2016 Blackhawks Camaro in route to Madhouse on Madison

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2016 Blackhawks Camaro in route to Madhouse on Madison

Never to late when you talk about the Chicago Blackhawks.  Especially when today is the first playoff game in a mission to keep Stanley in Chicago.  Here we have put together a short video from when the 2016 Chicago Blackhawks Chevrolet Camaro SS was first revealed at the Chicago Auto Show.  This is the 7th year Chevy Drives Chicago and The Chicago Blackhawks has teamed up to bring this car to reality and to one lucky winner a chance to take it home at the end of the season.  

Click on image to read up on the full history of the project. 

Click on image to read up on the full history of the project. 

Video was taken from the McCormick Place to United Center better known as Madhouse on Madison.  Nothing special on the video just having little fun entering into this year NHL playoff.  By far we are no professionals in making video but at least we tried.  Like to thank again all who was a part of this project.  If you haven't already seen this car in person, wow.  It's a jaw dropping design the crew over at Real Wheels Corp has done for this year.  In big help with B-Forged Wheels, Alea Leather & Modern bow Tie.  Thank you all and GO Hawks.  

Click on Image to register today to win this vehicle.  

Click on Image to register today to win this vehicle.  

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2016 Chicago Blackhawks Chevy Camaro SS Coupe

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2016 Chicago Blackhawks Chevy Camaro SS Coupe

One of the most talked about NHL teams of the last year has been the Chicago Blackhawks.  After winning their 6th Stanley cup (3 in the past 6 seasons), the team has been gaining a bigger fan base with each game.  A Blackhawks related contest has been gaining momentum and fans as well; I mean, who wouldn’t want the opportunity to win a one of a kind, custom car?  The 2016 Chicago Blackhawks themed Chevy Camaro SS Coupe is the sixth model designed and given away by Chevy Drives Chicago.  One lucky fan will drive away with this awesome car at the end of the 2016 season. 

From (L) to (R) - 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014, & 2015

RealWheels Corp (RWC) has taken the challenge from day 1 to bring you a unique, one of a kind Camaro, and in the last 6 years it has gained the attention of many fans.  This is also Captain Jonathan Toews’ and Patrick Kane’s 6th year being the ambassadors of the project. I am proud to have been able to assist with the project and very excited for the lucky winner to take home his/her prize. 

In previous years, the Blackhawks Camaro has been a convertible.  But with Chevrolet introducing a newly redesigned Camaro for 2016, the convertible was not available until the Spring, so RWC went with the coupe. This SS is the fastest Camaro SS to date, pushing 455hp and 455 lb-fts of torque from a 6.2L V8.  I had the opportunity to drive the car before the transformation begun and wow.  There really is a night and day difference from last year’s project.  It’s lighter, smaller, shares the same motor as the Corvette Stingray LT1 6.2 V8, and has 29 more horsepower than 2015. 

Whoever wins this car better hold on!!  It’s going to surprise you in every way.  The car came so well equipped that we didn’t do anything underneath the hood or structurally.  I believe you’ll be ok with the amount of horsepower the car comes with.  What RWC did do was team up with a number of design teams, including B-Forged Wheels, a local manufacture out of La Grange, IL.  B-Forged did an amazing job designing custom made, 22” 180 RL 3 piece forged wheels, which are staggered and wrapped with Pirelli tires.  The photos do not do these awesome rims justice…you must see them in person.

The exterior has a custom paint job courtesy of Modern Bow Tie featuring a GM Phantom Satin Grey metallic base, with a Raven Gloss Black racing stripe on the hood, full roof and rear wing.   This black was also used for accent pieces around the car.  As an added touch, Victory Red was added on the bottom of the side mirrors and grill accents. This paint combo really gives the car an “I mean business” look.  This was the whole vision when the Chevy Drives Chicago and RWC teams met late last year, and I think you’ll agree they definitely achieved that with this year’s design.

You can’t just have a cool paint job and rims without having a unique interior.  Alea Leather returned to the project to contribute to the entirely redesigned interior.  Not only did they go above and beyond with adding custom embroidery featuring the Blackhawks logo, but included an entirely new pattern that they have recently announced will be added to their award winning line up.  This is a soft napa leather with team color stitching.  Mostly black with little grey with red stitching.  They did a fantastic job once again, and are a great partner to work with. 

Click on Image to be re-directed to Chevy Drives Chicago To register to win 

Click on Image to be re-directed to Chevy Drives Chicago To register to win 

You are probably asking yourself now, “How do I win this vehicle?”  All you have to do is visit the Chevy Drives Chicago website to register.  There is no purchase necessary, and you can get a peek at the car at the Chicago Auto Show going on RIGHT NOW!  Head to the Chevy Drives Chicago fan zone, check out the car, and register on site.  There will also be a Blackhawks gift shop, special appearances from several players, games and many other surprises so don’t miss out on the excitement. 

I’d personally like to thank all who contributed to this project, with a special thanks to B-Forged Wheels, Alea Leather, and Modern Bow Tie painting for an amazing job.  RealWheels Corp has outdone themselves again for the 6th year in a row.  Now that you have seen exclusive photographs of the vehicle, make sure to head over to Chicago Auto Show and register at the Chevy Drives Chicago fan zone booth.  This vehicle will also be displayed after the Auto Show at all Chicago Blackhawks homes games.  If you can’t make it to the auto show or home game, visit the Chevy Drives Chicago website today. 

Click on image to view rest of album.  

Click on image to view rest of album.  

All photographs taken and owned by ©Chris Chavez Photography

 

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2016 NAIAS - Lexus revealed two new vehicles

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2016 NAIAS - Lexus revealed two new vehicles

Lexus entered the 2016 North American International Automotive Show with not just one but two new reveals.  There has been some rumors of a new sports coupe but never would have thought on what was revealed.  Lexus has set the bar high within the last 5 years and doesn’t look like they are slowing down at all.  Just late last year they released the highly anticipated Lexus GSF with it’s 5.0 V8 pushing out 467hp adding to the RCF coupe that has been on sale for a year.  Well just few weeks after it’s reach the show room floor Lexus released two new vehicles.  

 

Lexus introduced the new all electric sedan looking to be available in 2020.  Not much information was said but 2020 is right around the corner.  Only that it will have 0 emissions and no oil.  This beautiful sedan design had people talking and realistic doesn’t look far off to becoming a production vehicle.  

 

The second vehicle that was revealed was the 2017 Lexus LC 500.  This follows a concept design that was revealed in 2013 with the LF-LC.  Following the same power plant as the RCF and GSF, with a 5.0L V8 / 467hp.  By time vehicle gets released I will not be surprised if the squeeze a few more horses out of it.  This is Lexus first 10 speed automotive that will be in this new model. Talking to a representative, the price point will be just shy of $100k fully equipped.  

Akio Toyoda chief branding officer and master driver explained the direction Lexus in heading.  Having took some opinions that was said in 2011, he took it personally and took over the whole operation in making a statement that there will be no boring in Lexus.  5 years later, he kept his word and having a recently redesigned line up in the IS, ES, GS, NX, RX, GX, LX, RCF, GSF and recently revealed LC 500, Mr Toyoda stated that this is only the beginning.  Oh boy.  

All photographs are taken and owned by Chris Chavez Photography

Below is the full revealed of both vehicles. Lexus showing no signs of slowing down. 

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1965 Pontiac GTO

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1965 Pontiac GTO

One of the most popular muscle cars has to be the Pontiac GTO.  It was certainly popular with Craig and Mickey Miller, who were itching to get their hands on one.  They found one and inquired about purchasing it.  Unfortunately the owner, who was the 6th person to own this GTO, said he was not interested as he knew that one day he would restore it.  Well, fast forward 25 years, and the man had been so focused on other projects throughout the years that he had never touched the car.  So he called Craig and told him that he could have it for free.  You can only imagine Craig’s reaction when he got that call!

Craig began the ’65 GTO project in October of 2008.  There were so many things that he wanted to do, but finding the previous owners became task #1 after finding an old parking ticket in the glove compartment.  After many phone calls and emails, he was able to find not only the original owner, but the ones in between the original and most previous owners.  Over the years, they have remained in contact and have become good friends.  One of them even got married in the GTO!  It’s amazing how a 50 year old vehicle can bring people together.

Back to the restoration.  After all of the searching he had done over the years, Craig was determined to make his GTO one of a kind.  He partnered with Al’s Body Shop, Bill Dwyer Body Shop, and Hot Rod Auto to work on the exterior of the GTO.  There was a good amount of rust as well as bumps and bruises from being raced, used in wedding processionals, and everyday driving.  Many parts were fixed or replaced as a result, including the quarter panels, inner & outer wheel tubs, trunk cross members, trunk panels, driver side floor plan and the entire passenger door.  Once the body was fixed, it was time to give it some color.  The guys over at Hot Rod & Auto took over and painted it with a House of Kolor paint called Kandy Brandy Wine red.  This color is so rich and beautiful; the pictures don’t do it justice.  It’s a must see in person, and if you want the same color, you’ll have to negotiate with Craig…he bought it all.  One of a kind GTO, remember?

After the exterior was complete, Craig turned his focus to the interior.  Dave over at D & E Upholstery did a complete makeover, replacing everything that he could.  The GTO received new seat covers, head liner, floor carpet, Juke tray, said panels, arm rests, and trunk liner.  He also added an autometer tach where the clock used to be, giving the interior a cool, sleek look.

Now for the good stuff…under the hood.  The GTO has a 455 engine built by A-Team.  Craig was secretive with the horsepower, but by the looks of it, this car has plenty of power to move quickly.  The engine may look like a bit of a sleeper, but Craig had several aftermarket parts added including a competition valve job, Edelbrock worker, comp cam, and many others.  As an added kick, it also has a nitrous kit installed.  To keep all of that power on the road, Craig outfitted the GTO with 70 Cragar wheels, wrapped with BF Goodrich tires.

This GTO truly has a great story behind it…so much so that I told Craig he should write a book about it.  If you see it at a car show, be sure to get up close and listen to one of the many stories he has to share.  The most paramount thing is the bond that has been formed between him and the rest of the owners.  All of them arrived while I was doing the shoot, including the couple that were married in the car.  I could definitely feel the mutual admiration they all had for each other, and how happy the car has made each of them over the last 50 years.  Thank you all for allowing me to capture the story and this beautiful 1965 Pontiac GTO.

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Nissan Titan Warrior Concept

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Nissan Titan Warrior Concept

Truck that speaks for itself.  The recently revealed Nissan Titan Warrior Concept vehicle took everyone by storm with it's mouth dropping designed.  A mixture of the Raptor and Reaper then times it by 10.  You have the Titan Warrior.  

Everything about the truck was immaculate.  This particular concept will stay where it is but gives many truck enthusiast a glimpse of what the recently release Nissan Titan can be.  The cummings diesel in the new XD had been getting many intrigue and it's just the beginning.  With a slight lift, aftermarket wheels, bigger tires, exhaust and a mean looking facelift, who wouldn't want to drive this?  You'll have your hard core Chevy, Ford & Dodge die hard fans dissing this truck but deep down, you know they won't hesitate when you hand over the keys.  

Below is a video made by Nissan.  Here brief information will be mentioned about this concept vehicles.  Who knows, maybe one day Nissan will decide to make this a truck we can own.  Till then, we can just dream about it.  

All photographs are taken and owned by Chris Chavez Photography. 

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The Future Is Here.  Mercedes-Benz F 015 - Video

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The Future Is Here. Mercedes-Benz F 015 - Video

Mercedes-Benz F 015 during NAIAS

Mercedes-Benz F 015 during NAIAS

The world premier of the new Mercedes-Benz F 015 at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier in the year took the world by storm.  The future is certainly here with this vehicle that pretty much drives itself.  

It's unbelievable how far technology has come.  This practically is a moving office and/or living room.  I won't go into the  full breakdown of the vehicle, rather have you check out this video provided by Mercedes-Benz to see it for yourself.  

What doesn't this car do?  This is an F-Cell plug-in hybrid like what you see in today's F 125, which is technology that has been used and tested since 2011.  This car offers it all from safety to convenience. It may not be the best looking vehicle on the road but take notice, the future is here.  

Photographs provided by Chris Chavez Photography.  

Video by Mercedes-Benz

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2015 Dodge Viper SRT - DNA of a Supercar Video

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2015 Dodge Viper SRT - DNA of a Supercar Video

2015 Dodge Viper SRT on display at 2015 NAIAS

2015 Dodge Viper SRT on display at 2015 NAIAS

Here is a video released by Dodge Viper during Media Days at NAIAS in Detroit January 12 & 13th.   The media usb kit they handed out included a very impressive video on the performance and how  the car is built.  A Motor Trend film, they did a great job going through the design, engineering behind it, hows it's built and testing to maximize the performance on the 5th generation of the Viper.  Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the 20 minute video.  

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2015 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible - Chicago Blackhawks

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2015 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible - Chicago Blackhawks

Another hockey season has begun, which means a chance to win a custom built, 2015 Chevy Camaro Blackhawks Edition could be yours.  For the past six years, Chevy Drives Chicago has partnered up with one of the hottest and most successful NHL teams, The Chicago Blackhawks, to offer one lucky fan a chance to win a custom designed Chicago Blackhawks Chevy Camaro SS Convertible.  To enter this year’s contest, visit the Chevy Drives Chicago website to register.  You will also be able to register (and drool) in person now that the car is on display at the United Center for all Blackhawks home games, and will also be on display the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

2010 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro - First Camaro made Picture from web - motor authority.com

2010 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro - First Camaro made

Picture from web - motor authority.com

Each year, the project gets more and more media attention, including print, commercials, and being featured on several websites such as www.Yahoo.com and www.cars.com.  The design evolves and is unique each year, so the anticipation of the reveal is always fun to experience.  I have some insight into this year’s design, and I can promise you, it does not disappoint!

2011 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro Picture taken by Michael Chunko found on Web (Flickr)

2011 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro

Picture taken by Michael Chunko found on Web (Flickr)

Given the success of the Blackhawks, the car continues to be a hot item of interest each year.  Real Wheels Corporation (RWC) has worked on this project since day one, and continually strives to create a jaw dropping design each year.  As the years go on, the car is outfitted with more and more custom parts, making it a truly unique and eye-catching vehicle.  For 2015, RWC has teamed up with some new manufacturers to give this model a fresh new look.

2012 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS Convertible  Picture from web at CSN Chicago

2012 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS Convertible 

Picture from web at CSN Chicago

 

Alea Leather has signed on to create an entirely custom interior.   Alea Leather is a rapidly growing company, and they are definitely making noise in the automotive industry with their affordable and award winning designs.  The 2015 Blackhawks Camaro features custom seat covers made of top of the line Napa leather and the Blackhawks logo stitched in, as well as leather covering on parts of the dash and steering wheel.   This is a new feature for this year, and it truly fits the style of the car.  MagnaFlow is one of the leading exhaust manufacturers, and has contributed a new exhaust for this project.  MagnaFlow specializes in throaty sound and performance, which gives the Camaro a very aggressive road presence. 

 

2013 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS Convertible  Picture provided by Chris Chavez Photography

2013 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS Convertible 

Picture provided by Chris Chavez Photography

ACS composites has worked on previous years’ projects, and again this year in providing the body kit, which showcases new splitters, rockers, and hood insert.  To complement the aggressive body styling, 2Crave has outfitted the Camaro with their newest Mach 8 wheels, 22x9 in the front and 22x10.5 in the rear, creating a staggered look with a 1.5 inch drop.  Varad provided custom lighting behind the grill and throughout the vehicle.  Finally, Estrada Customs of Vernon Hills painted the vehicle in a factory white and red with a true black accent as part the custom design.   Seriously, you will be blown away by the final product!

2014 Chicago Blackhawks Chevy Camaro SS Convertible - Picture provided by Chris Chavez Photography

2014 Chicago Blackhawks Chevy Camaro SS Convertible -

Picture provided by Chris Chavez Photography

 

So now you have another reason to check out the Blackhaws at home.  If you can't make a game, be sure to attend the 2015 Chicago Auto Show for your chance to register to win this one of a kind creation.  Head over to www.chevydriveschicago.com to register and catch a peek of the finished product.

I wonder how the new 2015 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS Convertible will look.  Visit Chevydriveschicago.com for up to date information about the build.  Click on image to be re-directed.  Follow them today on Facebook.  

I wonder how the new 2015 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS Convertible will look.  Visit Chevydriveschicago.com for up to date information about the build.  Click on image to be re-directed.  Follow them today on Facebook.  

Like to see more?  Click on imgae.  

Like to see more?  Click on imgae.  

Go visit your nearest ChicagoLand and Northern Indiana Chevy dealerships today!  

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Gymkhana 7 by Ken Block

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Gymkhana 7 by Ken Block

Highly anticipated video from Ken Block called Gymkhana 7 was just released earlier today and did not disappoint.  

This custom made 1965 "Notchback" Ford Mustang with 845hp took on the streets of L.A.  Here he showed off great control drifting through the city making some ruckus.  

What is more impressive than drifting through obstacles is that this is the ONLY all wheel drive performance Mustang ever built.  Not to delay any further, check out the video below of this immaculate showcase of vehicle control tearing up the streets of L.A.  

Like to thank all who was involved in the project and making it possible.  All footage and information were gathered through online sources.  

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Drivers view with Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3

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Drivers view with Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3

One of the most talked about Pirelli World Challenge race teams released a driver’s view of a race that was recently held in Toronto.  Dyson Racing shared a video of Butch Leitzinger driving a Bentley Continental GT3 in the first of two races being held during the Challenge.  In the video below, you will have he opportunity to experience the race from the driver’s seat, including accidents during the race.  Enjoy the video and keep an eye out for the next video Dyson Racing releases. 

Video provided The RACER Channel.  

Dyson Racing Butch Leitzinger - Bentley Continental GT3 - Picture Credit - Chris Chavez Photography

Here is another video from Dyson Racing, highlighting the Bentley’s North American debut at Road America earlier in the year.  I had the opportunity to be there and witness this incredible machine take on one of the longest tracks in the world.  Since this was the first time racing in North America in over 10 years, Dyson didn’t miss a beat running the second fastest lap.  This is such a beautiful car to see in person.  At first glance, you are thinking,“Did I just see a Bentley?”  Yes you did.  I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did and, I look forward to seeing the great success the team has been having this year continue into the future.  

Video provided by Dyson Racing

Picture Credit - Chris Chavez Photography - Road America

All photographs taken by Chris Chavez Photography 

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Roush Performance Ford SVT Raptor

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Roush Performance Ford SVT Raptor

Roush Performance Ford SVT Raptor

Roush Performance Ford SVT Raptor

Earlier in the year, I had the opportunity to hang out with the guys over at Roush Performance.  I met up with them in Chicago for lunch while they were en route from Detroit, MI to Elkhart Lake, WI for the Pirelli World Challenge at Road America.  They were making the trip in the Roush Performance Ford Raptor, which is a truck you have to see as it is incredible.

 

We met up for lunch at one of my favorite Irish restaurants in Chicago, Mystic Celt in the Lakeview neighborhood.  Since the Roush crew was running ahead of schedule, I suggested we go to the beach after we finished eating.  It was a beautiful day in Chicago and everyone was out, so I figured it would be a good way to be visible and have some fun.  North Avenue Beach is probably the most recognizable beach in Chicago, so we headed that way.  As we were cruising down Lake Shore Drive, we caused a bit of a traffic “issue” as people were trying to get a look at the beast of a truck that Roush was riding in.  As usual, the beach was crowded, so we spoke to Chicago’s finest, who allowed us to do a quick photo shoot on the sand.  

VIP Parking at Mystic Celt in Lakeview

VIP Parking at Mystic Celt in Lakeview

 

We all had great time during the shoot and while enjoying the scenery, but the crew had to get back on the road and I had to go back to dealing with local traffic.  I was only able to take exterior shots of the truck since the interior was loaded with luggage, but I think you’ll get the picture.  This has to be one of my favorite trucks.  The graphics really stick out and give it that aggressive look.  

Click on Image to be re-directed to official website

Click on Image to be re-directed to official website

 

Later in the week, I was at Road America and met up with them during the races.  We all had great time and especially enjoyed seeing Jack Roush Jr. reach the podium on race two.  For more information on the Roush Performance Ford Raptor, please visit www.RoushPerformance.com.

Jack Roush Jr - Pirelli World Challenge - Road America - Turn 7  Click on image for complete coverage.  

Jack Roush Jr - Pirelli World Challenge - Road America - Turn 7 

Click on image for complete coverage.  

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Finally bought a Hybrid..

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Finally bought a Hybrid..


For the last several months, I have been reviewing all types of vehicles, including hybrids. At first, I just knew I was not a fan and couldn’t justify spending an average of $10,000 more than the average gasoline only vehicle.  You would think I would be just the opposite since I live in a huge city and hybrids are designed for maximizing mpg.  After driving and reviewing several different hybrids, I have learned more about them and have found myself actual liking them.

I have had the opportunity to drive hybrids by various manufacturers including Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Honda and Nissan.  When you think of a hybrid car, of course the first vehicle that comes to mind is the Toyota Prius.  This vehicle has been the flagship of today’s hybrid vehicles, but is it really?  Personally, I was never a fan in its appearance.  Yes, it is functional, but I wasn’t going to sacrifice looks to get one.  It’s apparent that other manufacturers have taken note, and you can see that other hybrids have come a long way in both looking stylish, efficient & performance.

In the last couple of months, my wife and I began discussing the purchase of a new vehicle.  We slowly realized we needed to focus on maximizing our mpg being that we lived in the lovely city of Chicago.  We currently have a 2 year old son and have another boy due at the end of the year.  Space was a concern for us since we would soon be traveling with a larger family.  Getting an SUV was the direction we were heading, but wasn’t ideal for everyday driving in the city.  In my experience, you really don’t save much gas, if any from all, from the hybrid SUV’s I have driven.  We liked the space offered, so we were considering some normal crossovers, such as the Kia Sorrento, Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe.  These certainly were our favorite to date, and thought they were a good value for the price considering the options that came with them.

We ultimately decided that we weren’t ready to take the leap to a SUV, so we decided to look into four door sedans that might fit our needs.  At the time, we were driving a 2008 Honda Accord EX-L.  We loved the car and found it to be very spacious, but the miles were getting up there and some major maintenance was due.  I was at a Honda dealership getting normal maintenance done, and made the mistake of walking into the showroom.  This is where I first laid eyes on the new Honda Accord Touring Hybrid.  I was impressed at the big improvements Honda has made throughout the years, and upon seeing all of the gadgets and safety features, I automatically fell in love.  Since we had an Accord already, we were familiar with the brand.  The interior hadn’t changed much from what we were currently driving, so it was already comfortable to us.  The main thing we knew was the reliability of the car, and felt that it was enough room to travel with two sons even with the loss of space in the trunk.  We weren’t too crazy with the interior, but I really liked the safety features it had.  Having cool features also came with a hefty price tag.  Not crazy expensive, but enough to take step back and say am I really going to pay close to $40k (after all of the add-ons we wanted) on an Accord?  It did give an approximate 50 mpg city driving which I liked.  We decided to leave a deposit and order one in mid-June.  If you know the history of the Accord Touring Hybrids, you’ll know that there was a long waiting period, especially for the color we wanted.  So we got ready to wait.

As we waited, my wife and I talked about the Accord, but one particular car that kept jumping in the conversations was the Kia Optima Hybrid.  We had had the chance to drive it, and both actually loved the car inside and out.  She and our son especially loved the panoramic sunroof, not to mention all the features it came with including heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and heated steering wheel, to name a few that the Accord didn’t offer.  We had opportunity to drive both the Hybrid and SX turbo model for some time so we knew the car.  We knew it had lots of room inside, which was a plus since both of us are tall and we wouldn’t lose much leg room by having the Britax baby seats in the rear.  I liked how it drove and how I felt driving it.  Everything was easy to control and figure out.  The Optima Hybrid didn’t get close the advertised mpg of the Accord, but it was still the second best from all that we have driven. 

We were just playing the waiting game with Honda, and were happy to be told the car was going to go into production the week for July 6th.  We were excited and were getting ready for our delivery in the first week of August.  Well, the first week of August came, and when I called for an update I was given some bad news.  We told it wasn’t coming and the actual production date was pushed back.  I asked when and I even stopped by the dealership to get answers but was told I would get a call back later in the day.   I then went home and called around several Honda dealerships in the Chicagoland area to see if anyone had a touring model with black interior.  No luck.  I called couple of times to ask for GM and said he would call me back.  Here is when I made the decision while waiting for my wife to get home from work that I wanted to take a trip to the Kia dealership.  

Long story short, Kia had the model I was interested in on the showroom floor with everything I wanted except mud flaps, which was not a deal breaker in the slightest.  They gave me a price I couldn’t refuse, so I called the GM at Honda and asked status of my order immediately because I was at a Kia dealership about to purchase a vehicle.  He told me hesitantly that it wouldn’t be built until late August and delivery would occur in September.  I thanked him and told him that I would most likely be purchasing a different vehicle and would notify him in the AM to cancel my order.   As it turns out, we drove off that very night with a brand new Kia Optima Hybrid with all the bells and whistles for about $10k less than the Honda Accord Touring Hybrid would have been with about the same features.  Yes the Accord had a couple more features like the blind side camera and adaptive cruise control, but the Optima far outweighed those with the added features that it offered.  We did lose mpg per stated rates, but for the price and not having to wait, it was a no brainer for us.  We didn’t want to wait any longer since we were moving at the end of the month and my wife was getting further along in her pregnancy by the day. Ultimately, the Kia was our first choice; we just didn’t realize it until we got over the Accord euphoria and actually talked about another car.  I am more than ok with saving $10k over having the additional 10 mpg.  

Since we’ve had the car, we have driven approximately 1,000 miles, and we just love it.  Everywhere we go we get complimented on the car, and get asked about the car from curious admirers.  It has a very modern luxury style to it that you can’t stop looking at it.  Yes it’s “just” a Kia but if you haven’t seen, driven or spent time with one you just don’t know.  You get a lot for your buck plus a warranty that will put a smile on your face.  We are really glad we stopped in at the Kia dealership and drove away in the new Optima Hybrid.  We know we will enjoy this vehicle a lot more than we would have the Accord.  

I am averaging 34 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway.  I am very happy with my purchase, especially after having driven many different hybrids this year.  I’m not left with the “what if” thoughts since I have a really good feel for what the other cars have to offer.  I also noticed today that the price of the Accord Touring Hybrid has jumped up a few hundred bucks.  We will probably add a SUV in a year or two, and after looking at the SUV line up, we are leaning towards the Kia Sorento AWD Limited.  Purchasing the Optima has made it easy since we both loved the Sorrento and now know that we are truly getting a great product in Kia.  The SUV write up will come at a later date once we purchase it.  It will be interesting to see what we end up with!

Thank you all for reading.  Both dealerships that helped me were very friendly, and are both located on the north side of Chicago.  Grossinger Honda at 6600 N Western Ave is a new dealership formerly called Carrs Honda.  We bought the Kia Optima from Grossinger Kia at 6750 N Lincoln Ave.  They have a great staff and got me in and out in no time.  I will be writing about our experience there soon.  At Honda ask for Bill and at Kia, Jerry will take care of you.  Both are very professional and will make sure your purchase experience goes smoothly and hassle free.

 

Jerry at Grossinger Kia - http://www.grossingerkia.com

Bill at Grossinger Honda - http://www.grossingerhonda.com

All photographs from Honda Accord Touring Hybrid are from the web.

Photographs of Kia Optima EX Hybrid provided by Chris Chavez Photography

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New ZR1 Dyno World Record!!  KP Racing

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New ZR1 Dyno World Record!! KP Racing

We’d like to congratulate KP Racing out of Houston, TX for breaking the Corvette ZR1 dyno record at 934rwhp. Great job!  The vehicle is owned by RC Cox. This team will be bringing up a Corvette to race at the 2014 Michigan Mile, and are looking to break the record for the fastest Corvette in the standing mile.  It’s an event you don’t want to miss!

Any questions or further information you can reach KP Racing at 281-664-8000.  

For more information on the 2014 Michigan Mile, please visit www.TheMichicanMile.com

Picture provided by KP Racing.  

Click on image to visit KP Racing webiste

Click on image to visit KP Racing webiste

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Bentley Motorsports Returns to North America

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Bentley Motorsports Returns to North America

 I’d like to share some exciting news straight from the masterminds at Bentley 

 

 

-Continental GT3 to compete in North America with Dyson Racing

-First race to be Pirelli World Challenge round at Road America

-Development over 2014 in preparation for 2015 championship

-New Continental GT3 race car on display at NYIAS

 

(New York, 16th April 2014) After an impressive performance at the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series in Monza, Italy last weekend, the new Bentley Continental GT3 is set to reintroduce the celebrated British marque to North American motorsports with Dyson Racing. The premier sports car racing team in the U.S., Dyson will race a pair of Continental GT3s in the second half of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge in preparation for a full season of competition in 2015.

 

The new partnership returns Bentley to the racetracks of North America for the first time since 2003. The Continental GT3 will be on display on the Bentley stand at the New York International Auto Show on April 16 and 17. Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, comments from the show:

 

“Now that our European motorsport programme is up and running, securing a return to racing in our biggest market is the natural next step. It’s extremely exciting to be back here with a racecar, and I’m delighted to be working with the Dyson team. Their operation reflects and embodies so many Bentley values, and I’m very confident in their abilities. This venture is the next step in the Continental GT3 plan, which we hope will eventually see our customers racing in Bentleys all around the world.”


Pending testing and development results, Bentley’s U.S. racing programme will begin with the entry of a single Continental GT3 in the Road America round of the Pirelli World Challenge at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin on June 21. A second car will be added later in the season.


Development work and assignments for the single-driver sprint races will be shared among Chris Dyson and long-time Dyson Racing team members Guy Smith and Butch Leitzinger. The latter are also veteran Bentley Boys, Leitzinger as a driver of the class-winning Bentley EXP-8 at Le Mans in 2001 and 2002, Smith as a driver of the Le Mans overall-winning Bentley Speed 8 in 2003. Smith, who was also a development driver for the current Bentley Continental GT3 program and who is now piloting one in five races of the 2014 European Blancpain Series, will drive with Dyson Racing Team Bentley as his European commitments permit.


Team Principal Rob Dyson comments:


“Our team is proud to be demonstrating to Americans that Bentley is not only one of the great names in automotive history, but also today the producer of the finest high-performance luxury cars available. As Dyson Racing begins its fourth decade in professional motorsports, it’s an honor for all of us on the team to be racing the Continental GT3 with Bentley in the Pirelli World Challenge.”

Story and Pictures is provided by and owned by Bentley Media.  

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Chicago Blackhawks Camaro Giveaway Commercial

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Chicago Blackhawks Camaro Giveaway Commercial

2014 Chicago Blackhawks Chevy Camaro SS Convertible.  Brought to you by Chevy Drive Chicago.  

Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to photograph the highly anticipated Chicago Blackhawks Camaro.  This is a vehicle that was created in conjunction with Chevy Drive Chicago, The Chicago Blackhawks and RealWheels Corporation.  Many were involved in building this vehicle, with a lot of time and effort put into it.  On the reveal day at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, it was well received quickly became a fan favorite.  Chevy Drive Chicago uses many still shots for promotional use, many of which were ones that I had the exclusive rights to take.  One night as I was watching a Blackhawks game, I saw the commercial for the Camaro pop up.  My first thought was, "Wow, what an awesome commercial".  Then I noticed that the still shots used were the ones that I took.  I've been published before, but this was a definite surprise and I was very excited to see my work out there for all to see. 


If you like to see the full story of the build of this immaculate vehicle, click on the image below.

Click on image to read full article on the Chicago Blackhawks Camaro give aways.  

Click on image to read full article on the Chicago Blackhawks Camaro give aways.  

If you like to register to win this vehicle, please click on the image below to be redirected to official website. 

Thank to Kelly Marie Campbell for the pose.  

Thank to Kelly Marie Campbell for the pose.  

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AMS Performance / Alpha Omega Time-lapse / TX2K14

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AMS Performance / Alpha Omega Time-lapse / TX2K14

Ams Performance Alpha Omega  - Picture by Jeremy Cliff

Here is a time-lapse video of AMS Performance Nissan GTR Alpha Omega getting ready for TX2k14.  AMS Performance is one of the leading performance shops in the country since 2001.  AMS holds many records in various racing organizations.  Here, video shows AMS getting ready for the big show down at TX2k14 in Houston, TX.  This event will be held from March 12 to 16th, 2014.  This event will hold its first Roll Racing event with a dyno day, night meet and drag racing.  Good luck to AMS Performance!  For more information you can click on the images below. 

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Mischief.TV NAIAS video release

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Mischief.TV NAIAS video release

Good friends over at Mischief.tv just released a new video covering the North America International Auto Show held in Detroit, MI.  Sit back and enjoy the coverage.  It's pretty funny and entertaining.  

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2014 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS

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2014 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro SS

2014 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible Chicago Blackhawks Edition 


ChevyDrivesChicago.com, in partnership with the Chicago Blackhawks and  the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy dealers, has commissioned another exciting vehicle for one lucky fan to win in the annual Chicago Blackhawks Camaro giveaway.  For the last 5 years, a one of a kind Chicago Blackhawks themed Chevy Camaro has been built and given away to the winner at the end of the hockey season.  This particular vehicle will hold a special interest to many hard core fans as it celebrates the 2013 winning season, and the drive to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. 

Image from Chicago Blackhawks

 

 

RealWheels Corporation and Project Manager Cory Polka have again taken on the challenge to make 2014 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible the best Blackhawks car yet.  Cory really wanted this one to be special since the Blackhawks are the defending NHL Champions.  Advance Composite Specialties sent over their latest body kit, the ACS-T4.  This kit included  new rockers and a front splitter, which gave the car the aggressive look they were aiming for.  He added to the aggressive feel by giving the car 22” 2Crave No.14 rims on 245/30/22 tires in front and 295/30/22 tires in the rear. The rims were custom painted with team colors with the team name added on the lip. The  new stance was created with a Ground Force lowering kit.


 

As in previous years, the exterior of the car was painted in the team colors, with a few special accents added in. Estrada Customs took care of the custom painting  using a combination of True Black and Victory Red with a Pure White accent  to bring the car to life.   The Black racing stripe was  added to complete the fierce look and accentuate the new air dam featured in the 2014 model Camaro.


 

Katzkin Leathers created the customer interior using the team colors, featuring a black body with special Crimson Carbon inserts that mimic the teams jersey. Blackhawks logos embroidered on the head and arm rest finish off the seats.   A custom Blackhawks silhouette on both door panels is covered in red suede to give it an awesome embossed 3D look.  With red Varad accent lighting, the custom billet features from RWC really pop.  The most exciting part of the interior is the custom made shifter.  Not only was it custom made with a hockey puck, it is signed by both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.  And since no car would be complete without new sounds, Cartronix Inc added a premium Phoenix Gold Audio system.


Under the hood RWC had Liquid Ink add some of their special touches.  Starting with the engine cover using hydro-graphics, they wrapped it in a tow-tone bred and black carbon fiber.  This carried into the stabilizer bar and was finished off with the straight black carbon fiber on the air intake and fuse panel covers. 

I’ve been fortunate to photograph some of the previous years’ editions, and I have to say that this year’s car is hands down my favorite.  From the planning to all of the hard work put into building this, you can tell how much ChevyDrivesChicago.com and RealWheels Corp care about producing a quality product.   When you go check this out at this year’s Chicago Auto Show, be sure to take a close look at the custom upper and lower grilles featuring custom silhouette Blackhawks logos.  Cory added a VERY special something extra that no other NHL team can say they have.   I will not spoil this extra feature; you will have to look very carefully to find it!

Trivia -  If you look behind the Chicago Logo, you'll see the Stanley Cup


 

The Camaro will debut at The 2014 Chicago Auto Show, and will be on display at all Blackhawks home games. It is scheduled to make appearances throughout Chicagoland for the remainder of the Summer.   You can register to win this awesome car at any one of these locations and the winner will be announced at the end of the 2014 NHL season.  One lucky fan will take delivery at the annual Blackhawks Convention in downtown Chicago…it could be you!  For more information please visitwww.chevydriveschicago.com

Top four photographs from previous years starting in 2010.  Photographs from web. 

 

Pictures provided by Chris Chavez Photography

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