For some reason or other, the South Island knows how to Nissan

I don’t always like blabbing on about a recent trip away, as I’m just like all the rest of you Kiwis who think tooting your own horn is to be left for the Aussies. However, my recent trip to Nelson has to be one of the best trips I’ve had in a long time, and it has to be mentioned. Unlike last year, this trip was a touch more full-on. What this meant was there were plenty more cars to be shot and workshops to be visited; of which I wasn’t at all disappointed with. This year, I managed to convince the boss that an extra day down south was needed, so I was able to fly out Monday night instead of Sunday. It was all about making things less stressful, but it had the reverse effect and, instead, just increased the number of cars photographed; go figure. Thankfully, with the enlisted help of local photographer, and all-round hilarious dude, Mikey Mayers, things were much more achievable during both the show and drag racing, and he even helped out with pedalling the rental car whilst I hung out the back of it shooting rolling shots. 

For some reason or other, the South Island knows how to Nissan. I could’ve spent an entire week down south just shooting the rear-wheel and all-wheel drive sedans and coupes. However, I could only choose a few, and these were my picks of the crop. 

Chevenne Hassan’s Nissan Silvia S15 has been done right. A super-clean exterior, that has just recently had a fresh respray is set off beautifully by the set of brand-new 18-inch three-piece Work Meisters, which have been custom painted in a purple flake. 

Carrying on with the purple theme, Chevenne has painted the engine bay to match, and has painstakingly painted every removable component the same. Although the SR20DET is almost factory, you wouldn’t notice due to just how immaculate everything is. Even the strut towers have been seam-welded for added rigidity. Keep your eyes peeled for the full feature in an upcoming issue of NZ Performance Car magazine

Another standout Nissan down south was Mark David Connell’s Nissan Cefiro A31. This build has been on our radar for some time now, but as a local to Reefton, it has been far from our reach. Mark wanted the Cefiro completed for the show, so I took this as an opportunity to shoot it at its lowest, and cleanest. 

A mix of Japanese street styling and American drift, Mark’s Cefiro was a showstopper. Hundreds took photos of this car at the show, as the paint is faultless and is unique to late-model Toyotas. It also helped that the Cefiro had a nice set of Work VS-KF's, measuring 18x11 inches, and various Origin Labo canards. 

Shooting a herd of Nissan’s wouldn’t be complete without shooting a few GT-Rs, and two stood out to me for a couple of reasons. First off, I first spotted Hadley Winder’s Nissan Skyline GT-R on top of a trailer in Nelson, and after a few phone calls I found out who owned it and arranged a photo shoot time. Although the engine was not too modified, the paintwork was exceptional. Hadley managed to take out the Best Paint award come show time. 

The next R32 GT-R I photographed was a sleeper of sorts, and a true testament to the brutal power that the GT-R is able to produce with a select few bolt-ons and factory internals. Brady Taylor-Jones’s GT-R only sported a set of wide concave wheels with matching tyres to complement the voluptuous GT-R bodylines, but what lay under the hood was what got me excited.

The factory RB26DETT was rid of the twin turbos, in favour of a large Holset HX40 turbo. On E50 fuel, it now puts out 700hp, which is about the limit that he is willing to go without going to forged internals. 

Another Nissan that really got me going down south was James Wilkinson’s Nissan Silvia S13. When I first saw the S13, it was parked in his workshop, tucked away neatly, ready for its next beating. 

James’s uber-slammed S13 is no slouch either, pushing out 320hp to the rear treads, thanks to the usual ball-bearing T28, Z32 airflow meter, and a tune by Brian Ingham at NDT Developments. How good do those Work wheels look?

Last, but not least, was Amy Frazer’s Silvia S15. Amy built her S15 as a slick streeter, and sometimes takes away an award or two come show time. This time around, she took out Best Display in her 300hp-plus S15. 

I did shoot other stuff too, but that’ll be coming in a separate post. Until next time! 

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.