James England puts his spin on a modern day classic
Words & Images // Jordan Leist
Plenty of people know the name Proshine but not many people actually know my mate’s name – James England is the name behind the name. Proshine is his business that is dedicated to providing top quality automotive detailing and white walling services. His reputation precedes him, as does his immaculately prepared VK Group A replica. Never one to be shy, James loves lapping the car with mates, hitting every cruise and also making regular attendances at all the big events. If you have issue one of FORGED you would have seen one of his other cruisers – his cool as, candy red Toyota Crown that wears huge wire wheels and a trick airbag system.
I met James a few years back now when I first shot this exact car, but mind you, it wasn’t anywhere near as good as this. It wears the same colour and that is where the similarities end. During the course of the rebuild, James kept me up to date with the progress of the VK. The most critical part of the whole process for him was doing as much of the work on the car as possible. As each photo came through to my phone I could tell that he was mighty proud of how the car was coming together. In his one car garage he was creating something pretty damn special. I must admit, for the average person, it would be hard to spend a whole day working on cars to then head home and out to the garage to play around for all hours on your own car. For James though, it was like his reward for all of his work during the day.
The rebuild may have been inspired but how it all came about was not so romantic. James popped the engine at Motorvation about three years ago so the donk was ripped out and as the car sat dormant for a period of time he had some thinking to do. “I only intended to do the bay. Clean things right up in there when the motor was out and just making it much neater. It was a dog’s breakfast so it had to be done. I knew I was off for a trip to the USA with fiancé Jess for an extended period of time so I left the car in the capable hands of my best mate Mitch and asked him to spray the bay,” explained James. Unbeknown to James, young Mitch had a whole other plan in mind. James is the type of guy to bend over backwards to do the ‘righty’ by people – he continually goes out of his way to not only help his mates but also his customers, so this time around it was his time to get rewarded. Mitch decided to surprise James by doing the whole car, inside and out. He worked over the panels, got the car arrow straight and then laid o plenty of the original Formula Blue hue.
“To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I never expected anything like that in a million years. I was so thankful. The car looked amazing and the bay looked out of this world. All of my hard work paid off in there,” said James. Before James had left for the States, he had gone the whole hog on the bay – the rails were boxed in; the strut tops modified, all the factory holes were removed and the welds were smoothed over and the battery was relocated so the bay could be symmetrical. The final piece of the puzzle was the modified radiator support and adjoining panels. James had another ace up his sleeve that he had been tossing about for a while. “I have always wanted to paint an entire engine gloss black. Plenty of people have black parts here and there but I had never seen an entire engine done before. This sort of became the catalyst for the entire black theme on the car – black wheels, black interior, black decals and of course the black engine. Quite simply, if it wasn’t black or blue I didn’t want to know about it,” laughed James.
James smoothed the parts himself, prepped them and even painted it all before reassembling the motor himself. Yep, he made it look all Hollywood and then had the balls to complete the whole deal. The 355ci Holden stroker is kitted out with a Harrop crank, H-beam SCAT rods and Arias 10.75:1 pistons. A pair of VN heads have been given a new lease on life with some mild port work to allow the motor to breathe a little easier and talking about breathing, the car features a 3-inch exhaust with Pacemaker headers. A Torque Power manifold replaced the old Harrop version and it now wears a 750cfm carby that just noses its way out of the bonnet. Backing up the Holden donk is a fully manualised Trimatic box with a 4,500rpm Dominator converter. A 4.44 equipped Salisbury finishes off the driveline nicely. Tucked in behind those bathed in black, 19-inch HDT Aero wheels are Koni shocks, King springs and the factory brakes.
Completing the black theme is the exquisite looking interior. With the paint done and the bay sorted James knew it would be sacrilege to leave the abominable factory green interior in the car – anyway, as everyone’s mother has told them, blue and green is not meant to be seen! Taking inspiration from the latest VE Blue Meanie effort from Holden, James thought that he would modernise the seats by adorning them with a diamond style pattern with double stitching. The same design element was employed to the door trims and around the shifter too. To complete the package, James pulled the dash out and worked his magic. He created a custom fascia for it, removing the ‘80s digital stuff and replacing it all with Autometer gauges that glow red. He also had to paint the whole kit and caboodle along with other bundle of parts that were left that god awful green. The process he used is a bit of a laughing point amongst his close friends but it got the job done and the whole cabin now looks 100-percent better!
After completing ninety-percent of the work himself, and seeing all of his ideas come together after the two-year build, the icing of the cake was cracking the Third Place Best Street Machine Sedan ‘71 award at this year’s Perth Street Machine and Hot Rod spectacular. “I was blown away. I don’t attend shows for trophies but it was exceptionally nice to have all of my hard work recognised by the judges. I was also stoked that lots of people came up and spoke to me about the car and loved what I had done. Even the older guys liked the car and that surprised me. I certainly did feel proud walking away after that weekend,” he told FORGED. From my point of view, the two cars are chalk and cheese. When he first bought the car it was decent and did the job, now, it is immaculate and really executed well. The black theme works and the car looks amazing rolling on the road. I have to say young James, you did a fantastic job and I am proud to have your car in the magazine.