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It’s been a long past month for us over here at Nemo’s Garage. Show season has been in full swing, and attending all the events on top of running a shop and juggling personal projects gets draining really quickly. We’ve spent the last month wrapping up our FA5 project, attending Wekfest Long Beach, WekFest San Jose, and Wekfest Seattle and it has definitely taken a toll on us. So much has transpired within the last month but it has been an absolute blast taking in everything that the West Coast has to offer in terms of modified cars. We showcased stop #1 of our West Coast Wekfest tour in the blog before this (https://nemos-garage.com/blogs/what-are-we-up-to-over-at-nemos-garage/wekfest), so if you missed it, feel free to check it out!
This coverage is gonna be short and sweet because we are already behind with Seattle having just passed. We drove the Civic all the way up and spent most of the night before having an AirBNB party of sorts with copious amounts of alcohol and Carne Asada, so needless to say, we were exhausted the day of the show. This coverage will be a little more behind the scenes of Nemos Garage with a little bit of coverage mixed in, so we hope you enjoy it!
Within 5 minutes of getting in the Civic, Bircheff realized he made a huge mistake
Our day began at 5:30 In the morning with 300+ miles of driving, trying to beat the mid day sun that would truly lead to our demise if we caught it. I drove the car with friend of the shop Alex Bircheff in the passenger seat. We were having a nasty exhaust leak that we discovered the cause of at the end of the journey, and after about one hour, Bircheff realized that he made a gigantic error by wanting to ride in it. A quick stop for breakfast in Gorman, California allowed Alex to switch cars with another friend who decided to take the trip up with us, Chris Garay.
Bircheff looks a lot more relaxed and relieved in the EF than the 8th Gen
Chris made the drive to San Jose with us last year as well, so he was trained for this journey. He is notorious for bringing his EF Civic on a set of beater wheels to unleash the heat that he and all his friends have to haul for him for 300 miles, taking up tons of valuable cargo space. As much of an inconvenience as Chris is, we think he’s okay and his wheel choice didn’t disappoint so we couldn’t be too mad (more on that later).
Behind the sunglasses resides bloodshot eyes from the gracious amount of exhaust fumes the Civic blessed us with
After 2-3 hours in the Civic, I was beat to shit. Literally drained from the deafening exhaust tone, the eye watering fumes, and the fact that I had to wake up at 5:30 am. Me and another friend who made the journey, John, had had enough of this hell and decided a change was in order. At this point, I decided it was time to lead the convoy in our tried and true shop Prius to recover in the Air Conditioning, with other amenities like reclineable seats and a functioning radio! After a quick cigarette, we were back on the road and ready to roll
If you look closely, John is fast asleep in the passenger seat. We have no clue how this happened, so don't ask
The car sure was a beautiful sight to look at on the way up the grapevine, though. Definitely no complaints about having to stare at this thing for hours. We are proud we drove this car instead of trailering it up. Projects like this are meant to be enjoyed, even though they may bring unnecessary headache and risk with them. It may have been hell to make it happen, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Once you've made it to Gilroy, you're in the home stretch. Reward yourself with some amazing Garlic flavored ice cream.
We made one final pit stop in Gilroy, CA aka the Garlic capital of the United States (Not sure if that is accurate, but I am going to assume it is). Chris took silly photos while on his tippy toes trying to reach the tallest of the Garlic caricatures in hopes that we would see he really was a man and not a boy. We also tried the notorious Garlic ice cream, that me and Alex wound up wishing was a resident flavor at all the popular ice cream spots. Everyone else spit it up upon tasting it, but we felt it was truly amazing. Imagine an Italian Breadstick coated in vanilla ice cream... amazing.
With Gilroy halfway done, we knew we were within an hour of our destination and Alex’s shirt said everything about the way we felt in that moment. It was almost time to finish the journey and enjoy an ice cold brew. And with that said, we got back in the Civic and wrapped it up
Well deserved after 6 hours of hell up the I-5
We safely reached San Jose, and after a couple hours of prepping the car at a local car wash, prepping the booth at Wekfest, and almost getting a state ref by San Jose PD, we had arrived at our AirBNB and could finally enjoy a relaxing afternoon. We went out on the town last year in San Jose and were pretty underwhelmed with its offerings and how quickly everything closes, so we opted this year to rent a badass AirBNB that would allow us to not have to really leave. In the company of great beer and a relaxing environment, we were set to not have to leave until the Wekfest event the following day.
Make no mistake, I have no clue what I am doing.
We decided to find a local carneceria, grab a hearty amount of Carne Asada and Pollo Asado, and just stay at home and grill. With me behind the grill, it was pretty much a nightmare waiting to happen but I just lived out my fantasy of being a modern day Hank Hill and everything turned out okay. With this and a near endless amount of beer, we were ready for a good night that would definitely allow us to get absolutely no sleep for Wekfest the next morning.
Mikey's air conditioning in his Porsche worked well, and he made sure to point that out to us whenever given the chance. Thanks for being a dick, Mikey
And no sleep was had, at all. It didn’t detract from us enjoying the show at all though, and the fact that this Wekfest was inside with air conditioning definitely helped. Long Beach can be hell sometimes, but San Jose is always welcoming because the convention center always feels great.
We were positioned right behind the guys from IDL design who notoriously brought a full 18 wheeler full of amazing projects on it. Two of the projects they had on display were the OldNew Porsche 997 of Mikey Cristi which saw some sunlight for the first time since I believe Sema. Also making the journey up was Jerald Yutadco’s Rocket Bunny RC-F. Both cars are painted in the same color and look absolutely stunning when paired together.
If you could put a mid 2000's Honda in a time capsule, this is probably one of the first you'd choose.
One of the cars we are always excited to see up north is the 2000 Civic Hatchback that belongs to Kelvin Bulda. Kelvin has owned this car since he was in high school, and if the 17+ years of ownership doesn’t say enough about his passion, the car itself can fill in the blanks. Kelvin’s EK had a lot of subtle complimentary aero goods scattered throughout, like an Airwalker front bumper, Sergeant rear diffuser, Seeker V2 wing, and J’s Racing widened fenders. Tucked behind the newly released Mugen MF10s was a beautiful set of Endless 4 POT calipers that are usually one of the first things your eyes are drawn to on the EK Civic.
This car survived 16 hours down I-5, what's your excuse?
Seattle native Austin Hironaka hit us up a couple months before the show to see if there was anything we could do to help get him into the Seattle show. We sent some emails out, and are not sure if we helped make it happen, but we were just happy to see Austin bring his beautiful Del Sol. Austin’s RHD converted EG2 looked absolutely amazing under the lights at the convention center and allowed the K-Swapped bay to look truly amazing.
Most people, ourselves included, thought Austin was absolutely crazy for driving this thing down from Seattle. But Austin is a rare breed of human being, and knows that these projects go to waste if you’re not on the road enjoying them. Definitely happy to have met Austin on this trip, but we will talk more about his amazing cars in our Seattle coverage. Congrats for taking home best Honda of the day, Austin!
El Boracho's track ready R looking mean on MF10s
Chuy Navarro is no stranger to making the drive up north, as he was happy to showcase his white Spoon ITR for us last year at our booth. This year, he brought his yellow 2001 Type R looking fresh on the re-released Mugen MF10’s. Featuring an Exceed Japan/Mode Parfume front lip and brand new ASRxAP Racing brake upgrade, Chuy’s ITR looked timeless.
Believe it or not, these wheels probably cost more than most brand new, more modern options
As previously mentioned, Chris Garay brought some heat out to display at our booth with us. We really wanted to bring our shop EM1 out but it just wasn’t in the cards as it still needed a little bit more work. Chris filled in amazingly, and he brought some absolute heat with his custom SSR Defi Fin’s that featured NOS (New Old Stock) SSR cooling discs. These things are INCREDIBLY rare, and to find them brand new is nearly unheard of. It’s always awesome to see things like this because it shows how far the car scene has come, but also lets you appreciate the roots of what it evolved from.
Restoring faith in an often overlooked chassis
Jeremiah Santos and Joseph Pham came up from SoCal with their flawless EP3 builds. These guys seem to always make it out to everything and never miss a beat. Both EP3s were recently featured in the Super Street Honda Issue, so go check that out for a little more back story on two amazing EP3 builds.
Rare to see people still build AV Integras, but truly beautiful to see people still take the time on seemingly forgotten platforms like this
Plus One crew had an amazing line up on the day. The crew is notorious for having some of the best Integra builds out there, and this 1st gen Integra definitely did not disappoint. Rare to see people modify this chassis, so to see one looking period correct on 14” Mugen CF-48’s was a true blast from the past.
When your car can function both as a track and show car, you know you've built something badass.
N00dler’s S2000 always looks flawless, whether being showcased or on track. Amuse styled hood, Voltex front bumper, and the new SSR GTX01’s make the front end look super mean. He was showing with the guys at Track Spec on the day, who had a pretty solid line up.
One of the more extreme EF's you'll ever see
Jose Del Villar brought his K-Swapped EF Civic out looking great in it’s new candy apply red shade of House of Kolors. Jose’s EF is very simple in looks but super aggressive under the hood with a beautiful ITB setup that we helped get nickel plated for him. Congrats on the award, Jose!
The end of the show signaled another 6 hours of exhaust fumes, which was not as well received as the the award.
With the day wrapping up, we were reluctant to take 2nd best Civic of the festival for our FA5 project. We were excited that not only could the car make the 700+ mile trek unscathed, but also could win awards while doing it. We will continue to bring this car out for the remaining summer shows, but once summer is over and we have exhausted it with every meet and event we could, we do plan to take this thing out to see how it does on track. We appreciate all the praise and positivity surrounding this project so far, and we can’t wait to further improve on it and showcase it on track where we hope it will really shine!
We truly had a blast up in San Jose that weekend, and we definitely appreciate all the love and support from the crowd up north! A gigantic thank you goes out to Hernan Chaidez, John Galvan, Alex Bircheff, Taco Munguia, Chris Garay, Jose Reyes, Jose Rios, and Gabriel Martinez for helping along the way and making the trip that much more enjoyable. We can’t wait for next year! Look out for the Seattle coverage within the next week