FREE motoring April, 2013
Voyager Media Publications, Inc The Joliet Bugle The Plainfield Enterprise The Shorewood Sentinel www.buglenewspapers.com
INSIDEFeatures n Cover story Chicagoland revs up for Sprint Cup > page 1 & 3
Wheel of Fortune
n Monthly motoring Spring Detailing > page 3 n old car classic Greg’s Auto Body > page 5 n Monthly motoring Road Trip Tips > page 7
The Autobahn Country Club blends the grandeur of the club with the thrill of the track
he Autobahn Country Club in Joliet is, for all intents and purposes, a product of a mind that believed that one could, indeed, have the best of both worlds. The high-end car, and car racing, club was the brainchild of Mark Basso who, as a kid, enjoyed visiting the country clubs where the members chatted amiably over a drink on the patio and played a leisurely round of golf on the pristine, manicured course. Yet, it appears Basso leaned towards the mindset of his namesake, Mark Twain, who once said “golf is a good walk ruined.” Basso could have added a line of his own: “And I would rather drive, thank you very much.” He remembers “being a car guy all my life. I thought the country clubs were cool...except for the golf part.” So, in 2004, Basso became a trendsetter, of sorts, when he married his lifelong love of cars with the gentile camaraderie of the country club. The Autobahn Country Club was born and
has grown to the point where it has 400 members. Autobahn also offers lots that overlook the tracks. Autobahn sold out Phase’s I, II and III for a total of 52 lots. Autobahn has now launched Phase IV which features 16 track side lots and 8 back side lots. So far 11 members have been willing to put down $200,000 to have a phase IV lot on which they will build a “garage-mahal”. As well, if imitation is the truest form of flattery, Basso has reason to blush. “We’re in our
ninth year. We were the first purpose built track to start with this concept. Since then, several billionaires have been building their own versions.” A typical property at Autobhan differs from a standard country estate, insofar as the cars are the key residents. The first floor is likely to cover 4,000 to 6,000 square feet and all that is garage space. Continued on page 3
Autobahn country club Clubhouse
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auTobahn counTRy club membeR gaRage
Continued from the cover The facility includes a configurable main track with a 1.5-mile (2.41 km) north track and a 2.06-mile (3.32 km) south track, There is also a full track of 3.56 miles (5.73 km), skid pad, and a 0.8-mile (1.3 km) kart track. The kart track comes with its own fleet and is the scene of races. Racing is a key component of the Autobahn lifestyle. Basso says the Spec Miata is a popular choice for those wishing to pursue the club’s checkered flag. Designed to be an affordable race vehicle, the Spec Miata can be found at Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA) events. Spec Miatas use a specific Bilstein shock with an adjustable coil-over suspension with Eibach springs and adjustable front and rear sway bars and steel braided brake lines. Models with 1.6 liter engines have a race weight of 2300 pounds (1057kg) and first generation cars with a 1.8 liter displacement engine have a minimum race weight of 2350 pounds. “Second generation Miatas”(1999-05) have a minimum weight of 2,400 pounds. The club also has a Performance fleet of Audi’s, BMW’s, Cadillacs, Lexus cars, AMG Mercedes cars, Porsche 911, Nismo Nissan 370Z,
and a Ferrari California. The club requires a $35,000 membership fee to use the tracks and club house, which features a bar, banquet hall and dining facilities with a private chef. There is also a racing school and a defensive driving school for teenagers. The membership includes noted professional drivers like Bobby Rahal and Tom Bagley. The club is home to just about any type of car you can imagine such as Ferrari Dino, a Ford Mustang Boss 302, a Nash Healey, a Ferrari Challenge Stradale, an Allard K2, an Alfa Romeo Zagato, among others. There is a difference, of note, between the Autobahn Country Club and the more stereotypical clubs with the golf courses, tennis courts and often anal dress and conduct codes. When it comes gaining acceptance to the latter, one must often bring wealth, connections...and a pedigree. Basso says the Autobahn member is driven (pardon the pun) by a love of cars and driving, not the pursuit of status and mingling with the right people. “It’s a very low key atmosphere. The members tend to be entrepreneurial professionals. But, most of all, they are car guys. They like to race and they like to drive fast.” n Written by Dan Pelton
Full View oF TRack aT auTobahn counTRy club
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show your vehicle some
he winter season is coming to an end (hopefully), and it’s time to show your vehicle some love. Auto Detailing is an ideal way to show your love. Typically recommended after winter has passed, detailing your vehicle is not only a sure fire way to retain the value of your investment, but also ensures a sanitary and aesthetically pleasing travel experience for yourself and your family. There are many benefits to having your vehicle professionally detailed;
Resale Value: If you have plans to sell your vehicle, a professional detailing can boost the value to potential buyers. A proper detailing will not only make the vehicle look clean, a deep clean and shampooing will also help remove any odors that could otherwise be offensive to the new buyer. When a potential buyer sees a clean, fresh vehicle, they put a higher value on the sale.
alleRgies/asThma: A professional detailing includes a thorough cleaning of the air vents that bring heat and air conditioning into the vehicle. With time, dust forms in these vents, and blow into the vehicle. A good cleaning will reduce allergy symptoms, and can also benefit drivers and passengers who may suffer from Asthma. geRm RemoVal: Eating, smoking and even drinking in your vehicle can cause your vehicle’s interior to harbor dirt, germs and odor. Professional cleanings not only vacuum the floors and seats of the vehicle, but special tools will be used to get into hard to reach areas of the vehicle. Special tools will also remove any sticky materials that may be in the vehicle’s inner compartments, ensuring all areas are thoroughly cleaned, and all surfaces are disinfected.
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THE RENAISSANCE MAN Whether it be with his auto body repairs or with his guitar, Greg Bucciarelli gets folks motoring
hen it comes to automotive insurance repairs, antique collectibles, and 60’s rock and roll, one name has become synonymous in the Joliet area. That person is Gregory Bucciarelli. He, his father, and grandfather, all have been lifelong businessmen in the Joliet community. Their family philosophy has always been: treat people the way you like to be treated and you will always be a success in all phases of your life. Gregory said he prides himself in being involved with many non-profit organizations such as, Wish Upon A Star, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, Will Grundy Center for Independent Living, Joliet food kitchens and many other church and school functions. It goes without saying that Greg’s father, being an accomplished tenor and mandolin virtuoso, played a definitive role in Greg’s appreciation for cars and music. To this day, he is repairing and customizing automobiles at his new body shop repair facility located on Oak Leaf Street near the Joliet
Post Office. Gregory has painted and customized everything from special need vehicles, wheel chairs, a prosthetic arm, guitars and every type of vehicle imaginable. Gregory said he could not have achieved his goals without the continued support and devotion of his wife Sally, his three children, Brant Gregory, Amie Lynn, Angela Marie, his seven beautiful grandchildren and loyal friends. His passion for 60’s rock and roll and collectible automobiles are a daily part of his life. He, being a hands-on owner six days a week, always seems to have the energy to perform on a regular weekend basis with his Drummer, Ziggy Mikuzis and bass guitarist, Rob Jokubauskas who make up the 60’s rock band Greg’s Fender Benders. After all is said and done, Gregory is a man who supports his community and friends from start to finish.
■ To share your love for Classic Cars, please send your contact information, photos and story to Dan at email@example.com
We will be including feature stories monthly in Motoring in our Old Classic Car Column.
If anyone has any interest in Gregory donating custom paint work on a child’s specials needs assistive devices and recreational equipment, call him on his cell phone at (815) 685-7855. ■ Written by Dan Pelton
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Road tRip tips
for spring drivers S pring is a season of rebirth for many people, who welcome the warm weather with open arms, especially those who just endured a harsh winter. Spending time outdoors when the weather warms up is a popular pastime for many people each spring. Road trips taken by college kids or high schoolers hitting the road for spring break or professionals and parents packing up the car for a weekend getaway have become synonymous with spring. A road trip is a great way to get outdoors and make the most of a warm day, but there are a few tricks of the trade drivers can employ to ensure their road trips are as enjoyable as possible.
• Give your car a good wash. Drivers who live in areas with heavy snowfall should give their vehicles a thorough cleaning before hitting the road for a spring road trip. Salt and sand can build up on a vehicle over the course of a snowy winter, so a power washing will help remove excess salt,
sand or dirt and help the car run more smoothly. • Get the vehicle a tune-up. A tune-up, including an oil change, should be part of your pretrip planning. Make sure winter hasn’t caused any damage to the vehicle’s body and ask your mechanic to perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s suspension and brakes. If any problems arise, address them before embarking on your road trip. • Subscribe to a roadside assistance program. Roadside assistance programs, whether it’s AAA or a program offered through your insurance company, provide a measure of security to road-trippers. Many roadside assistance programs provide variety of emergency assistance for members, including: • towing service if your vehicle cannot start or operate safely. • battery service if your car’s battery needs a jump. • flat tire service if you get a flat tire and don’t
have a spare or cannot change the tire yourself, • fuel delivery service if your car runs out of gas. • lockout service if you lock your keys in the car. These services can act as a safety net should an issue arise when you’re on the road and far away from home or far away from a service station. Keep your membership card in your wallet and store their customer service number in your cellular phone should you accidentally lose your membership card or lock it inside your car. • Bring cash as well as credit cards on the trip. When embarking on a road trip, don’t assume you will have ready access to an ATM on your trip or at your destination. This means you may
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reach a point when you have no cash on hand. While it’s a good idea to bring some cash along on the trip, bring a credit card or cards as well should you find yourself with no cash. A major credit card, such as a Mastercard, American Express or Visa, is likely to be accepted at most filling stations. • Invest in a road navigation system. A road navigation system can be your best friend, helping you find your way in places with which you are unfamiliar. Road navigation systems can alert you to traffic conditions while providing directions and alternate routes. Some systems will even alert you to nearby filling stations, lodging or restaurants.
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