A Nameless Genre: The Scene At Wekfest Long Beach
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This past weekend, I headed to Southern California for Wekfest Long Beach – the annual LA area stop for the highly popular car show tour.

The name might still sound funny, but Wekfest has become one of the most influential events of its type, with stops across continental 48 states as well as Hawaii and Japan.

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The setting for last weekend’s show was the familiar events park at the Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor. And being a holiday weekend with great weather, the turnout was strong to say the least.

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As I made my way through the show, I began to wonder just how exactly you would classify the genre of automobile that Wekfest and other events like it cater to.

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I came to realize that there isn’t really one label you can attach – and that’s a good thing. Sure, there are similar themes that many of the cars share, but when a friend of family member asks me what kind of event I spent the weekend at, it’s hard to explain.

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Is Wekfest an import show? I don’t know. While the vast majority of the cars on display were either from Japan or Europe, American-made cars were also welcome. Among the mix there were Corvettes, Mustangs and Challengers, many wearing Liberty Walk body parts.

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Is Wekfest a tuner or sport compact show? While I’m not even sure what those terms mean these days, there were lots of vehicles that one might classify as such. Plenty of Evos, WRXs, S2000s and other cars loaded up with lightweight wheels, sticky tires and go-fast parts from Japan.

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But there were also many cars that were more about rolling in style than rolling quickly; think customized Japanese VIP sedans and European luxury cars.

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Okay then, so Wekfest is an event for customized late-model cars, right? Well, most of the cars were of the more contemporary variety, but there were also plenty of entries from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

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The more I thought about it, the more stumped I became. Wekfest is a show without borders, and to me that’s what makes it so great. It’s the kind of event where you’ll see a vintage Porsche Outlaw Speedster (that was recently featured right here on SH) in one spot…

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And an aired-out Toyota Sienna minivan parked opposite. A classically-styled European sports car and a made-in-America Japanese minivan – two vehicles could not be more different from each other. And neither looked out of place.

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It’s the same story at other Wekfest events here in the US, or even in Japan, where you”ll find a similar mix of styles. If there was one unifying theme though, it would probably be the age of the crowd, which seems to skew young. I didn’t see too many folks who looked to be over the age of 40.

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Eventually, I realized there was no use trying to define the automotive genre that Wekfest represents and just started soaking in all of the cool cars.

Old School, New School
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Being Southern California, you could expect a strong showing of heavily modified Hondas, and the turnout of Civics, Integras, S2000s and other models did not disappoint.

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Among the Honda crowd was a diverse array of styles, with some builds geared more towards the show side of things and others like this DC2 Integra adding plenty of function to the mix.

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Making its American debut at Wekfest LB was the TRA Kyoto Pandem wide-body kit for the EG Civic, in the form of this yellow machine built by LTMW.

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Along with a unique ’90s-esque look, the widened fenders allow EG owners to fit some pretty aggressive wheel and tire combos on their cars. In this case it’s 15-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37Vs with Toyo R888s.

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And speaking of TRA Kyoto, here’s Miura’s original one-off EF kit on Jonathan Wong’s car. Don’t count on this one going into production any time soon.

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Sticking with the old school Honda theme for a moment, here we have an Accord Wagon loaded with rare Mugen parts, including a set of slick M7 wheels.

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Are the mid 1990s not old enough for you? Then how about this patina-covered Beetle. It was one of a handful of air-cooled Volkswagens present at Wekfest Long Beach.

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I don’t know how many Beetle purists there are out there, but I’d be interested to hear what they say when they see this one.

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From the makeshift wide fenders to the GT wing and massively stretched tires, it was easily one of the more outlandish builds at Wekfest this year.

No Place For Purists
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Here’s something else that might confuse a few people – a pair of radical Porsche 911 GT3s from from Phaze2/Crooks & Castles.

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If for some reason you didn’t recognize the livery, it’s Spoon’s well-known blue and yellow pattern – a tongue-in-cheek nod to the owners’ Honda roots. Wrong and right at the same time.

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Purists don’t uncover your eyes just yet, here’s a first generation NSX with air suspension and candy paint. Given the rising values of these cars, I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing too many more builds like this in the future.

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Okay, you can open your eyes now. Here’s another, much simpler NSX finished in what should be a more ‘agreeable’ theme.

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And how about an FD3S RX-7 that could easily be the NSX’s perfect twin? All that’s needed is a blue-over-white JZA80 Supra to complete the trio.

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As I mentioned a moment ago, there were a lot of VIP sedans at Wekfest Long Beach, including many newer Lexus and Infiniti models wearing the latest styling parts from Japan.

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But I found myself being drawn to some of the classic VIP platforms, like this first generation Lexus GS300 finished in bright red and looking just right.

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Equally cool was this wild first generation Infiniti Q45 – a groundbreaking luxury car that’s now over 25 years old. Unfortunately, you don’t see too many of them on the road any more.

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Needless to say, the parking lot offered some cool finds of its own, including this stunningly-clean Porsche 964 slammed over a set of BBS wheels.

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And this Subaru Legacy 2.5GT station wagon, with a body shape that I personally think has aged quite well. Future classic, anyone?

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The type of car enthusiast that events like Wekfest cater to might be diverse and hard to label, but that’s exactly what makes them so great.  It’s just one more indicator that car culture in 2016 is alive and well.

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Stay tuned for more coverage from Wekfest Long Beach, including spotlights on some of the most notable cars from this year’s event.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia
mike@speedhunters.com

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60 comments

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1

That beetle is one of the tackiest, most half assed looking cars I have seen on this site. Trying way too hard

2
EddySphaggeti

Kinda like you're comment

3

You don't have to be a beetle purist to know that that black/laced one is beyond trying hard. Those flares(flaps?) are atrocious. I'm all for people doing what they want to please themselves with their cars, but really, if you're going to try something different at least do it well. I'm probably feeding into his "I love haters" mantra, but meh, so be it.


Bagged old Merc is all class, and I actually don't mind that Pandem GTR in red....not a fan of any of that flared stuff normally, but it's clean and simple without the big spoiler and no stickers. Plenty of other nice cars too.

4

Love ALL of them. One of the best "CarShow" posts of this year so far. Cant wait to see the features that come out of it! Well done Mike.

P.S. That deep Cobalt Blue STI in the last bonus image... f'ing BRUTAL!!!

5

Thanks for the great coverage again! And those brakes on that van are amazing! love it. I wish I had not have been so lazy and made it out to this event. I'm going to wait until I see that new TRA Kyoto Pandem civic in person before I make my final judgements on it. Most of his cars( TRA Kyoto) look so much better in person then in pics. But that bug... umm, well it has already been said in others comments.

6
benedict cumberbatch

yikes @ the rocket bunny civic

7

This is silly. Can we have more stories about people and their cars? Real shit? Stories about what keeps builders going as they struggle with a build? 

I don't care about your over fenders, WORK wheels, ls swap...tell me about the first drive after getting your car tuned where you stayed out for 5 hours driving around and actually explored your town.

There is so much care placed on what wheels we have, body modifications, it's killing us.

8

What's silly is, your post..not this article.

9

Ahh "stance", the 2010's version of Auto Salon
http://matthewpoon.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=3393

10

@Nick good call.

11

@Nate true. The beetle, sorry, but it just looks like a POS.

12

ALrxeit I agree. I want to know what you built or modified, not what wheel you paid too much for and what you bolted on. 

But I do like the car show posts because you see a lot of different cars at once.

13

Yeah this is silly. More home build less of this nonsense. These people have way too much money and no taste

14

I'm halfway on my bnr32, but it's driveable again for this summer :)
3 years of progress has taken me this far...
http://www1.garaget.org/gallery/images/216/215461/215461-a68af2d10be3562a4b581bcb27ff380b_large.jpg

15

Bored of this ugly ass stuff, would be nice if you guys visit late night meets again like you once did.

16

This whole world of Stance is just the new generations of Fast & Furious ricers. Honestly, people will look back at these cars in 10 years and laugh at them like we laugh at the Fast & Furious cars today.

17

TakaKiseki At the time it was a popular style so people may make fun of it in the future however its popular and equally accepted and hated at the moment, in short DealWithIt.jpeg

18
awesomefearwave

wow, all these negative comments. if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all, it's that simple. i simply love this kinda stuff. i enjoy low stanced cars. they just look low and mean. for everybody who says this stuff is shit, go fuck yourselves. if it's not your taste, why bother coming to this article then?

19

What car is the 8th car up from the bottom? The Falken tire one.

20
Janne Koskinen

@Jo Cool SW20 MR2

21

awesomefearwave Because Mike asked what people thought of it and so we responded, no need to take it personally.

22

ALrxeit That's fine if you think cosmetic modifications are not "real"  - not sure why LS swap is on your list though. Haha.

23

Spaghetti I was digging the GT-R too. Had a good look to it.

24

@Nate A conversation starter for sure.

25

eejjkk Thanks. Glad someone has some interest in this haha.

26

@Nate awesomefearwave I don't care if people don't like certain things, there's just a lot of leaping to conclusions going on.

27

KKDeth No taste? There wasn't one car up above that you thought was tasteful? Or do you focus on the stuff you don't like?

28

Mitchellol How would the cars at a late night be any less ugly than these ones?

29
turbo BEAMS ae86

nice vip + red rwb

rest is fast and furious

30
turbo BEAMS ae86

Mike Garrett Mitchellol more likely spend on turbo then taiwanese air ride

31
turbo BEAMS ae86

@Nate i scroll past in disgust

32

That is not a 997 GT3 with the Spoon Sports livery... Owner is faking the funk.

33

The sti at the end takes the honours, for me.

34
turbo BEAMS ae86

@Shortshorts rice

35

That yellow EG looks mean, first time I see that kit.
And YES, the Subaru Legacy/Outback it's one of the best Station Wagons ever made, timeless!

36

Great collection of cars, thanks for the coverage Mike!

37

Not going to lie, I miss the outrageousness of the show cars from those days. Though I am really happy the chrome baller rims of the era are gone.

38

It always amazes me how much time, money, blood, sweat & tears people put into each of these cars. Regardless of styles or trends, there are countless days & nights put into each one. Considering how long it takes me just to change my oil, these guys are true innovators. That BRG 86 build by itself is a great effort. Nice job.

http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67269

39
CozzyCozbourne

@benedict cumberbatch 
I didn't realize so many boners could be popped at once. 40 boners, minimum.

40

I love the scene that shows through the Wekfest events, but please please please can people NOT use the Queen Mary for a few years? The parking lot is horrendously laid out, it's overused, there's nothing but an overpriced souvenir shop nearby and the grass has been absolutely HAMMERED. It needs a break.

41
CozzyCozbourne

EddySphaggeti 
'Your'.  If you wish to be snarky don't make any obvious grammatical errors. Nothing is sadder than snarky condescending moron. Talking down to your inferiors is an earned privilege, not a right.

42

TakaKiseki There's ALWAYS going to be a style that we look back on and laugh at. Flared/over fendered/RB/LWB/Pandem/Wide body cars will be next.

43

CozzyCozbourne "a snarky" or "than snarky condescending morons" :P

44

It's obviously Slammed Cars theme....
Scrolling down quickly you notice pretty much every car has wheel tucked and/or camber to accommodate how low it is (as opposed to performance reasons).
Some very nice looking cars though.

45
CozzyCozbourne

Spaghetti CozzyCozbourne 
Well played good sir.

46
B to the Ruce

Mike Garrett awesomefearwave 
I dig it all. Dem NSX's...umpphhh.   (not diggin' that black bug though..)

47

Yeah.. well.. thats the story of my life Mike, whens there's nothing good you tend to focus on the negatives. But I suppose if that gun thats pressed against my forehead is loaded then Id have to pick the silver 964. Apart from that it looks pretty grim to me. Please accept my dearest apologies for the abject negativity.

48

@Nate ASVW lover here,,,, but you are correct ......

49

I admit that the Pandem kit looks really good on that yellow EG Civic.
A gorgeous Hakosuka on the top but only one pic? C'mon...

50

Anthony959rs Spotlight coming :)

51
bluestreaksti

Paddy taught us this genre is called 'stance'.  Thanks for fleshing it out to give us a better understanding ;) ;)  Eye candy.

52

Count me in on that EG Pandem kit, it is pretty goddamn gorgeous. Now to convince my buddy to fit one on his.
This whole event looks incredible, the variety is just staggering. I wish more ran with this open door policy.

53

Can anyone identify the model and year black Mercedes in the bonus section? That thing has got me in a tizzy! As does the late model porsche and GT3s. I hate the stance scene but no one can argue there is some beauty that exists above! What did trolls do before internet?

54

ALrxeit You just blew my mind bro

55
ColtBuffington

Stance is fine and good if that's what your into but for a site called "speed"hunters, it goes against the name of the site. None of the insanely low and massively cambered cars would be good from a performance standpoint. I don't mind so much when its done to non-performance oriented cars (sedans and the like) but seeing sports cars have their performance aspect ruined really bother me.  But hell everyone has a love hate relationship with my car too so who am I to judge.

56

I think the best on the site are the dark blue cars: that 3 door Civic, the NSX and the RX-7. I don't like the wider fenders on the Type R looking yellow Civic, if it's wider at the rear shouldn't it be the other way round being FWD? But It appears that they're kept same width from the other pics so idk. Also whatever happened to the slightly less-obnoxious way of white tyre lettering? Anyway I'm not a Honda fan but that Civic is nice..

57

That kit makes me want to build one of them from the ground up even more than i already wanted to.

58
tyleredwards888

"Speedhunters" is merely a brand, they don't specifically look at purely cars built for speed or racing, this isn't a motorsport news site, it's a car culture website which highlights all aspects of car culture; from dakar rally to wrc or then on to Formula Drift or an air cooled Porsche. All of this gets featured here because it is all part of the car culture we have in 2016.

59

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