Category Archives: Photos

Alex Bellus Lamborghini Aventador Photo Shoot

Minnesota Cars and Coffee with Alex Bellus

If you aren’t paying attention to the Minnesota car scene, it is time you start! Minnesota currently stakes claim to one of the best Cars & Coffee shows in the Midwest, some top-flight performance shops, an impressive list of exotics roaming the streets and whispers of hyper-cars soon to make an appearance.

Saleen S7 Twin Turbo at Minnestoa Cars and Coffee

Nth Moto Saleen S7 Twin Turbo at Minnestoa Cars and Coffee

There is no one better to break it all down for us than photographer to the car stars, Alex Bellus.

Alex, let’s start with Minnesota Cars & Coffee (MN C&C) which takes place the first Saturday of every month at the Automotorplex in Chanhassen, MN.

Mid-America Cartell: About how many cars come out on a given Saturday and how much has this show grown over the past two years?

Alex: MN C&C has pretty much hit capacity for the current venue, the AutoMotorPlex, in Chanhassen and the volunteers that staff the event have had to start turning away cars by 8:30 or 9:00 AM when the weather is nice because we’ve already reached the limit of about 1,000 cars. With those cars usually comes several thousand spectators as well. I’ve been photographing the event since it first started in a coffee shop parking lot with about 25-30 cars so I’ve seen it grow a ton over the past 6 or 7 years. Like clockwork, it runs from about 7:00 AM to 11:00 on the first Saturday of every month, April through October.

Mid-America CarTell: What kind of variety of cars should one expect?

Alex: There’s a huge diversity of cars that come out each month. Pretty much anyone can show their car as long as it’s clean and somewhat unique. You’ll see everything from well-executed JDM cars to rat rods and muscle cars, as well as a strong contingent of German cars, especially, BMWs, Audis and Porsches. Regardless of weather, you’ll usually see a few super cars come out like Ford GTs, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, or McLarens, even when there is snow on the ground!

Mclaren MC12 in Minnesota

Mclaren MC12 in front of sponsor IMOLA race trailer

Italian Exotics at Minnesota Cars & Coffee

Italian Exotics at Minnesota Cars & Coffee

Mid-America CarTell: What are some of the most exciting cars that have come out this year?

Alex: It was a rough start to the year. We had a snow storm a day or two before the April event, May was good but kind of chilly, and June had torrential rains that flooded parts of the MotorPlex. That being said, there were three Aventadors (two roadsters and a coupe), as well as a 1,400 HP Ford GT that braved the rain in June. May was a good month for MN C&C. In addition to a really unique and rare 1950s Devin race car as well as a stunning Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, an Underground Racing twin-turbo Gallardo Superleggera and a priceless 1960 Ferrari 250 GTB SWB are perennial fan favorites that also showed up. Another car I always look forward to seeing is this really mean sounding, blue two-tone Pantera with a fully built engine.

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Mid-America CarTell: Are there any cars you’ve seen over the past years that are MIA thus far this season?

Alex: There are a few that I’d love to see again. For instance, about 3 years ago, someone brought a really rare Ruf CTR2 Sport which has since gone to a garage in Malaysia; in addition to a Ruf BTR that made it out to a few events last year. I’ve also seen a Lamborghini Miura or two over the years that I’d love another chance to see. In terms of more modern stuff, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen any Carrera GTs at MN C&C. There’s also a sweet Ultima GTR that usually shows up when the weather is nice.

Ultima GTR

Ultima GTR

Mid-America CarTell: We’ve heard rumors about the legendary and fresh off of goldRush Rally Bleugatti as well as a P1 and 918 making an appearance at MN C&C this year. What have you been hearing?

Alex: That sounds about right. I’m hoping Bleugatti will be at the July event and a P1 might be there to join it as well. I’m guessing we won’t start seeing any 918s until this fall though. I’ve also heard rumors of a local collector having a Porsche 959 as well as a McLaren F1. I’ve never seen either of these in person but if the owner happens to be reading this, call me! Let’s set up a shoot!

Bleugatti Minnesota

*update* The Bleugatti did make it to July MN C&C!

Mid-America CarTell: We can’t talk MN C&C without talking IMOLA Motorsports. You’re their go to photographer so fill us in on their amazing new facility and a few of their recent projects.

Alex: IMOLA’s new shop in Plymouth is about three times bigger than their old shop. They’ve now incorporated a dedicated detailing bay, a race shop, and plenty of storage space. It’s still a work in progress but hopefully there’s room for a dyno and a paint shop as well. They’ve been busy as usual with an assortment of projects including building and maintaining a fleet of shop and customer-owned race cars. Every time I go over there, it seems like they’re servicing something new. Last time I was there, they were working on a really rare Shelby Series 1 and a Ferrari 550 Maranello.

Imola Motorsports 997 Turbo

IMOLA Motorsports 997 Turbo in front of new shop.

Mid-America CarTell: Any IMOLA projects we should be on the lookout for?

Alex: I’ve been looking forward to shooting their Porsche 997 Turbo with authentic RSR motorsports parts and body panels that they’ve been working on for a while. Can’t wait to see it finished. They’ve also been servicing a bunch more exotics like Aventadors, McLarens, and a slew of Ferraris as well.

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Mid-America CarTell: Alex, most Midwest enthusiasts will never see an Aventador in the flesh,let alone have one captive to photograph. So let me get this straight…you were able to shoot THREE of them at the same damn time! How did that come about?

Alex: I’ve been working with IMOLA for a few years now, occasionally shooting the Aventador that gets stored in their shop since the owner is out of room in his garage. Beyond that, it was just a matter of being introduced to the owners of the two Roadsters by Luis Fraguada who is one of the co-creators of MN C&C, and giving up a Friday evening to make the shoot happen. Both of the Aventador Roadster owners were University of Minnesota alumni so shooting on campus was a natural choice. Making those three cars look good was easy, but the hard part was dodging campus security while finding unique spots to get the right shots. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a life-long car guy who works in the automotive industry and that I spend my free time (as a photographer) as well as racing cars.

Minneapolis Lamborghini Aventador Photo Shoot

Aventador shoot by Alex Bellus

Alex Bellus Lamborghini Aventador Photo Shoot

Aventador times 3!

Mid-America CarTell: What an epic shoot!

Alex: Thanks! It’s always a pleasure to spread the word about the MN car scene and to share my work.

Thanks for the time Alex. We’ll have plenty more from Alex in the coming months. Be sure to follow him on Facebook and check out his work.

*UPDATE* Over the 4th of July holiday weekend the Bleugatti did indeed make it to MN C&C. See the complete photoset on Alex’s blog.

Check out Alex's blog from July Minnesota Cars & Coffee

Check out Alex’s blog from July Minnesota Cars & Coffee

Speedriven Engine Bay

Building a 10 second CL600

Breaking the 10 second mark is feat mostly reserved for drag cars on slicks, light weight turbo imports running ridiculous amounts of boost and super cars with price tags well north of $100k. These local and international legends pull up to the strip like home sweet home and everyone knows that it’s about to go down.

There are always exceptions to the norm and in this case that exception is Chicago native Kamil’s Mercedes CL600. The CL600 is a 4,500 pound Autobahn luxo-cruiser built to get executives from point A to B in superior luxury and pace. There is so much luxury technology stuffed into this heavyweight cruiser that it needs a second consumer battery.

Sterno Photography Mercedes CL600 Spedriven Chicago

Sterno Photography Mercedes CL600 Spedriven Chicago

Pulling up to your local drag strip in a CL600 and you’re sure to be the d-bag outsider that everyone is hoping gets embarrassed. That is unless you’re Kamil and your CL600 looks like it came from the bat cave thanks to paint and vinyl work from Dent Solutions Plus. Still, looking bad ass won’t get all that weight down the line in under 11 seconds. That’s where Speedriven comes into play.

Mercedes CL600 Chicago

CL600 roaming the Chicago streets

Speedriven is a legendary Mercedes v12 twin turbo tuner out of Chicago. Oh, we just assumed you knew the CL600 was equipped with a v12 twin turbo engine.

Automotion Wisconsin Dells Batlle of the Imports Best of Show

Automotion Wisconsin Dells Batlle of the Imports Best of Show

Kamil is serious about speed so he paired his twin turbo v12 with a serious package from Speedriven that includes:

  • Speedriven ECU/TCU
  • Speedriven Intercoolers
  • Speedriven Catless Downpipes
  • Speedriven IC Pump
  • Speedriven Heat Exchanger
  • Speedriven Rear Tank
  • Speedriven Idler Pulleys
  • Speedriven Methanol Kit
  • Speedriven Scorpion Intakes
  • AMG Brake Kit

Kamil is planning on upgrading the turbos later this summer but only after he cracks the 10 second mark. Armed with his knew equipment Kamil strapped the CL600 onto a Mustang Dyno.

Speedriven CL600 on Dyno

Speedriven CL600 on Dyno

He shared the results with us:

1st run was with windshield solvent spraying (in case you did not know the windshield solvent does have methanol) this run was done in 3rd gear.

625RWTQ
533RWHP

2nd run was with the meth system turned off this was done also in 3rd gear

641RWTQ
528RWHP

3rd run was done in 4th gear with the meth system turned on

756RWTQ
527RWHP

“She was getting hot after the runs, I think a little bit more tweaking needs to be done and a dyno tune to come shortly and this car will make some serious power just the way it sits. I’m happy how the numbers are now since they are on the low reading Mustang dyno and TQ in 4th gear pull is amazing, on a dyno jet it would be around 830RWTQ range. “

With the dyno numbers in it was time for Kamil to head to the drag strip. Kamil’s best run on the day was a 11.275 pass. While he didn’t break into the 10’s, he’s on the right path. Before his next track visit Kamil plans on tweaking the car some more to correct what he believes is an issue losing boost and transmission slippage. Next time out he’ll also elect to run with his 16 inch track set up in order to get his 60s down.

CL600 Timeslip

11.275 Timeslip

16 inchers ready for Hoosiers

16 inchers ready for Hoosiers

We’ll continue to monitor Kamil’s quest to break into the 10’s. We’re confident he’ll get there because when Kamil commits to a build he goes all out. Case in point, his last project was to build the most aggressively stanced AMG in the Midwest:

Kamil's Previous SL55

Kamil’s Previous SL55

Kamil's previous ride - SL55 AMG on DPE Wheels

Kamil’s previous ride – SL55 AMG on DPE Wheels

Kamil's SL55 AMG aggressive as it gets on DPE's

Kamil’s SL55 AMG aggressive as it gets on DPE’s

Did that.

Check out his build thread on MBword.

Also visit Sterno Photography’s Facebook page more outstanding automotive photography.

Underground Hero Love to Hate Me

Underground Hero: Love to Hate Me

Mid-America Cartell aims to deliver fresh and original Midwest focused content, however, sometimes exceptions need to be made. Underground Hero: Love to Hate Me is a visually stunning short film by Maiham Media. This masterpiece chronicles Morohoshi-san, an underground hero who earns his living doing business in the gray and celebrates Bosozoku culture. You MUST watch this film and let know us what you think, although Morohoshi-san is too busy hooning around in his Diablo to give a damn what we think.