Shelter From The Storm: Wekfest Texas 2017

Text and photos by Danh T. Phan

Wekfest USA came to Houston for their sixth annual show in Texas. There were a few changes this year made to the Wekfest event. First, they changed venues from downtown in the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) to the NRG Center. I believe the event went smoother with the new location this time around. It wasn’t as, we’ll say, difficult as the prior location in GRB—although, I actually preferred GRB because of the better lighting. The second change was due to Hurricane Harvey. The halls of the NRG Center were used as a shelter for a month after Harvey, which delayed previously scheduled events for 2 months. Therefore, the original date of Wekfest in October was changed to December. My schedule was busy in October and I wasn’t in the area, but with the date pushed back I was fortunate enough to attend.

The spectacle of vehicle roll-in to Wekfest shows is always cool to watch. You’ll be able to see which cars actually run on their own power, and which are just hard parkers.

Pro-tip: Arrive early—around 7a.m.—to get good lighting and enjoy watching the cars roll into the show.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get up early enough to do that, but I was able to get a few solid snaps. Around 11 a.m., it started to rain, so cars started rolling inside of the convention center dripping wet. Prepping took a while longer than usual but spectator gates opened up on schedule at 1 p.m. and the hall started to fill up.

While I do enjoy attending shows once in a while, I do get bored easily after about an hour or so after walking around just looking at cars. It may be because I’ve already seen the same ones over and over, or it’s just from lack of interaction and entertainment. To battle this, I started chatting with old friends and some of the car owners. We all had the same feeling of, “Man, what are we going to do for five hours at this show?” I think that feeling went away once the spectator doors opened, and all the car owners just hung out to the side talking with each other while waiting for their car to be judged.

The new trend nowadays is a street yet track look. The aesthetic is to appear pretty much street legal, but be able to function on the racetrack. You’ll be seeing a few of these builds in the coverage.

William Tran’s silver Honda S2000 cleverly pairs Volk Racing TE37SL wheels with a J’s Racing 3D GT rear wing and molded front half bumper, which allots his car into this category—and that J’s Racing intake is just so good!

I do hope American classics show at this event more often in the future. Even though Luis Guerrero’s Buick Regal set the bar pretty high. It’s a fine example of a classic American restomod equipped with some forged Weld wheels wrapped with big fat BFGoodrich tires.

Speaking of classics, Bruce Laureto’s Datsun 280Z is another Houston favorite among Japanese nostalgic cars. I usually don’t like saying this word, but the stance is almost perfect on this car.

Marc’s (@marcstaagram) immaculate Laguna Seca Blue NA-chassis Miata sitting on Advan Racing A3A wheels.

I’m always amazed at how clean Danny Ou’s (@outlawhonda) white EK-chassis Civic is. From what I know, this was his first and maybe last time showing the car.

There are two types of NSX people in the world: one with subtle simple taste while the other enjoys a more wild extravagance.

Tony Abad’s LS-engine swapped E36-chassis M3 looked low and great as always.

Tito Perez trailered his FD RX-7 all the way from El Paso to Houston, TX. Normally a somewhat long and boring twelve hour trip ended up being totally worth it in order to showcase at Wekfest. A nice treat for spectators, too, having the opportunity to glimpse one of the cleanest FD-chassis RX-7s I’ve seen in awhile.

Khiem Pham’s 2JZ-engine swapped FD-chassis RX-7 used to be red, now a Lexus dark silver. Some changes from last year include TCP Magic fenders, TE37 wheels, and RE Amemiya front and wing. The Final Form guys are known for their clean Japanese track style RX-7 builds. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out some Time Attack cars photographed at Tsukuba Circuit in Japan. I want to say Final Form executes the look well, but will they take it to the track in the future?

Here we have a sighting of Joey Lee (@stickydiljoe) of the famous Chronicles publication and Tiffanie Marie.

You don’t see many FC-chassis RX-7s nowadays; let alone right-hand-drive examples on Super Advan Racing SA3R 3-spokes wheels.

A super clean E30-chassis BMW with Pandem over fenders is usually accompanied by a nice set of wheels. This example was no exception, with rebarreled lips on a set of Work VS-XX wheels.

You may not know this, but Tom Syhachack actually drives this pristine S2000, and I mean he drives it. Last I heard, he took down an R35-chassis GT-R with bolt-ons—not too shabby.

Team 5star showed up in their usual full Honda force with Mugen parts galore!

Autrey McVicker’s Volkswagen GTI equipped with a full Pandem widebody kit received a new wrap, which accented nicely with the forged Vossen wheels occupying the additional fender space.

My personal favorites of the show had to be the pair of AE86 Corollas from Austin, TX. The red example belongs to Branden Chaisorn, while the Black Limited to Thaison Nguyen.

Team Endless Projects debuted their new group, including Johnel Vida’s Lexus LS460 with an Aimgain GT kit, which took home best of show.

Nathan Vosburg’s 930-chassis Porsche RAUH-Welt Begriff Kana debuted for its first show. The extremely uncommon non-rivet look makes the kit look so smooth and classy.

Shinku Classics, a JDM import shop from the area, brought out their favorites like this RHD NA1 NSX, RWB built Ferrari 355, and a replica of the tofu delivery AE86 from the Initial D series.

Daniel’s VQ35DETT-powered Datsun 240Z with Pandem kit and Avante Garde Wheels had a damp interior, thanks to the torrential downpour during his roll-in time.

All the way from the Northeast, you might recognize Andy’s RE Amemiya FD-chassis RX-7 from our past Wekfest New Jersey or First Class Fitment articles. Quite the hike, but what a car!

In the end, I may complain during the show of how boring it is, but I genuinely do enjoy going to catch up with friends and seeing new builds out there. If the Wekfest show were to stop touring in Texas, what shows would be left? I can think of a few, but the standards won’t be there.