Wekfest Invades The Queen Mary In Long Beach
Coming off a successful car show in Nagoya, Japan, the crew at Wekfest worked at a feverish pitch to prepare for their annual Long Beach event, the fourth stop of their 2016 schedule. It was held at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, and offered an eclectic collection you simply won’t find anywhere else – perfectly-restored cars along with crazy projects ranging from resto-mods to street-prepped race machines. Over 400 cars were on display at this year’s event with a strong international showing, as Japanese, European and even a few American cars were on hand to showcase their creations.
This show-stopping Civic made its debut a month ago, wowing the crowds at the Eibach Meet at Storm Stadium; at the time it was sans engine and interior due to time constraints. The Nemos Garage-built machine reappeared at Wekfest, now with its engine in place along with a plethora of show-worthy modifications. This Alcantara-clad, chrome-plated, immaculate Civic Coupe was initially acquired for the sole purpose of track duty. It was purchased with just 70,000 miles on the odometer, and Angel Torres took the original SI to the track at least once, but sometimes twice a month for a little over a year. At the end of 2014, the car was dismantled to become the showstopper it now is. The engine bay was completely shaved, with the brake and clutch master cylinders moved into the cabin to clean up the underhood appearance. The original Electron Blue Pearl paint was stripped before the entire car was repainted with Monte Carlo Blue pigment, sourced from the BMW color palette. The Civic’s stance was adjusted to an eye-pleasing ride height courtesy of Exceed Japan Short Stroke Dampers, bringing the black chrome Volk Racing CE28 wheels right up to the wheel arches.
Although the particular B16A engine this car came equipped with from the factory was surprisingly potent, it was not nearly enough for this build. The replacement powerplant is in the form of a K20Z1 engine, which was original equipment in the 2005-06 Acura RSX Type S. This beast has been augmented to provide big power courtesy of one of Precision Turbo’s PT5858 CEA turbochargers. As this EM1 took over show duties, Angel’s previous show car – an EG Civic – took over track duties, winning several competitions in 2015. Angel’s latest creation won “Best Engine Bay” at this event.
While walking the event, we came across a familiar orange-clad Corolla we saw just a few weeks prior at Toyotafest. This time around, we connected with vehicle owner Joel Tan as he delivered to us the grand tour of his award winning ’73 Toyota Sprinter Trueno. Vehicle modifications include a fully built 2TG cylinder head with 3T block, 89mm pistons, SK Racing twin side draft caburetors, 291 cams, a set of Evolution wheels, 185/60/13 Federal tires, Nardi steering wheel, and a full audio system completed with an old-school Alpine gooseneck equalizer.
“I built this car in my garage with the help of my co-worker Norman Alarcon. When I purchased the car, it was simply a US-spec Corolla shell that we built as a Sprinter Trueno,” says Tan.
During the build process, which took two-and-a-half years, Tan has used his sources to secure parts from all over the world – a front bumper and badges from Spain, door panels from the Philippines, and seat skins from New Zealand. The fender metal flares, hood, both fenders, the front grille, and the windshield seals were all purchased and shipped to Southern California from Japan.
“This was a dream car for me ever since I was a kid,” Tan says.
His dedication and perseverance paid off as he was awarded two trophies from the event – third place for “Nostalgic Car of the Festival” and the “Lito’s Choice” award.
In Southern California, It’s not unusual to see hundreds of Mazda Miatas over the course of a week-long commute; when in stock form, they all sort of blend into one another. But there are a few one-in-a-million sightings that makes everyone turn their heads and stare, and this Miata will definitely cause one to do a double-take. The stock front end typically associated with Miatas has been replaced by a Pit Crew Racing front nose kit. Pit Crew Racing, located less than 5 minutes from the famous Suzuka F1 circuit in Japan, is a well-known name known within the Miata community in Japan and abroad as they specialize in dress-up, tune-up, and nostalgic accessories for the Eunos Roadsters. For the uninitiated, Mazda branded the Roadster – identical to the 1989-’96 MX-5 – as part of their now-defunct Eunos brand strategy in Japan.
Designed by Tetushi Uezono, this retro-styled front-end design was inspired from classic British automotive styling similar to that found on the Ginetta G4 and Karmann Ghia, as it blends seamlessly with the Miata’s original body lines for a distinct yet clean appearance. Star Road Glow Stars wheels complete the exterior transformation, while the engine was modified with a supercharger for additional power, then polished to provide a stunning appearance. A Project-G bikini top delivers the perfect combination of looks and functionality as well as additional protection from Mother Nature when cruising down the highway. The interior was reupholstered with tan diamond-stitching throughout, while a vintage dash center and console from Nielex add the finishing touches to this neck-breaking Mazda.
At this year’s Wekfest, “Best Nissan” was awarded to Julia Phan Duong’s ’96 Nissan 240SX SE. It’s been a long road to get the car to this point, but the end result was worth the wait, as the car is impressive. The car was purchased in 1996, when Julia lived in Florida. When her family decided to move to Southern California, the car stayed behind in the garage of her in-laws in Florida – for the next 14 years! The vehicle was eventually transported to LA and the transformation began. The Kouki-converted S14 was kitted with a full Vertex Lang makeover, Ganador mirrors, JDM visors, Silvia grill, and Seibon Carbon hood, then it received a fresh coat of Bianco Isis paint sourced from Lamborghini’s color array.
Evasive Motorsports was commissioned to build and install the SR20DET engine using rare ARC parts including oil pan, radiator, induction box, front-mount intercooler, blow off valve, and titanium sparkplug cover. HKS Step 2 camshafts, valve springs and retainers combine with a set of adjustable camshaft gears to complete the cylinder head upgrades. A Tomei M7960 turbo and outlet pipe expels spent gases though an Apex R95 Titanium exhaust.
Suspension and brake upgrades include a combination of Tein Flex coilovers, Whiteline bushings, SPL tension rod, toe arms, and camber arms, GT-spec fender brace and Cusco front and rear strut tower bars. Project Mu six-piston front brakes and four-piston rear brakes use B-Force pads and brake lines, while a set of Volk Racing TE37 MAG 18×8.5-inch front and 18×10-inch rear wheels are wrapped in Toyo R1R tires.
The interior also received Julia’s special treatment beginning with a set of Bride Gias II Gradation seats with matching gradation rears. A full lineup of Defi Advance CR60MM gauges, Nismo GT Competition harnesses by Willans, and a Safety 21 four-point roll cage completes a build that was taken well above your average show car and well deserved of its first place award.
We close out this year’s coverage of Wekfest with the most memorable car from the event. This event superstar was none other than a VW356 ’57 Speedster replica. Brothers John and Edison Sarkisyan collaborated on the build, and further inspection helps us to consider this car a true work of art. The car was built over the course of only six months and debuted at last year’s SEMA show. The Sarkisyan brothers purchased a Beck Speedster body and grafted it onto – of all things – a 1964 Beetle chassis, which was shortened by 12 inches to ensure proper fitment. The body, along with the Fifteen52 Outlaw wheels, was sprayed in Audi hue Nardo Gray to deliver a show-worthy appearance.
A quick glace into the interior cabin of the vehicle and we immediately see this Speedster was built with no expenses spared. Leather diamond stitched seats and door panels mix in with plenty of chrome components and deliver a strong contrast to the gray exterior. A McIntosh amplifier was ingeniously integrated into the rear cabin using a faux luggage case. Only a watchful eye will catch much of the intricate design work, such as the engravings on the A-pillar and steering wheel column. Did we forget to also mention the custom gas cap? Custom indeed!
Wekfest is definitely an event that you want to attend at all costs. If you missed out this year or simply want to see future show schedules in your area, be sure to visit their website.