

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As I made my way towards the front entrance after my nap, I couldn’t help but notice this black Miata on candy teal TE-37′s.  Awesome combo in my opinion.  I can’t remember seeing it in the show grounds though.

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The Pit Crew equipped Miata that was such a hit at Wekfest San Francisco was in attendance in Long Beach as well.  It doesn’t look like much has changed since February, but then again, why would you change perfection?  It’s a bit funny that I started this post of with a couple of Miata’s seeing as how my lack of sleep was due to driving out to a Miata gathering in the City of Industry the night before.  I was out around Pomona picking up a Bride seat for my car Friday afternoon, and knowing I was in the area, Kodi hit me up about a little pre-KINOD meet near Puenta Hills.  I met him and Jonathan up at a driving range (for some reason) that night and, after failing to hit a few balls, we made our way to the Krispy Kreme where the gathering was.  Long story short, and skipping the dinner at Maxim Cafe, stories about seeing eye dogs that can understand English, and about 30 spot-on Sylvester Stallone impression from “Instant Gentleman” Kyle, I didn’t get back to Long Beach until 3am.  Resulting in my tired, sluggish state at the show the next day.  Whew…I think that’s the most back-story I’ve ever typed on this blog.

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While these shows have about the best diversity out of any out there, it wasn’t hard to see that the VIP scene has taken off incredibly well here.  I was talking to Geoffrey in the afternoon about the turn out and I brought up the fact that the show was predominantly VIP based.  While he did agree, he also brought up a good note; that it wasn’t planned that way, that’s just what people are turning to now.  Tuners that grew up in the 90′s, are, not surprisingly, getting older.  Lexus, and luxury Nissan’s fall perfectly into the category of something comfortable, that they can still modify in a popular style.   I remember Ken mirroring those thoughts when I interviewed the crew at the Weksos headquarters before the 2012 tour kicked off in San Francisco.

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As I made my way through the paved area in front, people were still hard at work putting the final touches on their cars.  It’s amazing to me how clean these cars are – so much effort!

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I always get a little overwhelmed walking into a show of this magnitude.  A little voice pops into my head and says, “how in the world are you going to cover all this?”.  Maybe because I’m still rather new to this, or it could be that it really is difficult to grab a bit of everything.  I like to walk around the grounds first and make mental notes of cars and views to capture before I start shooting.  When I walked into the grass area and spotted Mikes Prelude, I had to nab a few shots though.  Always a pleasure talking to Mike, hearing out his future ideas and seeing his Honda evolve.  His engine bay has gotten a little crazier since the last time I saw it with the help of some new AEM parts.  We’ll take a closer look a little later.

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I caught a little bro love in this frame.  This was my first time seeing this NSX on gold plated Mugen MF-10′s and I was blown away.  It’s not necessarily my cup of tea, but I can appreciate it for what it is.  I’m sure it managed to garner the most attention at the show – and for good reason.  Obviously people focused on the wheels, but it’s still just a small part of the entire build; very cool car.

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Dynamic Duo.

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Jon’s Amuse S2000 head up a line of other nicely built red AP’s.  The one in the middle was sprayed with a matte clear coat – it looked pretty cool.  Lot’s of S2000 representation at this show.  I somehow ended up befriending the S2Ki guys and spent the majority of the day with them – which was pretty cool.

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This S2000 from Top Down was pretty impressive.  I really liked the color and the V-mount setup sticking out the J’s Racing bumper.

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I had the great pleasure of making acquaintances with Nahn and his beautiful AP1.  As a little treat for you guys, after the show, we made our way over to Ballade Sports and I had a little impromptu shoot with this car.  Nahn is seriously a cool guy; his attitude coming second only to that of his car.  Some of the shots came out pretty great – you’ll have to wait a few days for that though.

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I really enjoyed this Celsior and it’s incredible rear camber.  It had a ‘K-Break’ like pin-striping on it too.

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Another crazy S2000 on Volk SL’s and AP Racing brake setup.  The engine in this car was intense – I’ll have pics of it as we get deeper in the coverage.  I think I overheard that the owner actually brought two S2000′s to the show.

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At this point in the morning, cars were still in the staging process.  I caught this Miata mowing the lawn as it made it’s way to the designated parking spot.  It was rolling on some purple Diamonds; the most hated/loved wheel in the Miata world.

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A few cars making their way in through the back entrance.  I thought this Kouki was kind of cool – really liked the color.

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I was on the lookout for a clean Infiniti that I liked to inquire about a photo-shoot for one of NDF’s sponsors.  I really liked this one and meant to go back and talk to the owner, when he was less busy, but of course it slipped my mind.  The gold Works looked great against the glossy black.  I liked the duckbill spoiler as well.

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The views from the park overlooked the water and downtown Long Beach; hard to beat.  Especially when half the frame is full of Civics like this.

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This RHD DB8 was another car at the show that gathered a lot of attention.  I liked the mag blue against the crazy green color.

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The Bandit’s had their cars all lined up along the edge of the park, giving them the greatest backdrop for photos.  This blue EG had a plethora of neo-chromed parts – inside and out.

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A clean and simple example of a S2000.  Let’s Roll.

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The Queen Mary stood guard over the show grounds, and just dominated any view in that direction.

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One car that didn’t have the best presence at the show was the RX-7 – I can’t remember seeing more than a few all day.  This one was simply modded, but it looked very good.  Reminds me a little of the Burnout FD’s.

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Suzuka Blue S2000 from Royal Flush.  I think Royal Flush ended up getting 2nd for best crew presence or something like that.  They had a lot of cars showing.

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The Eco Mugen CR-Z!  Looks really, really nice.  I’m glad to see the CR-Z doing fairly well in the states.  I don’t think it will ever reach the popularity that it has in Japan, but it’s nice to see it catching on however slowly.  The Japanese aftermarket support definitely exists for this platform.

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This Aristo was parked precariously on the edge of the park, but it made for great photo-ops.

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I am a sucker for all white EVO’s and this was no exception.

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The show had no shortage of models walking around throughout the day which allowed for many good photo-ops.  I talked to Kristine (I have no idea how to spell her name) for a little bit in the front of the show and ended up taking a couple shots later in the day.  Cool girl, with a cool tattoo.  Seeing as how I’ve written this article twice now, I’m going to hang up V.1 of the Wekfest LA coverage here.  I hope this first post gives you an idea of how diverse the show is – keep in mind, NDF only covers the Japanese aspect of things.  There were also plenty of nicely built European and exotic cars on hand as well.  Gives you an idea of how much thought is put into the variety of things.  Sorry I interrupted the Super Taikyu coverage, but as you know, it’s the season of car shows here in California.  I’ll do my best to get the coverage out there as fast as I can in the next few days.  It will probably end up being about a 5 post series like Wekfest SF, as I took about 600 photos.  As always, thanks for visiting!

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