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Old 05-16-2016, 05:07 PM   #1
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How it's like to own FR-S/BRZ in Chicago area

I'll be moving to Chicago later this year. I've been researching on what car to get, but really can't find any car that I want to (or don't mind to) replace my '13 FR-S with. So, I'm considering to ship my car there. Can't make up my mind. So, I got some questions for people who own Fr-S/BRZ there. I'll be at Schaumburg/Arlington Heights area. Will hardly ever be going to the middle of Chicago area unless I really have to.

1) I visited there earlier this month. I was surprised to see most of the cars there are mid size sedans. I was there for 1 week and drove over 300 miles. I only saw 1 FR-S, 1 BRZ, 1 '16 Camaro V8, 1 3rd gen Miata, and that's it for sports car. Here in Hawaii, there are lots of sports cars along with trucks, truck based SUVs, and luxury cars. So, pretty much, whatever car you drive, you wouldn't stand out. I started to wonder, if the sports cars are so rare, I'm worried that people might try to race with me. I've owned FR-S for 4 years, and that didn't happen even once.

2) I'm not so worried about Winter driving, because people who live there all told me no one even gets Winter tires. It's drivable with all season tires through out the year. Is this true for Fr-S/BRZ with stock tires? Is this still true for summer tires if I decide to get one later (I need to replace my tires soon)?

3) This might be a weird question, but what would people think of the people who drives FR-S/BRZ? Stereotype thing. I'm a 38 year old married man with 5 year old son. I'll be dropping off and picking up my son from school. Will people think I'm crazy or weird? Would that possibly cause people to think weird about my son too? I only lived in Hawaii. I don't have much idea of what people think about things on the mainland.

Answers to these questions will help me decide whether to ship my car or not. It will cost me over $2k to ship it to Chicago. Another way is to ship it to LA for $500 and then drive it over 2k miles to Chicago (36 hours without traffic according to Google map.).
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Old 05-16-2016, 05:42 PM   #2
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Hey there! As someone else who moved from a much warmer climate (Arizona) to Chicagoland, I'm sorry and I feel your pain. haha

I moved here owning a 4Runner, and then sold it to purchase my FR-S. I say keep the car, and here are my insights on your concerns.

1) Illinois actually has a pretty large population of sports cars, and quite a few FRS's/BRZ's. I'm an admin for the Upper Midwest FR-S/BRZ group on Facebook, and we have a pretty strong following. There's also a Chi-Town 86 group with pretty much all the same members, although it's focus more on owners in the city actually. Illinois is centrally located in one of the best places in the country for any sports car/motorsports enthusiast. There are lots of race track within a 1-4 hour drive from where you will be living, and a very strong grassroots motorsports scene. There are some very competitive autocrossers in both the Milwaukee and Chicago regions, and tons of track day events. You won't be lonely here! That being said, there are plenty of immature ricers here too, and some idiots may try to race you. I've had it happen maybe once in almost two years of ownership, you just have to ignore them.

2) Absolutely get a spare set of wheels with winter tires. There's no better option, and in my opinion running any other sort of tire isn't an option at all. There are plenty of used setups for sale if you don't want to buy new, but a good winter setup comes pretty cheap. I bought a set of Bugeye WRX wheels for $200 and put some 205/55/16 Blizzak WS-80s on them, and it handles awesome in the winter. Does pretty well at ice racing on frozen lakes too



3) I've had very positive interactions with people around here. If it's a non-person approaching me at a gas station, they usually just compliment me on my car and ask me how I like it. If it's another enthusiast, they usually ask me how I like the car and go on about how they had considering buying one. I think you may see a bit of the same stereotypes that generally come around these cars, but that'll be the case anywhere. Most "normal" people don't even know what these cars are, and will make their own assumptions of you based on their opinion of sports car owners in general. haha

I say you keep it! Unless you want the excuse to buy a new and/or different car. haha But as for your concerns, I wouldn't let them deter you from bringing the FR-S.

If you're on Facebook, join the Upper Midwest FR-S / BRZ / FT-86 Owners group. We're a very friendly group and always happy to welcome new people to the area! Lots of us are pretty active in autocross and HPDEs, so if that's your thing or something you're interested in we're more than happy to offer advice and help out.

Welcome! (Go buy a GOOD winter coat! haha)
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:30 AM   #3
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Great groups to join:

facebook.com/groups/uwmfrsbrz/

facebook.com/groups/chitownsubarus/

facebook.com/groups/chitownsubies/
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:57 AM   #4
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Incoming wall of text.


1. I've owned the car for a little over a year now and last week was the first time I had anyone rev and try to race me. In the same night I had an old civic rev at me leaving a taco bell and then a g35 and 350z trying to get me to do pulls with them from the stop lights on 64/North Ave. This was all while it was raining like crazy and the 350 couldn't get traction and almost slid into the g35 twice. Other than that I just drive normally and don't get much attention from racers or cops


2. Get winter tires. Don't think about it, just do it. The stock primacy tires are absolutely terrible in cold and snow and even pretty bad if the roads are clear but the temps are low ~20*f.
I tried to go through my first winter with the car thinking I was careful enough and wouldn't need winter tires....Driving was nerve racking and you never felt like you had control of the car. I ended up going into a snow bank to avoid an accident and messed up my front bumper and some other plastic parts. After messing that up I got winter tires and my only regret is not getting them sooner(Ended up paying for snow tires and a new bumper/misc instead of just paying for the tires ). After switching to the blizzaks driving in the snow was a blast, I would go out during the storms purely to mess around in parking lots.


3. All the kids would probably think your car is cool. You will probably get a mixed bag of other adults who think midlife crisis and some who like the car. Out of all the things to worry about I wouldn't let this be your deciding factor.


PS. Get winter tires
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Old 05-17-2016, 09:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. That helped a lot.

Those encounters once a year or two won't be a problem. I was worried that it would happen weekly, or even daily.

I currently have stock rims with the original tires. I will probably go with these, and once the Winter comes, I'll get Winter tires on the stock rims. Once the Winter is over, I'll get a whole new set of 18" ones, so I can keep 2 sets. Gives me a valid reason to buy a set of nice rims.

How people think of sounds like the same as here. I was just wondering if there is anything I wouldn't expect. Something I wouldn't be able to think of unless I live there for a while. Nothing unexpected here, which is good.

Can't wait to move there. How soon I can move depends on how soon my current house sells. Putting it on market next week.
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Old 05-17-2016, 09:10 PM   #6
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Winter tire season for me is November through mid April.

I also happen to avoid driving the car from November through April... however, I still put the winter tires on just in case. It's not just for my safety, but the safety of those around me - with a little one in the car, it's an easy expense to justify.

Also, don't cheap out on the winter tires - I make the drive from the city all the way up to Waukegan Tire to get Nokian winters for my wife's car (which is the one that gets driven a lot... neither of us drive to work, but groceries and the gym...)

Also, if you're ever heading into the city, public transportation is pretty good here! It won't get you everywhere, but I commuted from the far north suburbs for 9 years. It's sooo much nicer than driving - especially in the winter! I did have to drive to the station. Now I walk.

Welcome to town.
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:53 PM   #7
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Wait,you're moving from Hawaii to Chicago?! You nuts or what?!

I'll echo what others have said,GET WINTER TIRES!

Hell,get a set of steelies or what I did was get a set of stock '03 impreza wheels with Winterforce tires on them.Best $200 I've spent on this car so far.
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:08 PM   #8
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Hello,

I live in the northside and drive to downtown a lot (work), I have never had anyone try to race me in my life, haha. I used to own a bugeye WRX, and got the BRZ last September. I have had ricer civics rev their engines, but while they were in oncoming traffic standing still. I have seen the ricer Hondas go at it on the highway a couple of times, but that's just them.

2. Winter tires are a must! I bought a basically new set for $250 and went through this past winter without a hiccup. Once spring hit I put my summer tires on and about a month ago it actually snowed a little bit, not even any accumulation occurred, but I was sliding and was so nervous the whole time, it was so incredibly dangerous..

3. I have had multiple compliments from older people with this car, never anything bad ever. I'm in my mid twenties, though. I think this just depends on if you have any mods done to the car imo, if you have a crazy loud exhaust and stickers/ricer things done, then you will get the bad attention. If you have a stock/clean looking car, then I don't see how anyone could hate on this car

I definitely agree with you on not really seeing any sports cars. I do when I'm downtown at night, but that's a given with people going out and driving around in their super nice cars. I think this has to do more with sports cars being more impractical than sedans since it's a populated city. Where I live it's only modded out hondas that are around, I kind of rarely see BRZ/FRS's here.
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Th3rdSun View Post
Wait,you're moving from Hawaii to Chicago?! You nuts or what?!
Here are some things that Hawaii was ranked "worst" in the nation:
State with the most traffic. (LA is the city with most traffic, but not a state. Honolulu is #3.)
State with the most road rage.
State with the worst schools.
Highest cost of living.
Worst state to make a living.
Worst state to run a business.

Others that are not worst:
6th congested.
3rd worst for retirees.
Homeless are increasing exponentially. The whole city is their bathroom.
Vog has been really bad since 2008.

I think 2002 was the peak for being paradise. Then the land value exploded. Then the vog started in 2008. Some of the homeless are homeless not because of their fault. They truly can't afford to live in a proper place even if they work full time. An example, my friend graduated 4 year college and works for the state. He gets paid $50k a year. That's not enough to live on his own... With $50k a year of income, his take home after tax is $2800 a month. I have a condo unit in Waikiki that I'm renting out. It's 50 years old, 600 sqft, has one reserved parking stall. I'm renting it out for $2800 a month. You can imagine how bad it is. The best he can do is to live in a bed room of someone's house. He's not living in a one bed room unit. He's living in a bed room of a house.

Anyways, I should stop. I can keep going. There are too much to talk about...
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Old 05-18-2016, 04:15 PM   #10
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Used rims with used Winter tires are starting to sound good. I probably will take that route instead. I'll start looking for them as soon as I move there and keep it in the garage.

The only things my car has is the Greddy Supreme SP exhaust and 35% tint. So, I think I'll be fine there.

Come to think of it, I've never seen any modified cars while I was there for a week. Maybe I haven't seen much because I never drove at night. I probably won't be driving at night even when I move there too. I drive at night about once a month now.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:36 AM   #11
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Yeah, be cautious about putting summer tires back on too early. I had a track day in mid-April and this happened.



Driving on a race track while there's a snow flurry is definitely a unique experience. My ZII Star Specs handled the cold surprisingly well though, I only spun once! lol
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigh-on-Rice View Post
Here are some things that Hawaii was ranked "worst" in the nation:
State with the most traffic. (LA is the city with most traffic, but not a state. Honolulu is #3.)
State with the most road rage.
State with the worst schools.
Highest cost of living.
Worst state to make a living.
Worst state to run a business.

Others that are not worst:
6th congested.
3rd worst for retirees.
Homeless are increasing exponentially. The whole city is their bathroom.
Vog has been really bad since 2008.

I think 2002 was the peak for being paradise. Then the land value exploded. Then the vog started in 2008. Some of the homeless are homeless not because of their fault. They truly can't afford to live in a proper place even if they work full time. An example, my friend graduated 4 year college and works for the state. He gets paid $50k a year. That's not enough to live on his own... With $50k a year of income, his take home after tax is $2800 a month. I have a condo unit in Waikiki that I'm renting out. It's 50 years old, 600 sqft, has one reserved parking stall. I'm renting it out for $2800 a month. You can imagine how bad it is. The best he can do is to live in a bed room of someone's house. He's not living in a one bed room unit. He's living in a bed room of a house.

Anyways, I should stop. I can keep going. There are too much to talk about...
Its great to see other new-comers here! I am in from San Jose, CA myself - for many of the same reasons: Job offer I could not turn down and much more manageable cost of living.

I have never actually **lived** through a winter before...this should be fun with a brand new FR-S and summer tires




Hope to see Chicago folks at SCCA PDX events!
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:21 PM   #13
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I have never actually **lived** through a winter before...this should be fun with a brand new FR-S and summer tires




Hope to see Chicago folks at SCCA PDX events!
You're definitely going to want a spare set of wheels with winter tires. The summer tires turn into hockey pucks and have absolutely zero grip in the winter. I'm an Arizona transplant and got my crash course in winter driving with a RWD 4Runner on all-seasons. It did decent enough, but the FR-S with winters is worlds better. I switched back to summers too early one year and couldn't get up the slightly inclined side street my apartment was on. haha

Looking forward to seeing you at the track! If you're on Facebook join the Upper Midwest FR-S/BRZ/FT86 Owners group. A good number of us on there track and/or autox our cars and coordinate going to events together.
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:46 PM   #14
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Finally did it! Wow, it's already been 1/2 year. So much problems and troubles to make this happen, but it's all worth it. So great here. Above is my car with Hawaii license plate next to my wife's RAV4 with Illinois license plate (too much reflection to see it). Now, gotta do something with the tires... :p
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