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Wekfest LA, 2015

The global car show once again emerges upon Southern California.

By Matt “Rodrez” Rodriguez

The sweet scent of synthetic-formulated cherry (or at least something similar to cherry), excessive amounts of tire shine, and incessant complaints of an overwhelming lack of sleep due to last-minute fiddling prior to roll-in can mean only one thing: car show season is in full swing.

Nestled between the salty hustle and bustle of incoming and outgoing cargo ships and a revitalized Long Beach waterfront sits the Queen Mary Events Park—home to a handful of car events throughout the year. Perhaps the most anticipated since its inaugural visit, though, is the annual Wekfest LA show.

Those who know will tell you about the days when Wekfest took place in a mostly empty parking structure in the Bay Area. The lack of ventilation, only overshadowed by the number of test-pipes being used, led me to dub those gatherings gas chamber meets. But times have changed. Now a full-blown business that includes a global tour, apparel, and a following that seems to multiply hourly, the show-and-shine juggernaut has undoubtedly found its groove.

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Chad Castelo has a reputation for building immaculate Hondas, and his latest creation is his greatest. As you might expect, authentic Mugen aero for Honda’s original flagship is a tad bit tough to source. And if you feel like their shift knobs and valve covers are pricey, it’s best not to get into any monetary details surrounding this NSX garb.

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With Mugen aero, seats, exhaust, and more, a pristine set of NSX-spec M7s should come as no surprise.

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Quite a bit of anticipation surrounded Chenstur_itr's refreshed DC2 Integra that was brought to the show from across the country. No one walked away disappointed. The built, ITB-equipped K-swap will leave a bad taste in most R-purists' mouths, but the authentic Mugen goods will probably ease some of that bitterness.

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Wider fenders are made that much wider with a set of flares housing staggered Mugen MF10 wheels.

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Details are key here, as is eliminating and hiding away all sorts of nonsense, like emissions and ABS bits, power steering, and more.

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Acura's Integra Type R done right. With a little help from tuning legend Mugen.

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Everything here says mid-1990s from the factory mud-guards to the lack of aero to the magnesium-alloy Mugen RnR wheels that fit within the confines of the factory fenders—like they're supposed to.

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Another period-correct restomod that speaks to the sort of upgrades that were available in the 1990s. That said, fourth-generation Civics of that era were seldom modified to this level.

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Three classic body styles done right, each embracing their heritage in their own way. Three the hard way from the golden era.

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Jason Haradon's Civic restomod follows its own path. Here, no attempts at hiding the sort of things Honda saw fit to equip its fifth-generation Civic with were made. Call it the anti-tuck if you will, but we prefer to call it perfection.

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David Chik's second-generation Integra follows the same sort of plan, retaining its original paint scheme and interior. Though he changes parts on the car regularly, the focus is always the same, as is the Metrospeed signage that represents a major piece of SoCal's import performance history.

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The trifecta.

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Shaved and tucked S2000 engine bays are showing up more and more but this one really caught my eye. The custom bodywork under the hood is great, but having the components strategically positioned in the middle of the bay, in-line with the engine, makes for a unique look.

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Not sure that I’ve ever seen a third-gen Prelude at a car show in SoCal.

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And I’m absolutely positive that I’ve never seen one as clean as Ryan Seiler’s F20B-swapped 4WS driven all the way from South Dakota. The RBC intake manifold and coil-over-plug ignition conversion is the icing on the cake.

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Perhaps one way to never misplace your Civic in a parking lot again. Mickey Andrade's RHD hatch is but one of the many clean builds in his stable.

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Supercharged and wide-bodied S2000.

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Vortech entered the Honda aftermarket with its supercharger system for the Civic Si's B16A2 that relied on a bulky prop shaft strewn across the engine bay to drive the compressor and accommodate the counter-clockwise-spinning engine. It wasn't nearly as well received as later S2000 systems that look the way a centrifugal-supercharged engine bay ought to.

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DPK_Chuy’s yellow ITR took a break from chasing lap times and looked right at home on the waterfront. Rear passengers be damned; a custom roll bar takes up the majority of real estate behind these front seats.

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The legendary ITR mill gets a dose of fresh air from this custom intake box and pie-cut elbow that’s fed through one of the DC2’s fog light openings.

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Self-contained battery hold-down and breather box.

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If the custom paint and aggressive aero didn’t get you, the re-barreled CP-Rs will.

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V6 engine swaps like these are remarkably simple thanks to companies like Hasport that make the transplant about as easy as early B-series swaps once were.

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The aero, the tires, the turbo system; let's hope some sort of tarmac lies in this S2000's future because it's incredibly well done.

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The large-frame compressor and custom crankcase breather system further indicate what exactly this S2000 was built for, and it wasn't just to sit on a grassy knoll collecting trophies for its paint job.

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Well-preserved examples of the NSX's original pop-up headlight front end are harder to come by nowadays in light of the dozens of fixed-headlight conversions that've taken place.

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A tastefully modified version of Acura's Integra replacement. But will the RSX ever receive the same sort of sentimentality from enthusiasts that its predecessors have?

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Pie-cuts on pie-cuts. Once a fabricator's answer to tight-radius bends of which no other solution existed, pie-cut turns are now about as commonplace as the less-expensive and simpler mandrel bend.

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The first car that caught my attention upon entering the show was ATS*Phil’s blazing red Integra, which can be seen on the current cover of Super Street magazine's Honda Issue. Years in the making, it encompasses everything you’d expect from an ATS*Garage build. On paper, 17s might sound like too much wheel for a stock-bodied Integra. Phil’s car proves otherwise, though, especially with a set of Brembos peering through those spokes.

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Yeah, you’ve seen plenty of ITB-equipped, K-swapped Integras, but here it’s the execution and attention to detail that draw your eyes in and keep them fixated.

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The most-often-modified in the entire Civic lineage, it’s not often that you find a single-cam powering a fifth-gen Civic, no less at a show.

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Fitted with an ASM front bumper, Spoon Sports-style hardtop, and massive flares front to back, this hoodless S2K served as a magnet for spectators. The Equip wheels didn’t quite feel right in my eyes but label me a fan of the build regardless.

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A closer look at the tucked and boosted engine bay.

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Honda's final Prelude never fared as well as its predecessors, which ultimately led to the model's extinction following the 2001 model year. And that's too bad because the H22A and even the SH model's ATTS system are technologies that are impressive even today.

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S2000s on S2000s. The rear-wheel-drive roadster introduced for the 2000 model year marked Honda's high point for its willingness to cater to its existing enthusiast base. Fifteen years later, we're waiting for the company's next move.

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Has the K-series become more commonplace than the Integra's native B-series? Wekfest says yes.

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Another Vortech-supercharged F-series.

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It used to be that anything other than a 1.6L ZC engine transplant into the fourth-generation Civic was an ordeal best reserved for the pros. Today, a K-series swap can be completed in a weekend with hand tools and a bit of welding.

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Prayoonto Racing Gangsta Lean engine mounts made by Hasport allow for better hood clearance and make yanking the transmission a whole lot easier.

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There are as many right ways to complete a proper K-series engine transplant as there are wrong ways. Starting with the right swap bits, like those from K-Tuned, mean your chances of everything turning out okay just got a whole lot better.

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Radiator-relocation kits, fuel-system solutions, and, of course, engine mount kits make K-series transplants easier than ever.

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A powertrain 10 years a car's senior shouldn't fit so well. The K-series does, though, and in this case, looks as though Honda wanted it this way all along.

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Just your average matte-finished NSX with an NSX-R-style rear spoiler that's presumably on air suspension. Either that or it's just plain slammed.

Matt Rodriguez
Contributing writer and photographer at VTEC Academy
Matt Rodriguez—better known as Rodrez—is a longtime Honda enthusiast, former editor of Honda Tuning magazine, and co-founder of the world-famous Eibach Honda Meet.