Harold James of Fairfield, California, has a fast job, but loves the slow lane. By day, as an aircraft technician, he precisely tunes million-dollar jet engines that’ll produce 40,000 lbs of thrust in mere seconds at Travis Air Force Base.
With that said, we could say that Harold’s quite qualified to tinker around the garage installing the badge of pride and what may become one of the most prolific lowrides in Northern California. Experience comes after building more than one car; most builders familiar to readers who flip through LRM had at least two or three by the time that they’ve built their finest creation. Harold himself is no newcomer to the cruising sport as he’s tuned rides like a classic ’72 Chevy Impala, the much-sought-after ’76 Chevy Monte Carlo, a ’77 Buick Regal called “Funky ’77” and now this latest red ride to spin some heads.
The credit list is pretty impressive, too, with champion builders having a hand in the convertible’s required customization. Steve Santos of Tekni Color (Fairfield) sprayed the ride with gleam and glossy House of Kolor candies, while creative muralist “Medicine Man” (San Leandro, California) sketched out a Hawaiian girl and tiki head theme, then pulled no punches applying his trademark style.
You may remember the father and son team of Leroy and Kenny Gonzales with their ’84 Chevy Stepside, “Punch ’84.” Their shop based in Turlock, California, was responsible for special chassis work such as the stainless steel firewall, frame molding, the exhaust system and molded A-arms and trailing-arms. Keeping in line with quality control are upholstery professionals Gary and Kurt Gardener (Vacaville, California) who did the tweed installation. Paint on top and chrome on the bottom is the normal look, and Electro Forming (Richmond, California) got the call for their dipping expertise.
“Hawaiian Punch” was named because Harold’s wife, Kathy, is from the Aloha State. Though it may seem like Harold and Kathy are traveling in the fast lane maintaining freaky fast jet engines and cruising topless with the trey laid low, one thing’s for sure, the competition will be looking at grass skirts with more respect. “Punchy” would be proud.
Hawaiian PunchOwner: Harold and Kathy James
Vehicle: ’63 Chevrolet Impala convertible
City/State: Fairfield, California
Club: Low Conspiracy C.C.
Engine/Drivetrain: A candy painted ’63 Chevy 283-c.i.d. engine breathes through a high-tech low-profile air cleaner on top of a 4-bbl. Edelbrock carburetor and polished manifold, with a Mallory ignition and sparkplug system. Inner tuning includes an RV cam and a double-roller timing chain, while on the outside, the engine features a stainless steel coolant transfer tube, and red and silver wire looms as dress-up. An automatic Powerglide transmission makes the shifting way easy.
Body/Paint: Professional painter Steve Santos of Tekni Color (Fairfield) laid on one of the sickest paint jobs that we’ve ever seen because the detail in the pattern work literally captures your eyes and grips your attention. Creative muralist “Medicine Man” (San Leandro, California) punched out a Hawaiian girl and tiki head theme. Adding to the style and luster was independent pinstriper Rory (Dublin, California) with the tip of his swirling brush.
Interior: Looking at the sitting situation is easy once Harold lowers the Stayfast canvas ragtop revealing a totally plush and sexy setup thanks to upholstery professionals Gary and Kurt Gardener (Vacaville, California). The red, yellow and orange tweed upholstery matches the paint patterns. Immediately, you’re hit with visuals such as tweed visors, painted dash, GT woodgrain steering wheel, custom-cut mirror trim, full-length center console and swivel bucket seats.
Sound System: You know where the head unit is located, but the amps and speakers are hidden away. Cruising fellow Pablo Contreras (Vacaville) wired in a Kenwood AM/FM/CD player, Coustic 5.6-inch LCD color monitor, Rockford Fosgate amplifier, 6-inch Infinity midrange speakers and 12-inch Fosgate woofers.
Setup: Kathy’s ride is meant for a simpler flick of the switch. The main hardware supplied by ShowTime Hydraulics takes up the trunk with two pumps (with Marzocchi heads), two dumps, #8 rubber hoses, three 12-volt Optima batteries and console-mounted switches. Keeping the trey steady and not bouncy are 1-ton springs with 6- and 8-inch cylinders (front and rear). Of course, with hydraulics, a frame has to be reinforced, so the back half saw more metal plating and weld smoothing. Additionally, the lower half of the A-arms were molded and engraved as were the trailing arms.
Tires: 5.20 Premium Sportway whitewalls
Wheels: 13-inch triple-gold Dayton