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MotorTrend talks to Chester and Mike about their customized Honda Civic Si Coupe, Chester’s personal rides which are a 2011′s Honda Insight and a 2009′s Porsche Panamera.
Quick Stats: Chester Bennington, lead singer, Linkin Park
Daily Driver: Honda Insight (Chester’s rating: 10 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: see below
Favorite road trip: Washington to California
Car he learned to drive in: Isuzu Trooper
First car bought: 1996 Hyundai AccentAs part of the 2012 Honda Civic Tour, Linkin Park customized a Honda Civic Si Coupe and a Honda CBR250R for two lucky fans. You can register to win one of the two Hondas online or at Incubus and Mutemath tour stops this summer, and the winners will be announced the first week of December.
Motor Trend spoke to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda about the prizes and Bennington’s own personal rides backstage at the House of Blues on the famed Sunset Strip, where the rides were on display.
This customized Honda Civic Si Coupe features the Honda Factory Performance aero body kit, with front, side, and rear underbody spoilers; 18-inch Konig Deception wheels with orange spokes; and Toyo Proxes Four Plus tires.
The airbrushing, which was done by Santini Paint and Body, has a surprising design inspiration. “It’s really about the album cover for ‘Living Things.’ The cover is done in such a way that we basically scanned the band in 3-D,” Shinoda says. “We work really hard to make stuff that makes fans excited, something that really wows them. I think few people know that the cover album is actually Chester. It’s this exploding mass of ash and cinder, but before it was all that, it looked like him.”
“So because the album cover is so cool, we wanted to find a way to replicate that on the vehicle, and you can’t just slap it on there — you have to find a way to reinvent it,” says Shinoda, a graphic designer with a degree from Pasadena’s prestigious Art Center College of Design. “This is really dark, there’s this redness coming out. What was crazy about it, the paint, the design of it was all done by hand. The detail this guy got, with I assume airbrushing, is really, really crazy.”The cover of the new album “Living Things,” which debuted at the top of the charts in June, is built around the idea of shedding skin and revealing the inner core of energy. The design on the customized Civic also suggests the illusion of a car breaking out of a cocoon, with fragments flying off the surface as the car frees itself.
As for the tour vehicles, the band is always trying to be environmentally conscious, so the vehicles use biodiesel. “There are a few of the vehicles that can’t be, but the vast majority of the trucks and buses are going to be biodiesel,” Shinoda says.
Daily Driver: 2011 Honda Insight
Bennington’s daily driver is the 2011 Honda Insight hybrid, which he rates a perfect 10.
“I love the Insight because one, it’s really inexpensive, and two, it’s like a game because you earn these digital trophies for driving more eco-friendly,” he says. “So my goal is to earn the full leaf and be the champion of good driving.”
In terms of fuel efficiency, the Insight is the antithesis of his former car, a Jeep. “I love it because it’s easy to drive. I put on the Eco button and when I stop the car at a stoplight, if I drive properly, it turns the engine off as I’m sitting there, then I can drive off,” he says. “I’ve got it up to almost 41 mpg. I drove that car all over the place and it costs me probably $50 a month to drive that car. If I drive it every day to work, it’s probably a little more than that, but compared to when I had my Jeep, when the gas prices went crazy, it was $200 a week.”
2009 Porsche Panamera
While the Insight is his daily driver, Bennington’s other ride is a 2009 Porsche Panamera. “I got the Panamera the first year it came out. That’s my favorite car,” he says, rating it an off-the-charts 100.
“I fucking love that car!” Bennington says. “Absolutely 100 percent. That car is the dopest. … It has a lot of power [and it's beautiful.] What isn’t to like about it?”
He also likes is the Panamera’s interior. “I can actually put a bunch of people in there. I can put four people really comfortably. I can put the seats down, throw two or three bags of clubs in there and go golfing, or throw whatever I want in there.”
Car he learned to drive in Bennington learned how to drive outside Phoenix, where he grew up. “I learned how to drive stick in my dad’s Isuzu Trooper. We would go out in the boondocks. I did most of my learning outside of the municipal areas, where people were actually driving around,” Bennington says. “My dad trained me in the desert, where I couldn’t hurt anybody but the car.”
First car bought ”The first car I bought was a Hyundai Accent,” Bennington says. Shinoda asks, “Was that the blue one?” Bennington replies, “Well, my very first car was given to me by my sister, which was a 1980s Subaru that had like 300,000 miles on it. But the first one I bought was a little white 1996 Hyundai Accent.”
Favorite road trip Bennington’s favorite road trip is the drive from Washington state to San Francisco. “It’s probably the best drive in the United States,” he says. “Beautiful. It’s absolutely stunning.”