On March 13th -15th, the city of Rosemont (40 minutes from downtown Chicago) hosted one of the biggest events on its calendar and one of the best shows for a car enthusiast to attend — The O’Reilly World of Wheels Show.
Coming on the heels of the Chicago Auto Show’s exit just a few weeks prior, this event keeps the blood boiling and pistons pumping within the Midwestern car guru’s system, but for a totally different reason. The World of Wheels is a feast of automotive engineering and hand-craftsmanship. Many of the cars displayed were painstaking labors of love for people who had the same passion and work ethic as the attendees. Years of work and insane attention to detail are presented for all to see throughout the convention center’s corridors.
Along with more than 500 custom cars, there are always celebrity cars like The Batmobile, The Fast & Furious cars and countless other two-ton stars of the silver screen which were present this year. Yes, there are flesh-and-blood stars. The car enthusiasts on hand in Chi-town that we all know and love this year included: Danny “The Count” Koker from the History Channel’s Counting Cars and WWE Star “Big Show”.
One of my favorite features of the show was a truck. That’s right a truck that has been modified to accommodate and entire music system. This truck helps to set the mood for the show by playing hits from The Big Bopper, Frankie Valli and The Beach Boys. All the songs that were hits when most of these cars were new can be heard far across the show floor and take you back to a simpler time. What is a classic car show without a tri-5 Chevy or two. There are more of them than you can shake a stick at and a bevy of Camaros, Cudas, Caddys and the like. The low-riders are here, too and they are works of engineering and science that you can’t truly appreciate unless you see them up close.
Along with the show itself, there is a competition being held. You may see some of the judges grading one of the 40 cars that are competing for the National Champion title. That’s right, while you are gawking, they are scoring. Oh, and did I mention the bikes? There is a whole section dedicated to some of the most beautiful custom bikes in the country. The manufacturers are there as well as tuners and customizers showing their custom wares to hot rod enthusiasts. Alongside the high-buck customs are the couples who spent years brining their beauties to life. The wife or husband who is showing their spouses pet project posthumously or the kids who learned what they know from tinkering around with Dad and Grandpa in the garage on Sunday afternoons. Be on the lookout for brothers like Chris and Mike Jenna, who are the Cadillac restoration kings. Their cars are fabulous and they can make an ’82 Eldorado look better than new. All the feel-good stories are here and every one of them is approachable.
If it is lifted, chopped, frenched, shaved or lowered, it’s here and it’s gorgeous. Three days of the hottest cars to melt that frigid chill from the hearts of everyone who enters the gate. If it’s cool and it has wheels, it will be at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on the weekend of March 4th-6th in 2016. If you are in the Chicago Area, make your way there, if not go to worldofwheels.com to find out when the show will be in a city near you. You too, can take a journey to the World of Wheels. If not, you can make a jaunt to Houston Texas between November 26th through the 29th. If you want to get your year started off right, plan your trips from the 2016 calendar at https://autorama.com. My advice to any auto enthusiast…..GO!!