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The sights and sounds: A car nerd’s reflections on Chrome

10 August 2015


I’ve been looking forward to the 2015 Mothers Chrome Expression Session for a long time now, for several different reasons. One reason was to get my GTO out on track, but I mainly wanted to cruise along to take a close look at what people are doing these days, and to see which unique cars made it out of the shed.

Because I didn’t end up bringing down the ol’ GTO, I had plenty of time to have a good look at a bunch of cars, but where did I start?

After catching up with Cameron Vernon to see which vehicle he brought along, I made a point to track down the New Zealand Performance Car big cheese Marcus Gibson, as well as Mark Strawbridge, the owner of a very good-looking, high-revving 12A-powered Mazda Capella. Like many others, I have been waiting a long time to see this myth in action. Unfortunately, the fun was already over as one of the 12A’s apex seals had bitten the dust, resulting in one very static Mazda. At least the new flares looked good though.

What was really exciting to see, besides more GT-Rs than I could count, was the abundance of rally-bred ’90s machines. Celicas, Evos, and WRXs were everywhere; some completely factory with tasteful OZ Racing wheels, and some morphed into full-on dedicated track or drag weapons.

A special mention must be made to the UMF (Untamed Motorsport) car club. They were by far the most organized group out there, and had the most cars out on track, all of which were sporting various NZ Performance Car kW-club stickers and 10-second club stickers.

UMF also had pretty much every early-generation Mitsubishi Evo in the North Island; I seriously lost count. As I mentioned earlier about OZ Racing wheels on classic-shaped ’90s rally icons, the UMF boys had this look on lockdown. This Evo II was wearing a nice set of what looked to be 16-inch examples, with skid tyres — yes, skid tyres. It was out on the track, but was more frequently seen on the skidpan for some heli action.

As I walked away from the smell of the UMF barbecue, I found myself staring down the nose of this ‘D CORP’ Nissan Skyline R34. To most, it would appear to be a tidy sedan on a nice set of wheels, but what lay under the bonnet was where things got interesting. This R34 received a major transplant thanks to a donor GT-R, several months before the event. All tuned and ready to go, it now outputs just over 300kW at the wheels. New Zealand Performance Car editor Marcus headed out as a passenger to see how it went.

One car that I couldn’t help but take a closer look at was this absolutely immaculate Mazda 323 wagon, powered by a very shiny 13B with an absurdly large single turbo. The attention to detail on the engine was some of the best I’ve seen. I’ll let the pictures do the talking …

Another fun thing to do at Chrome was play spot the feature car. Johnny Lam’s Nissan Silvia S14 was featured as a daily driver several months ago, and he’s been working hard on it ever since. It still sports the same Turbonetics GTK 500 turbo, but it’s now tuned to 290kW at the wheels. And how good do the 18×9.5-inch Enkei RPF1s look?

Tim Johnson’s Mazda RX-2, which we featured here, looks even better in real life — that much is certain. However, seeing it out on the track with the turbo 13B at full noise was something else. After it had stretched its legs, Tim simply parked it in the infield show-and-shine — and it dominated there too.

To prove Skyline GT-R R33 wheels can set almost anything off, here are two photos of an R32 and an R34 equipped with the famous wheel. Which do you prefer?

It felt like everywhere I went at Chrome, I was surrounded by splitters. The race/street fashion is certainly in here in New Zealand, and I’m loving it. This R32 GT-R featured a tasteful splitter up front and wild carbon rear diffuser. Dude, you’ve got a headlight out.

I’m not usually a fan of uncompleted cars, but I couldn’t get enough of this Work Equip’d Nissan Laurel C33. Banged up and ready for action, this Laurel was loving it.

Check out a couple of Drive Your Mates (DYM) laps in Cam Vernon’s 10,000rpm 4AGE Toyota AE86, Matt Seller’s drift car, Tim Johnson’s Mazda RX-2, and much more in this epic clip: 

For more coverage and an even bigger event gallery, click here.