Chicago Rally & Fall Colors Run Event
It’s a cold 46° on a typical fall Sunday in Chicago. I’m sitting in my car outside a coffee shop, waiting for “a few” cars to show up for the annual Chicago Rally (a local car club) “Fall Colors Run”. The peaceful stillness doesn’t last long though – the morning erupts with thunderous exhaust notes as members start to arrive and park diagonally in the parking lot. Since I’m not a member of Chicago Rally, I position my car away from the powerful vehicles that start to trickle in.
At first glance, you’d think Chicago Rally is your typical car club – a bunch of people with expensive or modified cars buying coffee and talking about the best racing line at some famous racetrack. But this is no ordinary car group. As most of the members testified, Chicago Rally is more about the relationships than who has the fastest or most expensive vehicle. You get the sense that this is a closely-knit family forged by horsepower and gasoline where everyone knows and looks out for one another. And this family enjoys their cars.
Speaking of cars, Chicago Rally doesn’t segment itself to certain brands. At the Fall Colors Run event, you had vehicles such as the nimble Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ, a few powerful Chevrolet Corvette Z06s, handfuls of BMW M and Porsche sports cars, as well as Nissan GTRs and Volkswagen GTIs/Golf R and more. I also saw a McLaren 650S, two Maseratis, a Lotus Elise, and a Polaris Slingshot. If you would like to see a video with all the cars, check out this video by Unscene Media Group.
Obviously you don’t have to own a six-figure supercar to be a member. But, if you want to join Chicago Rally, you do need a passion for cars and driving, as well as one modification on your car. I would recommend those modifications be performance-based because what lay ahead required power and handling.
After meeting at the coffee shop, all 31 Chicago Rally cars headed north into Wisconsin to the Road America Racetrack. The drive up to the racetrack was my first taste of just how daunting it would be to keep up with the members. Even though I own a modified Volkswagen GTI, most of the other vehicles were simply in a class of their own. I’m no stranger to speed – I’ve certainly floored my GTI on the local interstates – but the Chicago Rally folks took it to a whole new level.
When the group made it to Road America, everyone pulled in near the entrance – but not to race. Instead, we were there for a giant photo shoot. As the cars lined up, the various curves, colors, and sizes of each individual vehicle blended together to create a stunning scene. While the cars were stationary, the videographer that attended filmed different levels and angles. Having over 30 vehicles with their own unique customizations in a square formation was an excellent precursor to the next event.
From there we sped off to Kettle Moraine – a beautiful state forest park in southeast Wisconsin. The spaghetti-like roads were a true test of both car and driver. Each vehicle was pushed to the limit while the owners carefully calculated the multitude of corners. No matter how fast you were going, the sensation of each gear change combined with the spectrum of colors from the falling leaves made this drive one to remember. These are the types of roads a car-enthusiast dreams of.
As the event came to a close, Chicago Rally’s stance on being more than just your typical car club resonated with me. Sure, they have a need for speed and a true appreciation of the vehicles in their club, but their passion runs deeper than what is under the hood. The word “family” was thrown around quite a few times but it did feel like I was with a big family.
One thing that Khurrum Dhanji, Chicago Rally’s owner and co-founder told me really stuck out: “Chicago Rally has been and will always be a family because of the bonds we've formed with each other over time. We all have a passion for cars, that's what brought us together, but in the end it’s the relationships we've made with each other that keep us together. It's not about who's driving what, it's about what drives you that makes you part of this family.” Based on the Fall Colors Run, I’d agree. Being a part of Chicago Rally really is an experience you will never forget.