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Chicago Auto Show ‘childhood dream come true’ for some, window shopping opportunity for

Rex Reyes used to play with Hot Wheels and go to car shows with his mom as a kid. In 2020, at age 15, he started a Facebook group for exotic car lovers.

Saturday, the 18-year-old was running a space on the opening day of the Chicago Auto Show as large as the one given to Lexus, with more than half a dozen million-dollar vehicles filling it up.

His Facebook group became Chitown Exotic Car Group, which holds monthly charity car shows, drawing in donations by showing off the rare, expensive and interesting vehicles owned by its nearly 3,500 members.

“To be in the place I grew up going to… It’s truly my childhood dream come true,” Reyes said. “The fact that I get to have my club in it is just a whole other level of amazing.”

Reyes, who works in marketing, said the auto show was a good chance to meet people from the “car scene,” and noted he had already run into some car influencers whose work he follows. Aside from that, he relished the seemingly unending stream of people stopping to ogle the vehicles in his corner of the massive show.

“I get to surround myself with these amazing cars I love with amazing people on the sidelines,” he said. “I could talk about cars for hours, and I will.”

While the Aston Martin Vantage owner was stuck staffing his post, he said he walked around during the media preview days earlier in the week and had been eyeing the ID Buzz, Volkswagen’s electric tribute to the classic bus.

The 116th rendition of the Auto Show has brought a growing share of electric vehicles, with Lucid and Tesla making their debuts at the iconic showcase.

Tesla, as part of the Chicago Drives Electric course — one of three test tracks at the 10-day event where people can ride along in new vehicles — had employees driving around prospective buyers and car fans in the newest version of its Model 3.

However, the company’s main event, with more than 100 people standing in line to see it, was the company’s controversial Cybertruck. Some standing by said it looked like a toaster or fridge, and others stood by to see what the hype was about.

Ryan and Sam Brandt were among those in line, and had plans to check out the Ford Bronco’s display later on in lieu of Jeep’s absence from the show.

The couple has been to the showcase almost every year for the last 10 years, enjoying the test drives and seeing what’s new in the automotive industry — in addition to taking an excuse to leave the kids with a sitter and spend the day together.

“We always enjoy looking at all the new, futuristic stuff,” Sam said. “It’s me engaging in his passions. … We’re very similar so it’s easy to enjoy each other’s passions.”

They don’t plan to buy the Cybertruck, but “it’s cool to see what all the hype is about and take it in for ourselves,” Ryan said.

Harrison Brown, a lifelong Chicagoan, stood wiping down the tail end of a line of Toyotas shortly after the event opened. He was one of five employees tasked with keeping the cars shiny for the 300,000 people expected to walk through McCormick Place during the duration of the showcase.

He and the rest of his crew donned jumpsuits reminiscent of pit crew uniforms, and each had at least eight vehicles assigned in their respective areas.

Brown said he prefers when the crowds move in because it allows him to focus on cleaning the smaller details of the vehicles like door handles, as opposed to wiping down the entire vehicle before the gates open.

His advice to Chicagoans trying to keep their cars as clean as the ones on display?

“Keep it in the garage and don’t go out in the weather,” Brown said.




This article was originally published by a
chicago.suntimes.com . Read the Original article here. .

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