The Ardmore Showdown, a slightly ambiguous name, and it doesn't…
‘Nagoya steps it up a level’
Sunday May 11 – Port Messe, Nagoya, Japan
Event memoirs and photogrpahy by Charles ‘Zee’ Zayas
Who is ZEE?
As my first post I would like to introduce myself. My name is Zee. Japan has been my home for the last 14 years, and I have enjoyed every single second of it. Since I have been here the Japanese car scene has taken over my life and I live and breathe the scene. From hanging out in car parks in the middle of the night, to standing at the edge of an apex at a grass roots drift day. To put it lightly this scene is a drug, one with a highly addictive hold over you. Automotive photography is a passion of mine, from behind my camera I have seen a variety of styles evolve and die down. Since the eyes of the world are on this scene, Japan always seems to be pushing boundaries with different styles each year. And due to these factors the Japanese have solidified their mark on the game forever.
The road to Nagoya
As soon as the location and venue were announced over Facebook, hype for the event blew up over social media.
At first my interest in the event was minimal, but after some research on past Wekfest events, my interest piqued. After contacting Speedmagnet head honcho Falgs Patel, we agreed that it was an event we had to be at. After a five-hour journey from Yokohama, the first order of business was to get to a night meet that ‘Team Material’ had invited me to. The location was the Wangan Nagashima Parking area, Nagoya. I managed to make it by 9pm on Saturday; upon entering I noticed a huge amount of ‘low’ cars. I was greeted by ‘1035 Speed’, ‘Tomiko Speed’, Hiroki-san from Kagoshima and Kubo-San from ‘Team Material’.
After firing up my camera gear and snapping a few photos, I was able to get amongst the owners of these fine rides. One of the bonuses of this location is that it is slightly off the main track, so the highway police were not out to harass the attendees. It was a fun social environment, where all the owners were respectful of the law, each other and their respective rides. I hope this attitude is something that becomes more commonplace around the globe, as it is the egos that are killing the scene. Just before everyone departed for the night, a roll into Wekfest was coordinated for the next day.
After a night of sleeping at a truck stop in my trusty Toyota Aristo, and using the fine facilities at a Japanese public bath in the morning. I then bulked up on egg salad sandwiches and I was off to the Port Messe event area. I decided to stop by Nagashima Parking Area once more, to check what cars were waiting for the show.
I stumbled upon a crew of 86’s and a few VIP rides parked up eager for the event to begin. The organized cruise into the show area was loaded with some amazing rides, most of which were not entered into the show itself. With the task at hand, I reimbursed my energy thanks to an overloaded, sugar infused, canned coffee. This gave the pep I needed for the day ahead. I then proceeded to continue scoping out the parking lot. This got me amped up in anticipation of all the amazing cars that may show up. Let’s just say the cars that started to roll in did not disappoint.
VIP, stanced Civics, rat rods, classics, mini trucks and bikes were the views overwhelming my sense of sight. Some of the cars I had seen, and some never before. There was one car I had to take my cell phone out and send to Falgs at base camp to show him, and that car was…
This GX100 Cresta was rolling low on some 15-inch ‘steelie’ wheels with a green painted stripe. Looked pretty cool to see an X-Chassis on such small wheels. For me it was a first to see a car set-up like this. I liked it so much I even walked back towards it to snap some more pictures of it.
Next car was a K-car with a cool livery and cool stickers was refreshing to see such different styles in the parking lot.
Directly next to that was this NSX owned by my friend Karaki-san, slammed on Budnik wheels. I plan to shoot his car later this year, so keep a close eye on this site for more info.
I noticed people slowly leaving the car park and heading toward the main entry of the Port Messe.
As the doors opened I was greeted by security in black suits and Wekfest staff. We were able to show our Facebook account and show proof we shared the event to get 500 yen off ($5usd). That was pretty cool, every penny counts when modding cars. Upon entering the venue the DJ was blasting his mixes and cute import models were aplenty.
The first row of cars I stumbled upon was the Level 1 Japan crew with my homie Shun Saito and his grey Nissan S14 Silvia. I featured it on Stance Nation a few years back. Saito-san is a good kid with a good heart. His S14 shows his personality, it is always immaculate regardless of him frequenting drift days. That is one thing I do admire about some of the people in the scene. Not only are they building their cars to a show standard, but aren’t shy to regularly track their cars. This seems to be a growing trend regardless of location. Whether you’re in the US, Europe, Japan or Australasia. If you build a ride that is functional plus easy on the eye then you are winning.
On the subject of functional yet badass, Hirota Make’s Nissan 180SX had me in awe. The bleach white paint job was fitted with a Rocket Bunny kit with a purposeful stance. This 180sx was gutted with roll cage and an engine bay you could eat your dinner on. This car took my award for cleanest looking drift car of the day. Oh and it’s left hand drive too!
The ‘Lowballers Japan’ and their clean EK Civic took my award for cleanest Honda of the day. Such simple tuning with an aggressive outlook on life. The fact that car made its way from American soil to here in Japan and driven hard makes it that much awe-inspiring.
It seems that being part of a car crew is gaining popularity in the scene. It was astonishing to see the amount of dedication and love shown, as they banded together for the course of the show.
As the event drew to a close, I made my way around the booths to check out some of the companies present. I got to see my friend over at Work Wheels Japan “JC” and Dino from Speedhunters. Also got to check out trade stands by Hoonigan, Hardcore, and Lexon amongst others. With some decent food on site to suppress the hunger pains, I would have to say, as a car show in its first year, Wekfest was a full on success. Amazing eye candy, owners pushing boundaries, and some massive support from the locals. We are already looking forward to the next year’s edition as it can only grow from here.
From the land of the rising sun,
For more information about Wekfest and media from past events check out http://www.wekfest.net/
We also found this Wekfest Japan roll in video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqhXgxkpUdg