The South Island called; Chrome Expression Session answered
Photos: Keegan Clarke-Latham
Just like the good old days of ripping endless mainies with four of your mates packed into the cabin of your first shitter that everyone somehow thought was cool and the crew’s favourite hip-hop CD blasting over factory audio from decades prior, Chrome Expression Session is probably one of the best things you can do with your car without the risk of door-to-door racing or Johnny Law giving you a few extra taxes. With the home-base event in the North Island going five years solid and drawing in upwards of 700 entries in 2018, it was only a matter of time before the calls from the South Island became too much to ignore, so the Chrome party headed southwards to Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna in Christchurch for the inaugural Chrome Expression Session South, which went down 18 May.
We don’t need to sit here and tell you how massive the car scene in the South Island is. Christchurch alone is a swarming mass of automotive goodness, and, when you start to mix in all the lesser-seen gems from the surrounding areas, it becomes a hotbed of quality modified steel that rivals those found in the northern parts of the country.
With the organizers behind Chrome the same as those who previously held the 4&Rotary South Island Champs in the city, it was like the return of a missing piece that the local constituents had been hoping for since its departure — which is undoubtedly why, when it was announced, that entries sold out harder and faster than a ruthless limi-bang outside your local Maccas.
Much like the first incarnation in the north, total entrant numbers far exceeded expectations, with an estimated 300-plus cars by the time all was said and done on the day. With those kinds of figures on the first outing, it won’t be long before they’re tapping on four figures and Ruapuna is packed to capacity. In true Chrome fashion, it wasn’t just the same five chassis entered over and over again; all facets of the community were catered for, from slammed noisemakers like Ryan Van Pelt’s individual throttle body (ITB)–clad 1G-GE X71 wagon, to inch-perfect drift cars such as Alex Morton’s Drift South Development Series round–winning pre-facelift S14 Silvia.
Whether you’re rocking up with a decade-long labour of love or the most budget of seat-time track cars, Chrome — in both islands — promises a solid time. It is best served with a big group of your mates, all doing the same thing, ripe for passenger-seat hopping and front-straight pulls against unsuspecting victims.
Perhaps with a proven format established in the south, we’ll start to see a few northerners heading down country to show us how they party in the warmer lands, and vice versa.
For those of you who couldn’t bear witness to it with your own eyes, we’ve compiled a collection of the best from the day to whet your appetite before next year’s incarnation — see you there!
Above: A former Lendich Construction fleet vehicle in signature CAT mustard yellow, and originally built by oldschool.co.nz member cheater_5, this Datsun 1200 roadster has become well known thanks to its belly-scraping ride height and motivation, an SR20DE
Left: Regular readers will remember this FD RX-7 from ‘Under Construction’. Built by Doyle Lynch on behalf of a mate, it’s powered by an SR20DET heart. The immaculately finished product is a credit to Doyle’s handiwork
Right: Perhaps the cleanest drift car in the south! Chevenne Hassan took out all but one round of the Drift South Development Series this season and gave everyone first-hand experience as to why
Below: Featured back in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 218, Sam Ruddlesden’s supercharged S2000 is now airbagged with an Air Lift–and–BC Gold combo that lays out over a set of Motegi MR136 rollers
Left: Jesse Lopez, the tattooed wonder of the south, rolled through the gates behind the wheel of his latest creation, a big-bodied Nissan Cedric that’s boned, wrapped, and sporting 19×8.5-inch (+20) and 19×9.5-inch (+3) Weds Kranze Cerberus 2s
Right: Wearing a BRE-inspired livery, this R31 Skyline graced the pages of NZ Performance Car with its former owner. Now in the hands of Paul Brooks, the Skyline has a new 325kW RB25 heart filling the engine bay and a full roll cage inside — and it’s done stints at Targa!