Wekfest LA 2023: A Look Back at the Spectacular Event
Earlier this week, we were treated to an exclusive glimpse of the 2023 Wekfest Los Angeles event through our IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER program. This year, Wekfest, founded by Kenneth Li, celebrated its impressive 15-year anniversary. The longevity and passion behind these events are truly remarkable.
A decade ago, the Wekfest LA event was held outdoors in Long Beach, California, and our very own Mike Garrett had the privilege of capturing the excitement. Let’s rewind and take a trip down memory lane as we revisit the 2013 edition of Wekfest LA for this week’s Throwback Thursday.
Set against the stunning backdrop of downtown Long Beach and cool sea breezes, the Queen Mary Events Center in Long Beach served as an absolutely picturesque venue for car enthusiasts. Wekfest itself needs no introduction, having started as a small gathering in the San Francisco Bay Area before expanding into a traveling series spanning across the United States and even reaching Hawaii. Rumors of Wekfest’s expansion to Japan in 2014 had already begun to circulate.
While Wekfest’s roots are firmly planted in Northern California, the event has found a warm welcome in sunny Southern California as well. This year, Wekfest LA returned to its beloved home at the Queen Mary over the Memorial Day weekend, attracting an immense crowd of eager spectators and bringing together Southern California’s finest import cars.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, with clear skies and temperatures hovering around a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit, showcasing the envy-inducing climate that makes Southern California a dream destination for car enthusiasts from around the world.
One cannot deny the remarkable growth of Wekfest over the years. The event was already bursting at the seams in 2013, with the Long Beach showgrounds brimming with an incredible selection of high-quality cars. It seemed that the line of eager spectators waiting to enter was endless, a testament to the event’s undeniable appeal.
What sets Wekfest apart is its diverse range of participating cars. While it isn’t limited to any particular genre, Wekfest predominantly showcases late-model Japanese and European cars. Within this realm, you’ll find a myriad of styles, ranging from functional track cars and stanced machines to VIP sedans, vans, drift cars, and high-end European vehicles. Wekfest truly embodies the pulse of the import community.
Even though Wekfest has become synonymous with Japanese and European imports, there are always outliers that add an exciting twist. On one side of the event, for instance, a pair of tough-looking Chevy muscle cars, including a Chevelle on CCW wheels, caught everyone’s attention. These cars were a deviation from the predominantly Asian and European lineup but still managed to make a strong impression.
Another standout car was Mike Mao’s distinctive Acura NSX. This unique machine showcased its rare beauty at Wekfest, and if you somehow missed it, be sure to check out the feature our very own Sean and I did on this extraordinary vehicle.
Hondas have always played a significant role in the import scene, and Wekfest LA was no exception. These stunning Japanese cars were on full display, showcasing rare wheels, immaculate engine bays, and an unmistakable squash-flavored air freshener scent.
VIP cars also took center stage at Wekfest, with Kyoei USA’s LS400 exemplifying the exquisite craftsmanship often associated with Japanese luxury vehicles. Its timeless bippu look perfectly captured the essence of VIP styling.
But Wekfest is not solely about Japanese imports. A late-model C-Class Mercedes, tastefully sitting on a set of classic Work Eurolines, demonstrated how seamlessly European VIP cars can blend in with the event’s lively atmosphere.
The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ made a significant impact with their increasing presence at Wekfest. A special section was dedicated to these cars, showcasing various modifications that have taken the scene by storm.
One cannot talk about Wekfest without mentioning the infectious influence of Rocket Bunny. Originating from Kyoto, Japan, this extraordinary breed of cars has rapidly spread throughout the United States. We had the pleasure of witnessing one such creature, perfectly adapted to Arizona’s hot and dry climate.
As the years have passed, the Honda S2000 has become increasingly affordable, allowing more enthusiasts to own and modify this iconic sports car. It’s safe to say that we can expect to see a surge in creative and adventurous S2000 builds. At Wekfest LA, an eye-catching AP1 with a full color change stole the show.
Reflecting on the past, it’s hard to believe that over a decade has passed since the release of the DC5, a car that marked a new direction for Honda. An elegantly facelifted RSX on concave face TE37 wheels stood as a testament to the timeless appeal of this model.
The balance between function and style was epitomized by an E46 M3 sporting a set of Mag Blue TE37 wheels. This car exuded perfection in every aspect.
Some cars, however, didn’t quite hit the mark when it came to suspension travel and tire selection. One particular wagon caught our attention, as it seemed unaware of its less than ideal setup.
An AE86 never fails to captivate, and at Wekfest LA, a beautifully lowered example proudly boasted its USDM bumpers, showcasing the spirit of this iconic car.
Even amidst the sea of impressive cars, a BMW 2002 managed to grab our attention. This little Bimmer exuded coolness and couldn’t help but steal our hearts once again.
There’s a certain charm in simplicity, and that’s precisely what a super clean 2002, adorned with bitchin’ stance, cool wheels, and a perfectly executed old school color combination, brought to the show.
While C4 Corvette “Sawblade” wheels originated in the VW scene, they found their way onto certain Japanese cars, such as the Impreza wagon we stumbled upon. Opinions may be divided on this particular setup, but it undeniably added a unique touch to the vehicle.
Among the myriad of cars on display, there were a few that stood out from the rest. One such gem was the stunning EA-T Civic from Rywire, a rare sight considering the scarcity of Civics from this generation. This car resided on a whole different level, leaving spectators in awe.
The engine bay of the EA-T Civic was an absolute masterpiece, beckoning the possibility of a dedicated feature to explore every detail.
Equally impressive was an EF build by ATS Garage, reminiscent of the vehicles one might encounter around Osaka’s Kanjo Loop in the early hours of the morning.
Another EF Civic in a more traditional old school SoCal import style proved that the classics never go out of fashion.
In a surprising twist, a wicked-looking Porsche 997 graced the event, showcasing the incredible variety that Wekfest has to offer.
The somewhat under-appreciated BMW Z3 M Coupe, outfitted with a perfectly fitted set of Work Meister S1 wheels, caught our attention for all the right reasons. Its mild aesthetics were far from disappointing.
While Hondas have shifted away from the big wheel trends of the early 2000s, a well-executed set of 17-inch wheels can still grant a Civic or Integra a remarkably polished appearance, as demonstrated by a DC2 on TE37s.
Before we conclude our journey through Wekfest LA 2013, let us not forget the incredible variety brought about by this event. From vintage Japanese cars to remarkable European machines, Wekfest catered to every automotive enthusiast’s taste, leaving no one disappointed.
One prime example of this diversity was a BMW Z3 M Coupe, elegantly fitted with Work Meister S1 wheels and exuding its own unique appeal.
In conclusion, Wekfest LA 2013 was an unforgettable event that embodied the best of the import car scene. From its humble beginnings to its remarkable growth, Wekfest has solidified itself as a premier event, showcasing the finest cars and leaving enthusiasts hungry for more.
As we look back on this remarkable event, it’s essential to acknowledge that Wekfest has become more than just a car show. It has transformed into a cultural phenomenon that celebrates automotive passion, craftsmanship, and camaraderie. We eagerly await future installments of Wekfest, as it continues to push boundaries and inspire car enthusiasts worldwide.
(Mike Garrett, Instagram: japanifornia)
(Throwback Thursday posts on Speedhunters)