Inside the Business: Hawk Eye

Oct 4, 2010

When RealWheels Corp. was contacted in early January about being part of another Chicago International Auto Show, the company never imagined how lucky the timing would be.

The Northern Illinois/Indiana Chevy Dealers had big plans for the Chicago show. The dealers had a special advertising arrangement with two of the NHL Chicago Blackhawks’ players, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. And the local dealer group decided to generate leads at the show by giving away a new Camaro.

RealWheels’ project team, known as Team REAL, likes to specialize in “themed” vehicle projects, such as its Maui Jim “Cool Shades” 700hp Camaro and the rock ‘n’ roll themed truck created with local rock legend Cheap Trick. So its team leader, Jhan Dolphin, contacts the dealer group and suggested that he be allowed to design and build the hockey-themed Chicago Blackhawks edition car to be used as the giveaway promotion.

“With only two weeks remaining before the opening of the show, part of me was very nervous of actually getting the go-ahead,” Dolphin said. “I knew they were serious about moving forward when a brand new 2010 red Camaro arrived at our facility less than 24 hours later.”

“Based on the budget that we had to work with, it would have been easy to simply wrap the vehicle in an attractive (Blackhawks’ related) graphic, tint the windows and add some custom wheels. But, that’s what everyone expected.”

Dolphin and the rest of the project team wanted the car to appeal as much to the car-enthusiast as it would appeal to the hockey fan.

The factory color (Victory Red) of the new Camaro was a perfect match to the Chicago Blackhawk’s logo.For painting, the team turned to Estrada Customs because they knew Fabian Estrada’s attention to detail and ability to get the job done on time was crucial.

Black, hockey-style stripes were added to the side of the car, the center of the hood and a rear-deck spoiler from MPD-1. GWG Wheels offered a set of 20″ black Kibo rims with red accents. An aggressive exhaust note and a new air intake were provided by SLP Performance.

Blackhawk logos were added as vinyl graphics, using a full-color logo on each hockey stripe and a large frosted logo in the center of the hood. RealWheels added its stainless steel grille replacement kit, side vent trim and rear fascia, plus a solid billet fuel door machined to include the Blackhawks’ logo.

An upgraded black-and-red interior came courtesy of Katzkin Leather that includes a retro-style Blackhawks’ logo embroidered into each headrest. RealWheels added its solid billet pedal set, shift knob and a custom set of door sills machined with the team’s name to complete the custom interior.