NZ Performance Car : Hi, James. Tell us, have you always been a Holden fan, and why?
James: Hey, team. I was always a big Holden fan growing up, but just like a nice car these days. My very first car was a red VL Berlina, which was offered with the RB30E and had a manual box behind it. Even though it went well, I was always envious of the turbo Calais and wanted that kind of chuff, so, some 15 years later, I was able to buy this straight (or so we thought) one from Tauranga.
But it wasn’t as straight as you thought?
Nope. I stripped it down after finding a truckload of rust and sent it over to Jason at Waihi Auto Spray for the huge task of cutting it all out and repairing it. After a full bare-metal respray in slick De Beer white, underseal, and [a] partially smoothed engine bay, it sat in the shed for a year. But that year wasn’t wasted, as it meant [that] I could focus on getting the motor up to scratch.
Speaking of which, what’s been done to it now?
My mates Ryan Padman and Dwain Godsmark gave me a hand to rip the motor and box out, and it was sent to Motor Preparations in Otorohanga for a full reco[ndition], where it also got packed with the forged pistons in anticipation of the boost to come.
We understand that Sinco spent a bit of time under the bonnet, too?
Yeah, Mike at Sinco is a good mate of mine, and I gave him free rein to complete the long block with the simple brief of making a reliable 400hp [298kW]. He suggested running the Holset HRC40RS and constructed the custom twin-scroll manifold around it. They also took care of the cold side with a custom plenum and all the pipework, and a bunch of other bits like the fuel set-up.
Well, you chose the right hands for the job. What did it end up making?
It made 300kW tuned by Dynopower, so I was wrapped. But it’s already gone back to have a bigger cam put in and [to] wind up the boost some more [laughs].
Always more power to be had! Any plans for the car’s future?
Besides the latest upgrades, just [to] drive it and keep taking it out most weekends. It will be kept forever.
We don’t blame ya, James. Cheers for the yarn.