KIA NBA LogoThe crew over at Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA, and it's the Kia Optima that wears the crown as "The Official Vehicle of the NBA." If you've seen the commercials with Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, then you might already know that... or perhaps you've seen the ones with Cleveland Cavaliers' superstar LeBron James rockin' his car of choice, the K900 Luxury Sedan. Either way, Kia sponsors numerous initiatives within the NBA, along with partnering with over a dozen individual teams, one of which happens to be the Chicago Bulls.

A funny thing happened this week here at Rock Father HQ... in true Northern Illinois fashion, the weather shifted from sub-zero temperatures to over 60° practically overnight. With that, "Spring Fever" hit hard, and as over two feet of dirty snow was replaced by mushy, debris-filled dead grass, the sidewalks and driveway was cleared, and outdoor fun was able to begin. It's appropriate that this past week was also National Bubble Week, and for it, the folks at Funrise Toys sent us their new Gazillion Bubbles Bump & Go Bubble Car so that the girls could take it for a test drive. Take a look at the video below...

Right now, we have two Ford F-150 SVT Raptors in our garage. They're both toys, of course, the first being the Step2 ride-on we got last Fall, and now something a little bit smaller - the Road Rippers Piston Thumper Ford F-150 SVT Raptor by Toy State. This is the latest addition to a growing fleet of vehicles from Toy State that we've either purchased or received over the past few years, and this one is a new spin on their lights/sounds/motorized offerings. As the name would indicate, there's some genuine "piston thumping" going on. Check out the "In-Action" Video below, featuring THE ROCK DAUGHTERS (Adalyn and Finley) giving the truck a test drive...

Accelerate the fun at the Hot Wheels Headquarters at MattelShop.comEach year, Mattel produces a limited-edition set of Hot Wheels vehicles that are sold exclusively through Walmart for Easter. Much like the Holiday Hot Rods series that they do,  these bargain-priced diecast rides are generally a one-and-done type of deal. Each store gets a sidekick display or two, and once they're gone, they're gone... and a ton of them end up on third-party resale sites like eBay for significantly higher prices. For 2015, the "Happy Easter" Series contains six cars, each priced at just $0.84 cents each in-store... but the trick is to actually find a whole set... which is where I come in. For the past two years, my girls have received a set, and I already have confirmation that the Easter Bunny will be delivering a set for my little ones this year as well. But there is another full set of six - one that I have here in my possession at Rock Father HQ, and I'm going to give it to one of you. These would make some really cool basket stuffers! Ready for a chance to win?

One of my favorite vehicles from the 2014 Chicago Auto Show was a full-size TONKA Ford F-150, which someone near me bought, because I see it all the time. While it's Funrise Toys that currently produces child-size versions of the legendary TONKA line (under license from Hasbro), Ford has continued to get creative with the brand for real-world applications, and the latest is the Mighty Ford F-750 TONKA, "the ultimate TONKA truck," built on the all-new 2016 Ford F-650/F-750 from Ford’s commercial truck lineup.

Since it's premiere last Fall, Nickelodeon's BLAZE AND THE MONSTER MACHINES has been one of the more surprising hits in educational programming. The high-octane series based on a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curriculum has made it's way into the coveted spot of be a "requested" show here at Rock Father HQ, particularly snagging the attention of 5 ½-year-old Addie. Out of Toy Fair last weekend came news that Mattel would be producing a line of toys through their Fisher-Price division, and tonight I've got your first look at some highlights from the new collection. These will be rolling out to select retailers this May, with a full Nationwide launch to take place this Fall. Stay tuned...

Chicago Auto ShowAttending the media preview days of the just-opened Chicago Auto Show last week, I experienced and photographed hundreds of new vehicles that are all vying for attention - not just from members of the press, but more importantly, from potential drivers. While I have some personal favorites and top picks that will be rolling out here on THE ROCK FATHER in the days ahead, if Instagram is any indicator, I already know what car the public seems most interested in... and it's one from a nameplate that I've mentioned in passing, but have yet to review here on the site: FORD. The 2017 Ford GT Supercar caught the attention of automotive enthusiasts when a blue version made it's debut last month in Detroit, but here in Chicago the twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6 is bringing 600 horsepower excitement to attendees in a striking silver package. That car has quickly become my most-liked Instagram post of all-time thus far. Check it out...

When it comes to radio-controlled vehicles, 2015 is already off to an exciting start with the arrival of the HOT WHEELS R/C High Jump Frenzy vehicle from Toy State. The latest entry into Toy State's growing Hot Wheels line (produced under license from Mattel) actually hit the streets just before Christmas last year, but it's taken a little time to get back up-to-speed here in our state-of-the-art Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ  (our house) to present an accurate review.

THE ROCK FATHER has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser for this post. Opinions and experiences are that of James Zahn . #DropShopAndOil #CollectiveBias

Rockin' The Road with Pennzoil and the Walmart Auto Care Center

While I get to drive and feature a lot of sweet new rides here on THE ROCK FATHER, a big part of our day-to-day is taking care of the ones that we own. My wife and I have a pair of "daily drivers" here at HQ, and the oldest is the one most-often featured when I talk about car care - my rapidly-aging 2005 Scion Xb. While I've come very close to replacing it over these past few years, I do have some sentimental attachment to it, having ordered it brand-new back in 2004 with a bunch of options and add-ons. I've had many adventures in that little car - over 150,000 miles worth - and that places it firmly in the category of being a "high mileage vehicle." One of the most simple things to help keep that car on the road for a few more years is by keeping the oil changed, and the folks at Pennzoil have a "High Mileage Vehicle" version of their conventional motor oil that's specifically designed to help clean out sludge that lesser oils leave behind, while helping to reduce leaks and oil consumption in worn or higher mileage engines. Better yet, I can get my oil changed at the Walmart Auto Center, maximizing my time by getting some shopping done at the same time.

Chicago Auto Show Soon, the world will get to see SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS on the big screen and on the road. Actually, think a 2015 Toyota Sienna minivan, customized to look a giant sponge coming to the Chicago Auto Show.

This “concept car” debuted earlier at the LA Auto Show and was created as part of a Nickelodeon cross-promotion for the upcoming THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER, due in theaters this Friday, February 6.

I'm a huge fan of Kia's excellent new 2016 Sorento, which I reviewed here on THE ROCK FATHER a few weeks back. I'm also a huge fan or Pierce Brosnan - perhaps my favorite Bond - and spent much of the mid-90s pretending to be him while playing GOLDENEYE on N64. What's happened here is that Kia Motors America recently tapped Brosnan for their annual Super Bowl commercial, and with the "Big Game" taking place this weekend, an extended version of the spot has arrived. With the 2016 Kia Sorento being touted as "The Perfect Getaway Vehicle," it's only right that Brosnan looked back to his "action-adventure" days as James Bond when he got pitched the gig, right?

Every so often, beyond the normal realm of traditional vehicles, Mattel releases a fresh batch of Hot Wheels "Character Cars" - concept vehicles inspired by a pop culture franchise. In the past, the Character Cars series has seen MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS, TOY STORY 3, THE MUPPETS, and even SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS get the Hot Wheels treatment - but right now the two big lines are based on STAR WARS (two of which I showcased here) and MARVEL Comics. From the MARVEL assortment comes the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Rocket Raccoon car, featured in a #Toyography post on my social networks last week, and one that I've decided to share here on the site with a little more detail. First, the original photo...

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