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Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019

Quarantine reflections from one of the biggest and most anticipated shows of last year.

Bob Hernandez
Aug 27, 2020
Photographers: Rodrez, Renz Dimaandal

It was around this time last year our Wekfest Los Angeles 2019 coverage was hitting the site and social media, and as we expected—12 months later, with most events cancelled and many of us still on lockdown due to the pandemic—we're having withdrawals. Very few events we shoot over the course of the calendar get as much attention as Wekfest does, because by and large the display vehicles are of the highest caliber. These builds are simply among the best. We try to get pics from every stop of the annual Wekfest tour, but when it rolls into L.A.—our backyard, essentially—we devote multiple articles and oodles of photos to documenting one of the most anticipated car shows of the year.

Putting numbers to it, we got almost 500 images from 3 photographers covering Wekfest L.A. 's roughly 400 cars parked inside of the convention center in downtown. Not every car gets shot, but most of them do, and from that pool we noticed a few trends from our trio of lensmen—5 of the sharpest, most shot cars from WFLA. We'll call them our "favorites," even though there were so many others that probably equally deserve the distinction. Links to our original three coverage stories are below and further down you'll find a little more on our top 5 favorite cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019.

Top 5 Wekfest LA 2019 Button Built 328 GTS 01 Photo 39/39   |   Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019

Mitchell Button's Ferrari 328 GTS

At the 2018 SEMA Show, Mitchell Button—aka Button Built—became a household name in the tuning universe when he debuted this Ferrari in the Toyo Tires booth and rocked the world. Up until Wekfest L.A. 2019, we hadn't seen the car once since its SEMA reveal, which is probably part of the reason why we fired off so many snaps of the unique high-end restomod.

There is indeed a lot of Ferrari in this project, even if not all of it is 328; those fog lights come from a 288 GTO, the carbon-fiber side mirrors from the 458 GT3, and the paint is Ferrari PPG Grigio Medio. There's also a ton of customization to the build, like the ITB'ed F105CB 3.2-litre V8 in the midship's engine bay; a carbon Kevlar widebody kit made up of front wings and bumper, hood, rear bumper and quarter panels, rocker panels, Targa top, and ducktail spoiler; and a one-off suspension setup that includes JRZ racing struts combined with an AccuAir e-level air ride system to lower the car over 18x9.5-in. front and 19x12.5 rear Rotiform DNO wheels finished in Matte Death Bronze.

Flashing Back to More Past Favorite Events
24 Years of ToyotaFest
Honda Tuning Throwback - Nisei Showoff 2011

Top 5 Wekfest LA 2019 Chris Gilder B2600I 01 Photo 39/39   |   Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019

Chris Gilder's 1992 Mazda B2600i

How can any legit car person not stop and gaze in wonderment at Chris Gilder's Mazda pickup? Especially when it's aired out and laying on the ground—this thing is sick. Even though we featured it just days before the show, none of us on staff had seen the Colorado-based build until Wekfest L.A., and let us tell you, it was something to behold in the flesh.

Where does one even begin to describe Chris's truck? It boasts a fully built JDM S5 13B turbo engine; custom CNC skeletal frame; 5-inch body drop via custom airbag setup; 18x8 +40 front, 18x9.5 +20 rear Super ADVAN SA3R wheels with custom step lips; Ford Ranger headlights and bumper; more Downstar hardware than we've ever seen; and the list just goes on and on. Trust us, go read the story on this B2600i; you can thank us later.

Top 5 Wekfest LA 2019 Amir Bentatou NSX 01 Photo 39/39   |   Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019

Amir Bentatou's 1991 Acura NSX

Amir is one helluva fast driver, and coincidentally a super nice dude, so when he brought out his freshly K20-swapped time attack NA1 to our Rays Meet several months before Wekfest, our curiosity was properly piqued. Turns out the Acura sports car was maybe not totally ready for primetime at our meet, but at WFLA '19 this thing looked dialed in and ready to rumble.

Don't let the subtle, almost average Midnight Purple 2 exterior fool you; the custom RS Future aero bits, Yokohama A052-wrapped Volk TE37s and KW Clubsport coilovers behind them serve a very specific purpose here: to chip away at lap times. A big part of the equation is for sure the mill swap that's considered blasphemy in some purist circles, but it doesn't bother us one bit; the turbo K20Z1 that now subs for the NSX's old V-6 was built by Sportcar Motion (more buds of ours) and sends power through a Ghostwerks-prepped K-series trans equipped with Gear-X cogs and Kaaz LSD. Amir's NSX may have slipped by many at Wekfest L.A. 2019, but those at the show who knew what was up probably had their minds a little blown when they saw it.

Top 5 Wekfest LA 2019 JJ Larson Old New Porsche 996 03 Photo 39/39   |   Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019
Top 5 Wekfest LA 2019 Bailey Wright Old New Porsche 997 04 Photo 39/39   |   Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019

Old & New JJ Larson's 996 / Bailey Wright's 997 Porsche 911

In the '80s, Porsche 911 Turbo owners wanted their cars to look like the brand's Le Mans-winning 935 race car and eventually the automaker responded to produce the Slantnose 930S. Today, if you want to do the same to the schnoz of your 996 or 997—in addition to adding some girth to your fenders—you turn to Old & New in Japan, whose kit may not be as popular as work by Akira Nakai but has still found a home among 911 owners looking to stand apart from the herd. At Wekfest L.A. 2019, there were two O&E-kitted Porsche that had everyone stopping in their tracks.

The livery of JJ Larson's 996 pays tribute to the 1977 935 Polaroid car and is complemented perfectly by the Rotiform mesh wheels with Aerodiscs in front. Bailey Wright's 997 is a little wilder, opting for a matte faux-rivet vinyl wrap with shark teeth maw and custom Savini rims. Both made WFLA memorable.

Top 5 Wekfest LA 2019 Kristian Wong Civic CX 01 Photo 39/39   |   Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019

Kristian Wong's Hybrid Racing 2000 Honda Civic CX

Like another Honda further up this list, Kristian's hatch is not a show car, it's a racer. Juxtaposed against the flashy backdrop of Wekfest's other vehicles, some might wonder how it made the cut, but we totally get it. This is a time attack machine distilled down to its essence, a stripped-down weapon of choice for one very focused hot shoe.

Built for the VTEC Club series, Wong's EJ hatch is technically a collaboration between Hybrid Racing and Battlecraft Parts, and it features a K20 swap, Rywire engine harness, and a complete catalog of Hybrid product throughout. It rolls on a forward pair of Volk RE30 and rear TE37, and the mishmash aero on the car (which includes an Exceed front lip and rear roof spoiler) is similarly a little schizophrenic; in fact, even the mods have been modded—just look at the custom air holes cut into that rear C-West bumper. For us, Kristian's hatch is like a bit of a throwback to simpler times, which is maybe why we dig the thing so much.

Top 5 Wekfest LA 2019 Kristian Wong Civic CX 02 Photo 39/39   |   Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019
Top 5 Wekfest LA 2019 Amir Bentatou NSX 02 Photo 39/39   |   Top 5 Favorite Cars from Wekfest L.A. 2019
By Bob Hernandez
924 Articles

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