Tag Archives: Another Level Car Show

LUSTR Auto Detail Amazing Results

LUSTR Auto Detail

Learning to properly detail your car is one of the more time consuming and rewarding journeys you embark upon as an auto enthusiast. The journey usually begins with the realization that the swirl marks plaguing your paint finish are the result of improper car washing. From there you do some research on the forums and adopt the two bucket method, maybe try out some waxes, a clay bar and if you are really ambitious, you even graduate to an orbital buffer.

LUSTR Auto Detail Ferrari 458

CLICK HERE to see how LUSTR made this 458 shine

There is pretty much zero possibility that your journey will lead to AutoWeek naming you one of the top 9 detailers in the United States. However, that is exactly where we find Ivan Rajic of LUSTR Auto Detail in Shamburg, Illinois. Ivan went from hobbyist to AutoWeek’s top 9 detailers list. Ivan spent his college years obsessing over perfecting the finish of his jet black 1998 BMW 328i. He spent countless hours researching and experimenting until he became a Jedi of the detail.

LUSTR Auto Detail Lamborghini

CLICK HERE for the write-up on this glass black Murcie

LUSTR Auto Detail was established in 2007 and has been providing the highest-end auto detail services in the Chicagoland area ever since. The mind blowing results of LUSTR’s work has made them a destination shop. The most meticulous car owners travel from all over the country for the LUSTR touch and Ivan finds himself making cross state house calls on the regular. The demand for LUSTR Auto Detail is so high that you should plan on booking your appointment at least a month in advance.

LUSTR Auto Detail Audi R8

CQuartz Finest for the R8, CLICK HERE

While we drool over the work LUSTR does on some of the most beautiful cars in the country and admire the resulting success of Ivan’s dedication to the art; the reason why he is the first detailer to be featured on Mid-America Cartell is because we are so thankful for the education he provides the enthusiasts community.

LUSTR Auto Detail M5

Ivan doesn’t rest on his laurels or put himself on pedestal. Instead of keeping his knowledge to himself, Ivan spends his free time posting educational material on the LUSTR Blog and Detailed Image. whether you are just learning how to properly detail your car or looking to take your game to next level, Ivan’s Detailed Image series is a must read! Check it out HERE.

LUSTR headlight restoration

Headlight restoration? Check it out HERE

We had the opportunity to ask Ivan some questions while he was inspecting some of his clients’ cars at the Another Level Car Show

LUSTR detail Chicago Rally

Chicago Rally Ferrari 458 with the LUSTR touch

Mid-America Cartell: What is the most important advice you would give to the enthusiast who has just graduated from the gas station car wash to DIY?

Ivan: One of the biggest issues such enthusiasts face is the overwhelming availability of detailing products these days.  Every manufacturer has numerous chemicals for washing, polishing, etc., so it’s an extremely hard and many times expensive choice to make to find what works well for you.  We at LUSTR try to minimize this wasted money by recommending products we have used successfully for many years.  I guess at the end of the day my main piece of advice would be to do plenty of studying online and practicing in person, but don’t focus on overpriced products that are coming out every few weeks from various manufacturers.  Rather, stick with the “tried and true” products and methods, which are bound to provide great results for you and your vehicle.

Mid-America Cartell: For the guy just getting started and on a budget of $200, what should they purchase and why?

Ivan: $200 will get you most of the supplies to properly maintain a car, such as wash materials (buckets, grit guards, mitts, towels, wheel cleaners and brushes, etc.) and some microfiber towels, wax and some dressing for tires, trim and similar parts.  This is where everyone should start instead of spending the $400-500+ on machine polishing supplies because even if you do a great job fixing swirl marks by machine, the bigger challenge is maintaining that finish.

LUSTR detailing wheels

CLICK HERE for LUSTR’s recommended products

Mid-America Cartell: Is there one element of washing a car that must be mastered before proceeding?

Ivan: I believe the main thing is simply knowing that washing a car, regardless of products and technique, means that you will eventually cause some swirl marks.  Some garage queens that are rarely washed may not see any noticeable swirl marks for years, whereas daily driven cars, even when washed very meticulously, will see some swirl marks within weeks or months.  The point is not to fret over it and simply do the best job you can because at the end of the day we’re mechanically removing dirt from paint and something is bound to appear in terms of swirl marks.  The biggest tip for washing a car properly is to wash as small of a section as possible to limit the amount of dirt being dragged across the paint, thus minimizing the possibility of swirl marks.

LUSTR Auto Detail paint correction

Find out what causes swirl marks HERE

Mid-America Cartell: Midwest winters are brutal, what advice do you have for maintaining your show season finish during snow season?

Ivan: This is always a tough one for those that daily drive their vehicles.  We in the Midwest seem to be on a completely different detail schedule than states such as California. Pre and post winter details are a must. Protect before winter and clean-up after!  Touchless automatic washes can be of great help during the winter as they help remove a lot of buildup, after which you can do a safe rinseless wash at home and wax the car.  Otherwise, it’s tough for DIY enthusiasts to find an indoor place where they can normally wash their vehicle without worrying about drainage and the freezing weather.  Of course, we are open year round and have many regulars who come to the shop during winter for a wash every 1-2 weeks and wax every 6-8 weeks.

ONR waterless rinse in winter

How to remove snow HERE, waterless rinse HERE

Mid-America Cartell: What is the biggest misconception about detailing a car?

Ivan:  Tough question, as I’ve come to learn of many misconceptions over the years.  I guess the biggest one is that it’s easy to do properly.  Some people can wash a car in 20 minutes, others take 60 and some even 2 hours.  The level of the wash is what differs but the general public somehow believes it’s all the same service.  To go with that it seems that in general people think there’s only ONE kind of detailing, whereas the term detailing spans everything from a quick 2 hour wash & wax type of detail, to a 5 day intensive paint correction, coating application, wheel cleaning, etc.  Many times people are asking us “how much is A DETAIL at LUSTR?” to which I can only reply “anywhere between $30 to $3000+.”  At the end of the day, there are not only many different levels of detailing (wash, wax, clay, polish, etc), but also different levels of the quality and attention to detail within those different services, so saying “I just detailed my car” is almost as vague as saying “I just purchased a car.”

Bad detail fixed by LUSTR Auto Detail

Ever paid for a bad detail. HERE is how to avoid it

Mid-America Cartell: The full paint correction services the you transform cars with has put LUSTR on the map but we understand you are rolling out a new Wash & Wax Saturdays. Fill us in on the details?

Ivan: Absolutely correct.  Current and potential clients normally know us for the 1-2 day intensive correction work we perform but we do offer all kinds of other services, from basic washing, waxing, and headlight restorations to wheel detailing.  This is something we are trying to shed light on a bit more, thus the Wash & Wax Saturdays.  These will be Saturdays scheduled throughout the year and we will only book 1-2 hour appointments for basic wash and wax type services.  It will help to publicize our basic services and allow regulars and new clients alike to book a quick service with us as opposed to waiting a long time due to our normally constrained schedule.

Mid-America Cartell: Anything else in the works that we should be on the lookout for?

Ivan: We are always working on new things behind closed doors so to speak.  We are thrilled to be developing ChicagoDetailing.com, a website that will prove loads of detailing informatrion for enthusiasts. The website will launch in the coming months and along with the digital education we will host regularly scheduled clinics. LUSTR Auto Detail will also be partnering with organization such as Chicago Rally to put together meets, bikini washes and charity events. Lastly, be sure to check out our website for detailing supplies, we will be adding even more products soon and are always happy to answer any questions.

Detailed Ferrari f12

Mid-America Cartell would like to thank Ivan for taking the time to drop detailing knowledge on the enthusiast community. We also thank him for having the cars at the Another Level Car Show looking so damn clean!

We can’t stress it enough, read up on his Detailed Image blog and we’ll be sure to let you know when ChicagoDetail.com goes live. In addition, Ivan will be dropping by Mid-America Cartell on occasion to share more tips on keeping your car sparkly


Another Level Car Show 2014

Last week Mid-America Cartell attended the Another Level Car Show in Schaumburg, Illinois. It was evident to us and everyone in attendance that Another Level is without a doubt one of THE best car shows in the Midwest. This was year four of the show (year two at the current venue after outgrowing the original) and team Another Level made it clear to everyone that they have car shows down to a science. Every element critical to car show success was present; large enough venue, 20 person staff who ensured everything ran smoothly, 15 qualified judges who handed out 50 awards, live DJ, a charitable cause, top notch sponsors, beautiful models and over 3,000 spectators.

While all those elements laid the foundation, it was the amazing line-up of cars that made this show a strong contender for best in the region. The collection of over 600 show cars scored high marks in variety, uniqueness, execution and the large number of high-end cars took this show to Another Level.

Pics or it didn’t happen? We were hoping you would say just that!


Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg was the venue for Another Level.


Our poor attempt at capturing the enormity of the show.


Coalition of exotics? Yes, please!


Twining Aventadors. It was that kind of show.


Which of these equally beautiful cousins would you take home? The R8 won 2nd place exotic.


The Chicago Rally GT-R with a fresh set of HRE’s. Track ready.


This was the line-up next to the JDM Chicago booth.


Adventure Supercars brought some of the cars that they actually let people drive at the track! Learn more.


American muscle was well represented.


1st place BMW.

The Chicago Rally 458 took home firs place exotic. More here.

The Chicago Rally 458 took home firs place exotic. More here.


1st place Mazda goes to Chicago Rally.


This matte red chrome wrap by X-treme Graphics was mind blowing!


Infiniti was well represented. LS swap anyone?


Both versions of the Prior Design SL wide body kits side by side. Gino’s red, Speedriven equipped monster took home 1st place Mercedes.


New body Lexus stanced just right.


What’s a car show without Supra?!?


Group pic.


Very well executed STI.


This twin turbo UGR shut down the show when it showed up.


ABMotoring Rocket Bunny drew a crowd as always.

Another Level Car Show 2nd Place Blue Subaru

The blue one took 2nd place Subaru. Tim Tann Photography.

Teaser shot of the Mid-America Cartell SL65 wide body project. Full shoot coming soon.

Teaser shot of the Mid-America Cartell SL65 wide body project. Full shoot coming soon.


The VapeCity-mobile in a chameleon finish that certainly doesn’t blend in.




1st place Nissan and you can see why.

Another Level Car Show Hayabusa Smart Car

Yes, a Smart Car with a Hayabusa engine. More at CarShowz.com

Another Level Car Show 2nd Place Infiniti

2nd place Infiniti. More at Side Street Tuning.

1st place Toyota went to this purple beauty with color matched SSR wheels

1st place Toyota went to this purple beauty with color matched SSR wheels.


Kamil’s soon to be 1/4 mile record holding CL600 took home 2nd place Mercedes.

2nd place BMW.

2nd place BMW.


2nd place Scion. Check out more roll in shots by Chris Chavez Photography.

Another Level Car Show 2nd Place Mitsubishi

2nd Place Mitsubishi.

Another Level Car Show 1st Place Scion

1st place Scion. This was one built box.


ABMotoring with the 2nd place VW.

Another Level Car Show 1st Place Infiniti

1st Place Infiniti. There was tons of competition in the Infiniti class.

Another Level Car Show 2nd place Lexus

2nd place Lexus. More coverage at CarShowz.com

Another Level Car Show 1st Place Acura

1st place Acura.

Another Level Car Show 1st Place VW

Engine bay of the 1st place VW.

As you can see, it was quite the show and if you missed it this year you better not miss it next year! There were so many cars that I’m 100% positive we missed some great ones. Be sure to check out Another Level’s Facebook page for more images of more cars.  For a complete list of the winning cars click here.

Next weekend Mid-America Cartell will be at Stance Wisconsin Presents Park After Dark and the weekend after at Minnesota Cars & Coffee and Wheels of Italy. Plenty more Midwest car show coverage to come!

Recent Chicago Rally to Starved Rock

Rolling with the Chicago Rally

Half the fun and reward of the lifestyle we live is sharing the enthusiast experience with the like-minded. Every petrol head should have a car crew and every car crew should come together collectively to enhance each individual’s experience.

Chicago Rally is an organization created on that philosophy and they are taking it to the next level. Whether they are organizing spirited runs across the state, showing up deep and showing out at car events across the Midwest or tearing up tracks…this car crew is making their presence felt.

Chicago Rally Ferrari 458 - Audi R8 - Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage getting ready for take off

Chicago Rally Ferrari 458 – Audi R8 – Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage getting ready for take off

Needless to say, Chicago Rally’s founder Khurrum Dhanji is about that life and was happy to tell us more.

Mid-America Car-Tell:  Khurrum, let’s start with the basics…what made you create Chicago Rally and what was your vision?

Khurrum: Chicago Rally was founded on the principle that people should get out and enjoy their cars. Whatever car it may be. I’ve been to many stance events and seen the amount of money people put into their cars, and only drive them to and from events. With all that money spent you should get out and enjoy driving your car not just showing it. After I did further research I found this area doesn’t have a safe and organized outlet to let people “enjoy the drive” so to speak with other like minded petrol heads.

Recent Chicago Rally in action

Recent Chicago Rally in action

Mid-America Car-Tell: The Chicago Rally has an impressive fleet of member cars. What are some of your favorite cars you run with?

Khurrum: To tell you honestly, I’m a car junkie, all makes and models have something to offer the driver, from a Civic to a Corvette, it’s about how the driver feels in their car. And that’s why we all share that passion because we love the feel of getting behind the wheel and driving! With that said would it be wrong to say my favorite is my own? (laughs)

Chicago Rally Choices

Chicago Rally Choices

Mid-America Car-Tell: Speaking of which, of course we have to ask you about that absolutely stunning Grigio Silverstone Ferrari 458, what’s the story on your prancing horse?

Khurrum: It took me a while to come around to the Ferrari brand. I’ve been an Audi loyalist for quite some time and still am. So when it came time for me to purchase my first super car I decided to go with the 5.2L V10 6 speed Audi R8. I have to say to this day it is still one of the best driving cars in the supercar category. After the R8 I test drove the 458 and a LP670-SV. The raw brute force of the SV is what made me feel the 458 was a little too dainty at the time. So buying the Ferrari was after I found all the flaws in the R8, which weren’t many and the SV, which were plentiful. Don’t get me wrong the SV is a gorgeous car but it made up for drivability in looks.

Chicago Rally doesnt segregate - JDM, Italians and Germans welcome!

Khurrum’s Ferrari 458 photoshoot for HRE Wheels

Khurrum:  Driving the 458 is an amazing experience to say the least. The sound emanating from the engine and exhaust elicit an aural pleasure that cant be measured by any other car. The tight crisp handling and responsiveness is by far one of the best in the industry. And the design is subtle yet breathtaking. After a few months behind the wheel, I knew this car was a keeper. And most junkies like myself have a tendency to personalize their toys to make it their own. I started with a Capristo exhaust and headers, which added a distinct F1 note to the cars audio. Later I installed a lowering kit, firmer sway bars, a front vehicle lift and then rounded that all out with a shit ton of Carbon Fiber in the interior, exterior and engine bay. The icing on the cake was a pair of custom ordered Carbon Fiber race seats from Ferrari, which not only look amazing but are extremely comfortable for long rallys.

Chicago Rally Ferrari 458 HRE

Chicago Rally Ferrari 458 HRE photoshoot

Mid-America Car-Tell: One thing that truly stands out about Chicago Rally is that you will always find them at track days pushing the limit of cars that are normally reserved for garage queen duty. Khurrum, tell us about Chicago Rally track days?

Khurrum:  As we have a passion for driving we want our participants to be able to push the limits of their cars in a safe and controlled environment. What better way than to do that on the track. We offer expert instructors during track days to get you going while on the track and off the track. Having an instructor on my first track day years back was a blessing. Having someone show you the line of the track is priceless. Our instructors are available with every track day you sign up for with Chicago Rally at no extra cost. This is a service CR provides to its participants at no additional cost.  Our remaining track day schedule is listed here.

Chicago Rally Nissan GT-R ADV.1

Chicago Rally Nissan GT-R ADV.1 Track Weapon

Mid-America Car-Tell: What events and shows are you most looking forward to this season? Where will we find Chicago Rally?

Khurrum:  We will be Import Tuner Fest in Toronto Canada, and Another Level Car show, which we are sponsoring. This years Another Level is not to be missed as its only getting bigger and better year after year.

Mid-America Car-Tell: You guys don’t appear at all to have an elitist attitude or segregate by auto badge. Can enthusiasts of all styles get down with the Chicago Rally? Where can we learn more?

Khurrum:  That’s what has made me shy away for participating in other Rally’s. I’ve always felt that no matter what you drive you belong ’cause in the end it’s not about what you drive but how you drive. I’ve seen Miata’s put Ferrari’s to shame on the track. So it really isn’t about what you drive, we are all apart of this because of a common passion and that is cars!

Chicago Rally doesnt segregate - JDM, Italians and Germans welcome!

Chicago Rally doesn’t segregate – JDM, Italians and Germans welcome!

Khurrum: We will have one major multi state Rally next year which we will release details on late fall early winter. There will only be 50 spots available for this particular rally and they are sure to fill up fast. But we have a few more free local runs to Galena, Lake Geneva, and Straved Rock still on the calendar and there is no limit to cars on those. So stay tuned to our Facebook page for details.

Thanks Khurrum! Mid-America Car-Tell will have tons more with Chicago Rally this season. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and check out their website.