When’s the last time you thought about Chromies?  Have you ever thought about Chromies?  Do you even know what Chromies are?

Chromies (if you can’t tell from the above photo) are chrome-plated valve stems.  Basically, you replace the black things sticking out of the wheels on your car with these shiny jewels.

Back in the early ’80s, when I was but a lad, I used to routinely steal these from neighborhood cars.  I think they were bigger back in the 80s, because I rarely see them now.  Or maybe it’s because I’m not obsessively looking like I did back then.  I do still look, though.

My life of chromie crime was cut short one afternoon. I could always count on this one guy to always replace his chromies almost immediately after I’d stolen them.  It must have driven him absolutely nuts.  I’m not sure if he baited his trap and then waited for me to make my move, or just by chance stumbled on me twisting a chromie off of the valve stem, but however it happened, he was at the right place at the right time.  I never stole another chromie after that.

At one point, I must have had dozens of chromies.  Way more than I could ever use.  When I was a kid I had an orange Huffy with a sparkly purple banana seat.  It was fucking awesome.  I don’t know whatever happened to that bike.  I moved out of my parents house and left it behind.  Sometime between now and then, the bike was discarded.  Whatever happened to it, you can be damned sure of one thing:  it had chromies on its valve stems.


I’ve had a long succession of cars over the years, but it didn’t occur to me to put chromies on my valve stems until I bought my current ride back in 2009.  The very first thing I did driving home form the car lot was to stop off at the local automotive shop and pick up a pack of chromies.  I bought two sets because I was certain that I’d be dealing with chromie thieves with some frequency.

Well, the chromies are still there.  All four of them.  What’s wrong with kids today?  In doing research (ie. Googling) for this article, I came up with one post of some guy mad about kids stealing his chromies.  That post was written in 2003.  So nobody has taken to the internet to bitch about chromie thieves since 2003?  Kids of today, that’s just simply inexcusable.  Don’t force me to come out of retirement to show you punks how it’s done.  Something tells me the consequences would be a bit harsher than they were when I was ten.

The three chromies features in the photos in this article are all from those golden days of yesteryear, when kids stole chromies and adults, in turn, gave no thought to drunk driving.  It was a more innocent time, when the shiny flash of a chrome-plated valve stem cover on the wheels of a Trans Am was an invitation to a little petty crime and not the last thing a kid saw before being pulled into a van. Though chromies would probably work for that, too, I guess.

These are just three of the infinite variations of chromie.  Each chromie is special and beautiful and, like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same (well, they are, but come on.  You know that snowflake thing is bullshit).

In the words of a wise man:

Magic cylinders
Fiery precious metal
Dance, the gods of air


2 thoughts on “Chromies

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