WEKfest Nagoya. A show that has made its way from the USA to the shores of Japan. It’s a show where Japanese people do what everyone else usually tries to do, which is to modify their cars after another country’s style. This show, as you might have guessed, is focused on the USDM style.
I’m not really too sure what that consists of, as I’ve only been to Hawaii and it wasn’t an automotive related trip. If I were to guess, however, I’d say that it would be considered ‘cool’ to have your wheel on the left side of your car, as well as USDM vehicle trims like bumpers and such.
One way to get all of this into one car is to just straight up import a Japanese made car produced for the USA market back to Japan. This would mean it would be left-hand drive, the trims would be typical USDM spec, and most likely the car would have a ‘cool’ factor that others don’t just because it came from the USA.
Although this was only my first year attending WEKfest in Nagoya, the event is actually a few years in already. I have to say, what apparently started off in a small shed in the USA, has grown to something that can entertain you for a whole day.
The show was located at Nagoya’s Messe Port just outside of the city centre, a short drive from where we were staying. The actual event was held under one big dome building, there weren’t 3 different halls like most shows, everything was under one big roof which was a nice change.
Sitting in the centre of the dome sat rows and rows of heavily modified cars to a very high standard, and when I say very high, I mean VERY high. The quality of cars were astounding, you could have easily spent a few days in that dome going over every car in detail. The problem was you only had one day, and when you were looking at the finer details of one car, another one would grab your attention and distract you.
Lined around the outside of the circle dome stood many trade stands showing off their fresh products, or their next level show cars with all the modifications you could possible bolt on to a car. From the likes of Liberty Walk, Super Street, Hardtuned, and so on. A number of easily recognisable booths for the interested lay waiting at WEKfest.
Outside the venue were some food stands. I’ve come to realise that all Japanese shows have exactly the same food available. It’s good food, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint. Food like karaage (fried chicken), yakisoba (fried noodles), okonomiyaki (fried Japanese pizza-ish thing), takoyaki (fried octopus). Everything is fried and delicious.
My favourite thing about WEKfest was how close everything was. Only one building meant minimal walking that day, which is a nice break. For an event occupying not much space, the team still managed to pack in a heap of cars that made you forget about being only under one roof. This line of RX-7s are belong to friends of mine from Okayama prefecture, one day I’ll head to their garage and write a little article about what they do, it’s rather interesting.
The Liberty Walk stand had both their colour matched cars on display. The McLaren 650s and Kato’s Mazda RX-3. On the back of the windscreen of this famous RX-3 you can now find one of our Ambition Works stickers. This is the case for a few of the cars at WEKfest – we are infiltrating Japan! Not really, but slowly Ambition Works is becoming known in Japan, which is rewarding!
I’ve talked about this before, how it’s common to completely ignore engines on show spec looking cars. This trend didn’t seem so popular at WEKfest though, so that was a nice surprise. I always look at the engine in my S14, and think, damn, that’s a lot of stuff in there. Then I look at these engines and wonder where does everything go? How do they become so good at hiding it? It’s an artform in itself.
This is a car that is starting to intrigue me. The Hakosuka, literally translating to box-shaped Skyline, which is not so common in New Zealand with less than 10 examples spanning the whole two islands. That’s not the case in Japan though, there are bucket loads here, maybe quarter filled buckets, but still bucket loads of them.
I could definitely see some USDM style here. I’m not going to try and name it, because I have no idea what it even is. I will say that it looks dope. After the show it was seen driving around the streets at the same height as it sat in the show, which looked to be at only a few millimetres of ground clearance.
The Volkswagen Beetle is also a foreign car to me. A short Google search reveals some interesting information about it. Production ran from 1938 until 2003 which makes it the longest running car of a single platform ever. Also nearly 22 million of them were made. The thing that really caught my attention is that they were produced for Adolf Hitler who wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for the country’s road network. Looks like you learn something new every day.
I think everybody can agree that Toyota has done well in producing a new light sports car for people to play around with. Can you believe that this car is already 5 years old? This is a good thing though, 5 years is a long time for modification companies to create parts after parts for this popular new chassis. What’s next though? The Toyota 87? Will it be turbocharged, or super
charged maybe? Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that little bit of extra power from the factory!
A while ago I had only just discovered the Lexus SC430. I didn’t really know that it existed back in New Zealand, as there were not that many around. It wasn’t till I started living in Japan that I learnt they had a rather big following. The white one on the left is actually owned by a friend of mine from Tokyo. We wrote an article about it a year or two ago during our last time in Japan.
That’s the show part finished, what do you think? Personally I don’t think it was over the top. USDM styled with examples all over the place. Sure there were a few USDM cars here and there, but I think the overall style was still much more JDM. In the next article I’ll visit the carpark adjacent to the show, because we all know you can’t go to a car show in Japan and not look at the car park. It’s a tradition now, I always leave about an hour early to see what spectators have brought to the show, because 9 times out of 10, it’s like another show altogether.
Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable | Proofer: Chadd Davis
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