For the past four years, the long-running Tuner Evo car show tour has made its way to Schaumburg, just a short drive from the Chicago area, and its latest visit not surprisingly proved to be the most complex and involved due to the current state of the nation. While a huge portion of the events you've come to expect annually have been cancelled or postponed due to Covid concerns, the staff at TE managed to take the necessary precautions beforehand and give the region the only large-scale car show of 2020. Working with the Village of Schaumburg—an authority figure for the city—the event would be allowed to take place with some guidelines put forth by the CDC.
In order to make this possible, the show was moved outside about a month prior to the big day and everyone was directed to use masks and be cognizant of keeping their distance. Whether you're ok with wearing a mask or one of those people that goes to great lengths to let the world within your social feed know that it's some sort of top-secret government conspiracy, attendees adhered to the rules and officials were satisfied.
Being that August is notorious for bringing some rainfall to the area, it was no surprise when the morning showers began hitting the pavement. Typically, an outdoor car show with a helping of rainfall would be a low point, but in this instance, the fact that things were back to somewhat normal, even if for only an afternoon, was far more important.
Tuner Evo's leading man, Jay Martinez, noted that the staff of 22 people for this tour stop were keeping close tabs on the weather and they prepared for the wet conditions. They managed to move well over 300 cars through the lot and into their respective spots without any major issues—a tall feat, even for fair weather conditions. Jay notes, "It wasn't that bad at all, we were prepared and the car owners showing up were all smiles. We really wanted this event to happen for the people of Chicago. We understand it's a lifestyle and this is what people do. When they don't have the comfort of going out on the weekends with friends and family, it takes away from their day-to-day. The city showed that they're true enthusiasts and will come out to support an event no matter what, rain or shine."
As with all of the Tuner Evo tour stops, Big Mike, joined by Bear Dellinger, served as the hosts of the show, with over a dozen vendors on hand to show off new product and help support the show. As the Tuner Evo tour heads into 2021, a year that will signify their 15th anniversary, the landscape is understandably unknown. As of this story, the next and final stop of this year is planned for December 19th in Charlotte, NC, which is, at this point, confirmed as an indoor show.
After Charlotte, Jay would like a rematch with Anaheim in April—a tour stop that was cancelled at the 11th hour earlier this year as the Coronavirus shut down in the U.S. was just getting underway and gatherings of any kind were halted. He adds, "For us, obviously we want to continue our events and promote our brand, but more importantly we want to provide something for the people, and man, did the people of Chicago show their appreciation. So many 'thank you's' and positive comments showing love during that show. Most of the staff flew or drove in from PA and at 6am that day, I thought it might be a dud. But the rain finally slowed around 1:30 and by 3pm, we finally saw some sunlight - the vibe was crazy. That was one of my favorite shows by far. I just appreciate how they received it."
Attendees made their way through a mass of cars that included mostly Japanese, but also brought some European cars and a smattering of domestic offerings in model years that spanned 60-plus years and presented a "something for everyone" sort of atmosphere.
During the morning roll-in, this group of FK8 Type R grabbed plenty of attention. The car that the naysayers screamed about on social media as having no future in the import enthusiast market has proven them very wrong and become an absolute juggernaut, with modified versions found at every meet, show and track event throughout the nation. The aftermarket has offered substantial support as the fan base continues to grow exponentially and a new, limited version on the way.
Rotary power in the form of a very clean Mazda RX-3 and FB RX-7 await their roll-in. While the FD model and, more recently, the FC RX-7 garner the most attention, there's a loyal following for these older, sporty Mazda offerings.
At any one of Tuner Evo's tour stops, you'll note a thorough selection of vehicles from different genres. It's not unusual to find a supercar, like a Lamborghini, for example, right alongside a Corolla, as seen here.
A pair of MkIV Supras in the same color, but from different ends of the spectrum.
One sports large wheels with low profile tires and aftermarket aero changes, while the other maintains completely factory lines and some meaty drag radials in the rear.
Lime green paint covers this S2000 that features a Voltex front bumper and wider arches at all four corners to house ever-popular TE37.
In the shaved and reworked engine bay, the original F-series was ditched for a K-series swap outfitted with Downstar Inc. hardware and a color-matched valvecover. The potential of the K's ability to take kindly to bolt-ons and power gains, along with an option to jump up in displacement, as compared to the native powerplant, is often more than enough to incite the swap.
Finding a unique color, especially for an S-chassis, is no easy task these days but in this instance, a color you won't find often used on any car is applied and highlighted by dark bronze and black Work wheels. A "heart theme" plays out on the front bumper signals and even the rollcage gussets.
The custom body additions might throw you off a little but it's actually a Lotus Evora. Widened considerably on the outside and featuring forged carbon pieces on the inside, it had attendees doing a double take throughout the day.