Tag Archives: Alex Bellus

Central Crown Rally 2014

Central Crown Rally: Season Two

On September 20th, fifty enthusiast owned vehicles will depart from downtown Minneapolis for the start of the 2014 Central Crown Rally. This is year two of the Central Crown and the organization promises it will be one of the most extreme lifestyle driving events of 2014. Better yet ALL proceeds go to charity!

Viper SRT 10 wrapped

In authentic rally fashion, the Central Crown will feature highly modified vehicles decked out in livery, first rate accommodations and one hell of party at the finish line. While all of that is certainly exciting, we know the best part is the drive!

Central Crown Rally is taking a very unique and thrilling approach to the rally itself. They shared some of the details with us but not everything because keeping the participants guessing is the name of the game.

Chevy Camaro ZL-1 in Midwest

Mid-America Cartell: Tell us, how does the Central Crown Rally work?

Central Crown: For 2014 the Central Crown rally uses a checkpoint-based route to ensure that all the best roads are hit. We also use the checkpoints to introduce a bit of variety into the 600 miles of driving, offering unique breaks and challenges for our participants that they wouldn’t get if they were out driving on their own. Participants will drive to and from destinations that are slowly revealed throughout the day that will see them consistently having to adjust their perceived routes. The winner will receive the 2014 Central Crown.

Central Crown Minnesota

Mid-America Cartell: So this certainly is a competition? What are the various awards that will be handed out at the award ceremony?

Central Crown: Central Crown involves competition, but we consider it a day of driving and camaraderie above all. It’s about lifestyle. There will be awards at the end and a winner will be crowned, along with several other awards that you may not be expecting. We don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just leave it at that for now—awards will be given, someone will be crowned, and a party will ensue.  

Scion FR-S purple wheels

Mid-America Cartell: The after party sounds like a blast. We hear it is being held at one of the most exclusive night clubs in Chicago, care to share any details?

Central Crown: The after party will be held at The Wit, which is located in the heart of downtown Chicago, famous for the rooftop venue on the 27th floor of the building. Surrounded by skyscrapers on all sides and oblivious to the world below, it’s a party that you won’t find anywhere else in the Midwest. After a long day of driving, it represents the perfect way to unwind; VIP among the social elite.

Car Party at The Wit

Mid-America Cartell: It’s fantastic that ALL proceeds are going to charity, have you guys selected the charity and do you have a specific goal in mind?

Central Crown: The charity we’ve selected is People Serving People. They’re an important organization in Minneapolis dedicated to eradicating child homelessness. We’re impressed by their insistence to take their mission one step further than other organizations—by not only offering short-term help, but taking an approach to rehabilitate through job training, helping people secure education certificates, and setting them on a path to sustain a positive lifestyle.

Cadillac CTS-V Wagon modified

Mid-America Cartell: This is year two of the Central Crown Rally, can you give those just tuning in a recap of year one?

Central Crown: We consider year one to be what you might call a ‘soft opening’ with a relatively small group consisting largely of friends and acquaintances. Learning to throw an event of this magnitude was an important first step in ensuring that we can offer a high-quality experience, so we’re taking what we learned last year and improving on everything—better checkpoints, better cars, more people, and better launch and after parties. Last year we had the time of our lives; this year we’re making it our business to extend that level of enjoyment to everyone.

Infiniti G35 Coupe white wheels

Mid-America Cartell: Are there any cars that you are especially excited to drive alongside?

Central Crown:  Cars are the name of the game in Central Crown—we’re enthusiastic about everything from Detroit to Tokyo to Stuttgart and in between. So while I’d be remiss not to mention the 1600RWHP Ford GT or the W12 Bentley Flying Spur, we don’t play favorites and welcome all kinds of cars and cultures. We love the mindset of cars and all the associative factors—speed, horsepower, handling, but we love the people even more. That’s why we’re throwing the event, and that’s why we’ll keep at it, year after year.

Mid-America Cartell: Why was the Central Crown Rally started?

Central Crown: Central Crown traces its origins back to a childhood love of car culture that has continued to this day. Although there are a lot of car events and clubs in the region, we believe Central Crown is important to the Midwest because it creates a way to connect on a new level with fellow enthusiasts, and offers a unique way to give back to the community in which we live. It’s been important from day one that the rally focus on people, knowing that the love of cars will shine through because it’s something that we’re all passionate about.

Subaru WRX STI new generation

Mid-America Cartell: Is there anything beyond the September rally that you guys have planned? Anything we should be on the lookout for?

Central Crown: We’re currently working with MN Exotics & Supercars as well as MNBMW to put together a lunch cruise that will take place immediately after September’s MN C&C. Beyond that, we make it a point to be a presence at most of the car events throughout the Twin Cities. If you spot us, feel free to come hang out—we love talking shop and meeting new people who share our passion.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 modified

Mid-America Cartell: Is there still time to sign up? What is the deadline, cost and where do we register?

Central Crown: There’s plenty of time to join—check out our website for more details and to sign up. Our Facebook page is also very active, and that’s where you can find the latest team announcements and other interesting updates about the rally and other events. We’re beyond stoked for the event this year, and encourage everyone to check it out—Central Crown is the kind of event that you’ll remember for a very long time.

Big thanks to Casting Call Magazine for providing the amazing photos and beautiful models!

Season two of the Central Crown will be an absolute blast and is much more affordable than similar rallies. Unfortunately the Mid-America Cartell AMG wide body will have to sit this one out. Lucky for us our friend and photographer to the star cars Alex Bellus has us covered. Alex is the official photographer of the 2014 Central Crown and will bring us a full report.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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