Hello. Once again, this year, like the one before it. We packed our bags and headed to Chicago, Illinois for WekFest Chicago 2017. This time, it was just Brenden, our friend Glenn and I. Without Brad this time, the trip seemed more subdued that it would be normally. Maybe it was a nice change of pace, but, I definitely missed shooting the shit with Brad while in some far off place.
We booked an AirBnB for the weekend just outside Aurora, Illinois. The reason being, we would be centrally located right where all of our friends from the Chicagoland area live.
After we checked in at the house, we put some feelers out with our local buddies to let them know we were in town and ready to get into some shenanigans. Due to most of them still being at work, or getting their vehicles ready for the show the next day, we had most of Saturday to ourselves. Now, since this was Glenn’s first trip of this kind. We decided we would show him around to a few of our spots we usually hit while we are in town. So, we did what we always do and headed to Mistuwa.
I only packed my film cameras for the weekend. Trying to keep my gear light, knowing we would be doing a lot of walking. I came armed with my Canon T50 and my newest addition, a Canon T60. Still using the FD mount lens system, I am able to use all the lenses I currently own. The T60 was manufactured in the early 90’s and was intended as a cheap camera for photography students. The body, as well as most of the internals are made of plastic. So it’s very light compared to the T50 and a featherweight compared to my old AE-1. So relishing in the opportunity to get some shots of something other than cars, I grabbed the T50 and headed into Mitsuwa.
So for those who don’t know. Mitsuwa is a Japanese market located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Now, we’ve visited a few times to sample the grocery store. Which is packed with all the Japanese goodies we aren’t able to get in Indiana. The market also has a bookstore, a cafeteria, even a video store. It’s the place we first met up with our Chicago friends to hang out, and show off each other’s cars. It’s where we really got to know everyone. So just a simple market holds many good memories and a lot of sentimental value for the team.
So after grabbing a hot canned coffee from the bakery, sitting in the cafeteria, watching the patrons of the market, and letting Glenn look around to his hearts content. We learned that most of our friends wouldn’t be able to make it out to see us. So after browsing the book store for a while, we headed out to another one of our west side staples, Sushi Station.
After getting our fill of sushi, we went back to the house and turned in. Unlike last year, where we were out getting into all sorts of trouble till the wee hours of the morning. We didn’t have anything to do, so sleep seemed like a good option after a day of travel.
The following day, we woke early in the morning, with the show not starting till one in the afternoon. We didn’t have anything to do for nearly five hours. So we drove into the city, hoping to try and do some things downtown, but with the fog and constant rain,.We yearned for the indoors. So the history museum it was.
We wandered around, looking at fossils, plants, mummies, and skeletons for the next few hours. The photo I shot of Brenden above is usually how things turn out when I point my cameras towards him. He puts on this fake, indifferent face. To make it look like he doesn’t care, isn’t having fun, and I’m an asshole for pointing my contraptions towards his face. We all know it’s actually the opposite.
We waited until after the show hall opened to walk back to McCormick Place to enter the event. Upon descending the escalator into the actual hall. We were met with cars, trucks, bikes, and vans. Spreading from one end, all the way to the other. After reaching the bottom the the escalator. We set about moving our way through the crowd. Looking to see what we could come across.
I didn’t take out my cameras right away, as I wanted to get a feel for the cars and the atmosphere. I only had a few shots. So I had to pick and choose what I wanted to shoot before I even touched the shutter button.
One of the early stand outs for me was this AP2 S2000. Sporting a dreamy set of Mag Blue Volk CE28 wheels and a Voltex Street front bumper. I had never seen an ASM rear bumper in person before (at least that I remember). So I took a few moments taking in the details from the back. Also adorning the rear of the car was a Voltex Swan Neck rear wing and Car Shop Glow LED tail lights. Tying the whole exterior together is an attractive shade of silver paint, with a subtle flake. The S2K is a really curvy car from the factory, because of that. Really flat paint colors look awesome, like reds, blacks, whites, etc. So the little flake in the silver paint really set the car off.
Not knowing what sort of suspension the car is sitting on, or what sort of upgrades have been made to the drivetrain. I can assume it’s as quality as the rest of the car is. Thinking back, this would literally be how I would set up my ideal street/track S2000. Enough aero to aid in cornering, but not too much as to hamper it’s streetablilty. With wide wheels and thick, meaty tires. I can only imagine how awesome it would look ripping around a circuit.
Another one of my favorites was the all black FD3S Rx-7 located at the Elite Rotary Shop booth. Local to the Chicagoland area. I had a good time talking to some of the guys from the shop for a few minutes. Funny enough, had an Rx-7 of every generation in their display. So I chatted about the Sa/Fb generation with the guys and found my eyes, as well as my mind wandering off.
It was hard to keep my gazes from straying towards the FD though. I looked menacing, sitting low on a set of Volk Te37SL wheels. Like the S2000, it was sporting a set of Car Shop Glow tail lights. Overall, it was a very simple, but well put together car.
We spent the rest of the day, just chilling out, talking to friends and perusing the rest of the show. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I’m not big on show cars and the show scene in general. It’s no secret if you’ve been following the site for a while. That we prefer form over function.
That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy everything else that has to do with cars. I can seriously respect the time, money, and work that goes into preparing a car to show. I don’t think I would want thousands of people walking around my cars, taking in and critiquing their every detail (so they can’t see how terrible they actually are). Maybe sometime down the road, I could do what our buddies at Ramblers Racing do and take their track cars to shows. I love when a car that is built to perform in competition is built to a high enough standard that it can be displayed at a major show and hold it’s own. It’s with that in mind that I take my time. Then pick and choose my parts slowly. As they have to please me aesthetically as well as from the aspect of performance. Who says a track car can’t have form?
I digress. Now, to my favorite car of the show, which is the black NA1 NSX that you see pictured above. I really should have packed another few rolls of film, or at least grabbed Brad’s Nikon before heading out the door. As I do regret not having enough photos. The 23 year old roll of expired Ilford HP5 black and white film wasn’t holding up as well at the end. All the photos towards the end of the 36 exposures all came out kind of hazy. I guess that gives them their own character and look.
Back to the NSX.
Sitting low on a set of staggered Volk CE28’s in grey (17 inch wheels at the front, 18 in the rear). It was basically the most simple looking car at the entire show. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much. It wasn’t trying to be something that it wasn’t. It wasn’t kissing the concrete, aired out on bags and a five thousand dollar set of boutique three piece wheels. It also didn’t carry any unnecessary aero. Like a front splitter, or a massive wing and diffuser combo. It was straight, simple, and to the point. If I had to have any car from the show to put into my garage, it would’ve been this one. It really shows how stunning the NA1 NSX is as a factory car. When minimal changes to the original package make such a difference.
Local Chicago shop Touge Factory had a few cars on display at their booth. At the far end was this AE86 hatch. Aside from it’s fame due to it’s starring roll in a certain 90’s manga and subsequent anime. The AE86 chassis has been adored by racers, tuners, and enthusiasts alike for decades. TF Works was given the opportunity to do some extensive tuning on the car (you can read all about it on their BLOG) for use at the track by the owner.
The party piece of this certain 86 wasn’t it’s suspension work, the itasha on the sides, or the gorgeous Work Meister CR01 wheels. Rather, it was what was in the engine bay. Instead of sticking with the factory 4age, or swapping in something like a BEAMS 3sge, the spiritual successor to the legendary 4age. They chose something completely out of left field.
Sitting in between the front strut towers, is none other than a K24 engine from Honda. Now, this isn’t a completely unheard of swap, and has been done before. But, it’s something I’ve never seen in person before. After spending a few minutes walking around the car, I can say that Touge Factory did an amazing job putting the car together.
While it may not be to everyone’s tastes. I love that they paid homage to the GoodSmile Racing team that competes in the Super GT series in Japan. Adorning each side of the car is the team’s mascot, the vocaloid “Hatsune Miku”. Being a fan of the team, and the vocaloid girl. I was overjoyed to see that they put an itasha on the car when I entered the hall. Now, I’ve just got to wait till GridLife Midwest to see the car doing the activity it was built for. Tearing up the track and setting fast laps.
It was around this time that we decided it was time to head out. We parted ways with our buddies and headed home. We’ll be back in the CHI here soon. Thanks to WekFest for putting on such an amazing event once again and thanks to the lady who ran the AirBnB we rented. You were kick ass.
You can view the rest of our photos from the show———->HERE