TORANA!

PINT-SIZED RUNABOUT, COMPACT FAMILY CAR, MID-SIZED CRUISER AND GENUINE GIANT-KILLER RACE CAR. TORANAS HAVE DONE IT ALL – MEET THE CARS AND THEIR OWNERS.

PHOTOS CRISTIAN BRUNELLI NATHAN JACOBS COVENTRY STUDIOS SHAUN TANNER WORDS DR JOHN WRIGHT GUY ALLEN CLIFF CHAMBERS

TORANA GENERATIONS

PINT-SIZED RUNABOUT, COMPACT FAMILY CAR, MID-SIZED CRUISER AND GENUINE GIANT-KILLER RACE CAR. TORANAS HAVE DONE IT ALL – MEET THE CARS AND THEIR OWNERS.

ICONIC HOLDENS

TORANAS COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES BUT THE A9X AND XU-1 ARE THE STARS

For a car so simply fabulous, it’s somewhat remarkable that the Holden marketing team slipped it onto the market with so little fanfare. Perhaps memories of the 1972 supercars crisis, fuelled by a story by Evan Green in the 25 June 1972 edition of the Sun-Herald, were responsible. Perhaps, too, the shrewd suits were happy for the forthcoming HZ Kingswood/Premier to be widely credited as the first Holden with four-wheel disc brakes.

The A9X, of course, had Mount Panorama as the highlight of its itinerary. Here was a race car with a rego label, while the RTS Kingswoods and Premiers were intended to change the way Australians thought about the brand.

Few cars so visually similar to a previous model could drive so differently as the LX A9X from the LX SS (or the HZ from the HX!). Nominally the A9X remained an LX but in engineering terms it was much closer to the forthcoming UC.

‘A9X’ itself meant nothing. It was just one of a long list of model codes available exclusively to GMH, which got A-prefixes while Chevrolet got Zs – hence Z28. In Holden Speak this car was equipped with the ‘Performance Equipment Package’ (read: Mount Panorama).

Getting GMH’s new Salisbury axle and rear disc brakes under a Torana (just weeks before the HZs made their debut) was a big deal. Essentially, the A9X used the UC floorpan. But the Radial Tuned Suspension was perhaps more valued by customers never planning to drive on a track.

Ray Borrett was the Holden engineer who did most of the work developing RTS for the entire Holden range (beginning with the four-cylinder Sunbird). Borrett went to the US in

A9X MARKET GUIDE

IT IS HARD to be certain just how many genuine A9X Torana Hatchbacks survive but the number is certainly lower than the 100 cars originally built to satisfy demand for Group C racers. A good proportion of the A9X production run did race and managed to survive the experience. Some were returned to road spec, some did not return at all but were perhaps ‘reborn’ using the ID tags of a destroyed vehicle.

These are just some of the questions that must be asked (and hopefully answered) when considering ownership of Holden’s most evocative Torana. The money being sought and paid at present might seem exceptional – most recently a successful auction bid of $250,000 – but today’s offerings are bargains when compared with some from a decade ago. Cars surveyed during 2008 had an average asking/ sale price of $323,000, sliding to around $250,000 in 2011 and drifting even lower until renewed interest sent values for authenticated cars back above $200K.

Considering scarcity, competition kudos and sheer good looks it would be hard to find a better spot on the spectrum of automotive investment to park your spare quarter mil.

1977 as a chassis engineer and the last job he did before he left was the A9X. In an interview he told me: “I took an L34 and the first A9X prototype – if you like – and did all the geometry, bushes, steering rack location and all that sort of stuff.

I got it running, drove it for two days at the proving ground, made a few changes to it, then hopped on the plane and went to the States. But I left the basic specification for the car behind.”

Quite a legacy, as it happens.

Of course, none of this was for public consumption. So, no press release, but an internal memorandum said: During September 1977, Production Option A9X – Performance Vehicle Package – will be introduced as a running change on the above Models. The basic designs are modified versions of the current “SLR”, Four Door Sedan and “SS” Two Door Hatchback Coupe where the 5.0 litre engine option is exercised.

Major external appearance changes include a fibre glass front end panel with integral bumper bar and air dam with air ducts to the front brakes. Wheel opening flares front and rear are attached to existing sheet metal to accommodate wider tyres and wider rear track. Fibre glass spoilers are attached to the rear compartment lid of both Models. Interior changes include new trim design and ‘SLR 5000’ instruments.

“OF COURSE NONE OF THIS WAS FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION”

The power-train comprises the 5.0 litre V8 engine with 4 speed manual transmission and a modified heavy duty rear axle. Revisions to the underbody have been made to accommodate new rear suspension control arm pivots. The front suspension is similar to that used in LH Models with Production Option L34. The

VALUE RANGE A9X HATCH

FAIR $100,000 GOOD $180,000 EXCELLENT $265,000 (Note: concours cars will demand more)

ICONIC HOLDENS - #8 - A9X/XU1

UNCLE PHIL 1977 TORANA A9X TRIBUTE

I ACTUALLY had an original A9X from new, in primrose yellow. It was a fantastic car, but a bit rough to drive, like all these old things.

It was one of a string of local muscle cars I bought new over time, including Phase III, XU-1 and Blue Meanie. This one is a recent purchase and a tribute car built by someone who really knew what they were doing. A lot of very knowledgable people have seen it, and not one has so far picked it as a tribute without being told.

So it has all the good things installed, including an L34-spec engine, close-ratio gearbox, proper Bathurst drop tank – the list goes on. For me. it’s one of the best-looking Australian cars ever made.

Funny thing is it gets more attention that anything else I’ve bought over the years, and that includes some pretty wild-looking gear including a Shelby Mustang.

It’s funny how little things can trip up a good car, though.

The steering wasn’t quite right and it turned out to be a twisted arm. It was something you couldn’t see, but when we pulled it out and measured it, sure enough it was slightly out. With that fixed, it drives beautifully.

Lots of power and just the right gearing.

braking system consists of four wheel, power-assisted disc brakes with dual master cylinder to provide separate hydraulic systems for front and rear brakes. To reduce the weight of the vehicle, certain parts and assemblies, i.e. the console, are deleted as standard equipment or modified, these deleted items will be available as accessories.

Roadgoing cars had to use the ADR27A-compliant and less potent L31 308 V8 but because the L34 was already homologated that’s what Bathurst entrants chose. A Craig Davis electric fan further improved refinement.

As time passes, I increasingly think of the A9X in Hatchback guise as Holden’s version of a Porsche 928S: an utterly focused, rear-wheel drive V8 super coupe. The A9X wasn’t perfect: think foot-operated parking brake, shallow load area, lacklustre dashboard and average finish but it deserves to go down in history as the greatest hot Holden of them all.

LC & LJ XU1

It is now coming up to 30 years since I was given the opportunity by publisher (the late) Geoff Paradise to write a whole magazine on Toranas. This was The History of Torana: from Viva to Victory, and Geoff persuaded Peter Brock to write the introduction. It went like this: TORANA – the name always sounded good to me. Sort of like ‘Corvette’ to the yanks I suppose. And let’s face it, the first version with any potential go was Aussie ingenuity at its best. Cranking what was then a big six into your basic small economy job was a definite chance.

My introduction to Torana was late in 1969. Harry Firth had the mission of making a winner out of the soonto- be-released GTR. The Monaro GTS 350 had just won Bathurst and ‘H’ had dropped a bit of a bombshell to the guys in the Dealer Team saying next year we would be running a six!

Bombshell, indeed! The Monaro GTS 327 and 350 had both beaten their

“AS TIME PASSES I INCREASINGLY THINK OF THE A9X IN HATCHBACK GUISE AS HOLDEN’S PORSCHE 928S”

Falcon GT rivals and many insiders were astonished that Holden would switch from Monaros. But perhaps Harry Firth had a tricky line of thinking that would not have been immediately evident even to those in the know. Brock then made a fascinating observation, correlating the LC GTR XU-1 with his earliest days of motoring: In retrospect I guess Firth figured that since my little Holden 179-powered A30 developed about 247 bhp that this young bloke named Brock may be of some use after all. The Firthery had only just severed links with Ford and undoubtedly had some future product information which he put to good use.

John Bagshaw who had been the go-getting Sales and Marketing Director in that era of bellbottom jeans and Barney’s Shirt (an actual Holden colour named because an engineer called Barney wore a mauve shirt to work one day) – halcyon days of high horsepower, bright colours and nary a hint of what would later be called political correctness – told me in an interview for Heart of the Lion: the 50-year history of Australia’s Holden that the idea of stuffing a six-cylinder engine into the Torana came out of beers at a weekend barbecue.

Revealingly, LC stood for Light Car!

Bagshaw said racing the Torana instead of the Monaro, ‘would cure any problem of overcapitalising a product that was not going to be competitive’: in other words, the 350 GTS was not expected to beat the Falcon GTs a third time.

XU1 MARKET GUIDE

THE XU-1 Torana gridded up in fifth spot by Peter Brock at the 1972 Bathurst 500 really wasn’t given much chance of winning against Ford’s battlehardened GTHO Phase 3. Then it rained and the XU-1 became a legend. In the realms of Australian rallying it was that already, with two national Championships in the bag and two more to come. So why did decades pass before anyone started offering even a decent fraction of the money available for 350 Monaros or Phase 3s? The answer might lie beneath the bonnet. No matter how grunty and gutsy the 3.3-litre with its triple carbs might be, it is still a six-cylinder and this country throbs to the sound of a V8. In 2005, with ‘muscle’ car values beginning to surge, the XU-1 crept past $50,000.

By 2010, as V8 prices crashed, excellent XU-1s hit $80,000 and kept climbing. Today those cars are within touching distance of consistently making $110,000. Look at other six-cylinder Aussie models currently enjoying serious price growth – the ‘Six-Pack’ Chargers – and ask whether a Chrysler at around $200,000 is really going to offer double the value and ‘fun for your mon’ than a Torana with ‘Bathurst Winner’ in its resume?

It seems likely that Firth took all his experience from the Cortina GT500 program and dialled in Brock’s hot Holden sixpack knowhow to mastermind the LC GTR XU-1. The Holden, like the Cortina GT500, got twin fuel tanks with a total capacity of 17 gallons (up seven from the GTR). Firth had given the Cortina large air scoops under the front bumper to direct air onto the brakes and the XU-1 got a spoiler designed to do the same.

Brock continued: Chief mechanic Ian Tate set to work on a GTR Torana (rego KLD-158) by despatching the 161 and installing a 186 which was brought to a mild state of tune. It sported a Speedshop inlet manifold, a mild camshaft which had the same grind as the one in my EJ tow van. In essence, the prototype XU-1 stated life with a healthy 186 with perhaps a few more horses than the first XU-1.

As for the LJ, which used the 3.3-litre six, the original plan had been to equip it with the 308 V8 and three prototypes were built. A V8 XU-1 was being tested by Brock in sports sedan guise. The supercar crisis of mid-1972 put an end to those shenanigans!

Contrary to popular myth the XU-1 V8 was never going to be XU-2. Marc McInnes an engineer on the program says XU-1 was the official code for the triple-carb Torana six-cylinder engine. As for XU-2 it ‘had been assigned to the Bedford truck division. I rescued the paperwork – which hadn’t gone very far – and had XU-2 reassigned to LH.’

The LC started with 160 horsepower, climbing to 180 for the 1971 Bathurst special, while the LJ had 190 packed behind its eggcrate grille and 212 for the Bathurst version with which Peter Brock secured his first Bathurst victory.

“IT SEEMS LIKELY FIRTH TOOK ALL HIS EXPERIENCE AND DIALLED IN BROCK’S HOT HOLDEN”

VALUE RANGE GTR XU1

FAIR $45,000 GOOD $80,000 EXCELLENT $110,000 (Note: concours cars may demand more)

SHARON CHAPMAN 1972 TORANA LJ XU-1

THIS CAR IS very close to Sharon Chapman’s heart. She did the restoration herself, in between working a full time job, and the result was our cover car for issue 311, way back in 2010. We noted at the time, that trouble and detail that went into this XU-1 was truly exceptional.

In 2010 we noted: Most restorers would be content to establish their XU-1 was an October 1972 model, or one of the second variants out of at least five LJ XU-1 specifications.

But not Sharon.

Although her car had most of the ’72 Bathurst upgrades, it came just 13 cars after the last 1972 Bathurst build with an HX camshaft and lighter flywheel.

Once Sharon discovered her car was delivered new in Queensland, she figured there was a good chance it was also built in Brisbane.

And that could mean there would be a long list of detail differences from the Adelaide-built XU-1s more often delivered in Melbourne where she lived.

She discovered her car was built on October 13, 1972 – a Friday – which might explain why it ended up with a compliance plate stamped 20/72, not 10/72! And it was a Brisbane-built car.

Clearly the effort was worth it, as the car remains a stunner.

1968 HB SL

This one has the 1169cc motor with a four-speed manual.

It claimed about 70 horsepower and weighs 850 kilos, so they go well. It has a factory disc front end and drum brakes on the rear. It’s a 1968 car, the year after they were first launched.

I was looking to buy an HB Torana and was looking for a two-door. The plan was to put a V8 in it, because I love small cars with big engines. I saw this one for sale and had it shipped down.

Good ones are hard to find – even seven years ago when I bought this car. All the ones I see now are full of rust.

This was a one-owner car and was in such good condition I decided to leave it alone. It was too nice a car to modify, so we just cleaned it up a little.

It’s actually quite smooth and beautiful to drive. It’s a little noisy in the gearbox, otherwise it drives well, is very easy to look after and runs on the smell of an oily rag.

It gets driven quite rarely and it only had 49,000 miles on the odometer. Given the original trim is in such good condition, it may not have gone round the clock.

They’re now becoming extremely rare, so if you see a good one, grab it.

LC TORANA SL

You don’t see so many four-doors around. It’s funny getting in them now, because they seem so small compared to a modern car. I’m a sucker for the LC-LJ shape, I just think there’s nothing better looking on the road. That was my first car, a four-door SL, back in the early 80s. I fell in love with the shape and have owned Holdens ever since.

My second car was an LC GTR and that was my daily driver for six years. About 10 years ago I decided to go back to my roots and got myself an LJ GTR for a resto, and went on from there.

When I went up to Tatura to see how the paint was going on that car, they had this sitting out the front. They had just picked it up and were looking to ship it on. I had to have it – my first car! This is a nice thing to drive.

When I built the GTR, the process was more fun than finishing it. The swap meets, the clubs, the people you chat tothe journey was the important thing.

I like the reactions you get when you take them for a drive.

You pull up at a servo and people talk about their families having one, those sorts of stories are great.

LC TORANA GTR

The car itself is a GTR, that was known as the deluxe sports model and was the start of the pocket rocket line out of GMH. This was a second car I bought to wreck for spares for another I was restoring for my boy.

That was done about 20 years ago, when there were still plenty of parts around at wreckers, so we were fortunate to gather sufficient to put another one together. So it’s all original specification. We went as far as a caustic tank strip for the body. It had a sunroof, so the turret was removed and replaced; The boot and floors were all cut out and replaced; The front radiator surround had been butchered by someone who wanted to put a V8 in it, so that had to go.

The big thing when buying one is ensuring they have the right ID codes for a GTR and XU-1. Really you’re looking to match the chassis, engine and paint codes.

They live up to their reputation as a pocket rocket. Even with the original 161 they were very lively. The 173 only went for six months and I’ve only seen one quite recently.

They got on my radar because my boy wanted a GT Falcon at age 15. I couldn’t support that desire. But we found an original GTR in a car yard, so we bought it and restored it and that’s where it all started.

LJ TORANA S

Ibought this 1973 S 15 years ago from the first owner – he still had his name on the papers and lived at the same address. He was getting on and was struggling with the manual steering.

I’d owned a Gemini before this. This one belonged to the father of a friend. I wasn’t really looking for a Torana, but this one was so cheap I couldn’t turn it down and, over time, I fell in love with it.

It was in not bad condition. We took it back to bare metal for the paint. The engine we just painted and made it look good.

Inside we did the roof lining and carpets. I painted it 10 years ago – it’s what I do for living, so maybe that’s why it’s lasted!

That’s advertising for my shop Deluxe Customs in Dandenong.

You meet a good group of people through them.

What do I like about driving it? I like that it’s noisy, it’s old, uncomfortable, there’s no electronics, it’s simple. Mate, it’s beautiful. It’s cool – you know you’re alive.

If you’re in the market for one, pay extra money to get a good one – it’ll cost you less than having to fix it. Find one that’s already been done and then put your touches on it.

LJ TORANA GTR

Igrew up with Toranas in the family and I bought this one at the end of 1997. I drove it daily for a while, through my university years, then did a bare metal restoration in 2004.

It wasn’t too bad. At the time I thought it was a bit rough, but when you compare it to what’s left out there today, it was a really good car. I went through the body, paint, interior. As for the motor and gearbox, it’s had several.

It’s got a 208 in it now, with a close-ratio XU-1 four-speed, and a shortened VL Turbo Borg Warner diff.

I probably broke 12 standard banjo diffs in it and 12 axles – I still have the stubs on the shelf – because they’re just way too small, so I upgraded it to the 28-spline axles and all the good gear.

What’s good about it? Everything!

This one handles nicely. I’ve done everything underneath.

Apart from the body and paint, I did all the mechanical work, engine, gearbox, you name it.

I’ve driven it around Bathurst, punched it around Phillip Island, Sandown, Geelong Speed Trials – many events.

It’s there to be enjoyed, so that’s what I do.

LH TORANA 3300

Ialways liked them and had wanted one pretty much since I was 15 and bought it when I was 17. That car was a bit sad and I replaced it with this one. This was bought from the original owner 10 years ago. It’s a 202 with Trimatic.

It’s basically had new tyres and a few new ancillaries like water pump and thermostat. That’s it.

It gets a lot of attention because it’s different and in original condition. A lot of people look at it as a reference car.

It’s done quite a few interstate trips and is known as ‘Poopy’ in the Torana world.

It’s even a little bit famous, because it appeared in the Molly Meldrum TV bio.

I was looking in the classifieds for a ute and spotted this at an unbelievable price. I went up to Ballarat and had a look – it’s originally from NSW – and bought it on the spot.

It goes well on the freeway, but is a bit heavy around town.

We recently did a 4000km round trip in a week and it didn’t miss a beat.

My advice for someone wanting to buy one: get in before they get too expensive.

LH TORANA SL/R

Iget into a lot of arguments over the production date of this car. It’s 1973, well before the showroom models and is a pre-production car. I bought it in 1975 from Holden – it was the first time it had been sold to the public. It was like new and it’s still original, with the bodywork, paint and interior that came out of the factory.

I believe they made 10 as test cars. Three were SLRs – this was third one and the other two were destroyed in testing at Lang Lang. This one is the survivor.

I’ve hung on to it all this time – 40 years last Christmas, I’ve had it. It’s a beautiful car to drive. It’s got a close-ratio XU-1 gearbox in it – similar to the original. The engine is quite modified, with a counterweighted crankshaft, different pistons, XU-1 carburettors, limited slip diff. It’s quite good.

If you put a counterweighted crank in those 202s – my son’s car has one too – they’re a very smooth engine and I think these cars handle better with a six in the front.

My son learned to drive in that car and has a bit of an attachment to it, and now of course they’re highly collectible, so they’ve gone full circle.

LH TORANA L34

We were lucky enough to own a genuine L34 Bathurst race car and were looking for some parts when we were doing some historic racing. So I rang up this bloke and went out to his shed and checked out all these diffs and other bits he had and said I’ll have them.

Sitting next to them was this car under a cover.

He wound this cover back and we were gobsmacked. This thing was absolutely schmick. I walked away with all those parts for the race car and I said to Anna, “I’ve got to buy that car. I’ve never seen one that was so untouched in my life. So by the end of the day we’d done the deal.”

The bloke had bought that car because it reminded him of one he had raced back in 1974.

They’re Holden’s version of the HO muscle car. They had the race engine, manifold, exhaust, the big brakes and wheels.

They ticked every box. There’s no doubt they were the ultimate racerin that period, because they had everything you needed.

My advice for anyone looking for an L34 is to ensure the car has known history. If it ain’t got history, it ain’t the real McCoy.

LX TORANA SS 253

My mum had one as a kid, my dad worked at General Motors and I always liked them. Plus I’m short and can reach the pedals!

I was driving an LJ as a daily driver about 20 years ago and decided I wanted something a bit more sophisticated, so I thought an LX usually has a radio, flow-through ventilation and wind-back seats, so I started looking for a hatch. I drove past this one at the Holden 50th celebration at Albert Park Lake. I worked my way back to find it, it had a for sale sign on it, but it was gone.

It popped up in the Trading Post the following January. I’ve still got the ad. She was the secretary at Northpoint Holden and this was a demo car. I looked at the paperwork and I picked it up 21 years to the day after she bought the car.

I bought it in 1999. I paid five and a half for it and it had a set of Dragways on it. It looked like a lizard with these wheels hanging out the side. I sold the Dragways for $500 and put the standard wheels back on – it probably cost me $100 for the hubcaps.

I watched the value head up to 15, 20, 25 and I now need to up the insurance on it – it’s quite crazy. I like that it’s an original survivor car, it hasn’t been messed with. One of the seats is a bit ripped – it’s not pretty but it’s honest.

UC TORANA 3.3

Dad bought this car back in 1979 and he had it running around Melbourne and Adelaide. When he passed away I ended up with it.

I used it as a daily driver for a couple of years. But people kept leaving notes on it where it was parked at work – I guess they wanted to buy it – and I got sick of the attention, so parked it and drove a bomb to work.

I put the sports wheel on it because it’s more comfortable.

The original was oval and felt like a football. Someone I worked with had an SL/R wheel and it went well with the sports dash I fitted. I kept the original cluster so it can be changed back.

It’s got the 202 and three-on-the-tree. I enjoy it, it feels good after bouncing around in heavy haulage trucks. Some people talk about them having a harsh ride, but I enjoy it – it feels like a limousine!

The values are going up, but I did have a bit of an argument with my insurance company over what it’s worth. I’ve had a couple of Toranas over time, including an LJ I bought off a friend. This is the last of the sixes. After this the Sunbird four took over and that was the end of it...

50 TORANA!

1967 HB

– NOT QUITE THE VAUXHALL HOLDEN’S FIRST Torana, assembled at the Acacia Ridge plant in Queensland from May 1967, started as a mildly modded verison of the HB Vauxhall. It was pitched as a lively compact with the range expanding to include a four-door. As the series developed, it gained greater local content and influences, with the most desirable early version being the ‘sporty’ two-door Brabham. Production continued to 1969.

1969 LC

HERE COMES THE SIX THIS IS where the Torana very much became its own car, taking a serious departure from its Vauxhall heritage. It was now longer and more substantial, in part to accommodate a big range of six-cylinder engines. While you could still get a four in the nose, the basic six was a 2250cc unit. You could option up to a more powerful 2600.

This is the generation where we see the emergence of the legendary performance models: the GTR and GTR XU-1. Production ran from 1969 to 1972.

1972 LJ

MORE REFINEMENT WHILE THE cosmetic differences (particularly the grille) are the give-away for this series, it picked up some refinements including some useful chassis improvements over its lifetime. Four four-pot and three six-cylinder engines were offered over the life of the LJ, with the hero powerplant being the 3300cc six – or the 202 out of the bigger HQ range. This was the series (in XU-1 form) which defeated the dominant Fords at Bathurst in 1972. Production ran from 1972 to 1974.

1974 LH

BIGGER AND BOXIER NOW THE Torana becomes a full mid-sized family sedan – a long way from where it started in its Vauxhall days. While you could still get a four (a 1900cc Opel unit), sixes were the dominant powerplant in 2850 or 3300 form. Though GMH had toyed with a prototype V8 in the previous LJ series, this was the first time we saw one in a Torana. Your choices were the 4.2lt (aka 253) and the 5.0lt (aka 308). It was versions of the latter that went on to power some legendary models, including the SL/R 5000 and the first series of A9X. Production ran from 1974 to 1976.

1976 LX

HERE COMES THE HATCH WHILE THE LX four-doors were essentially a facelift of their predecessors, the big news was the introduction of a three-door hatchback.

This transformed what started as a boxy-looking car into a nicely-proportioned coupe. Four, six and eight-pot engines continued to be offered, but new emission rules led to some minor strangulation. Of course this is when we saw the introduction of the limited-run race-inspired A9X hatchback, which is now a $250,000 car. The LX series also saw the introduction of the Sunbird name for an updated four.

Production ran from 1976 to 1978.

1978 UC

THE FINAL YEARS IT SEEMS as though, with the UC, the Torana settled into some kind of automotive middle age. Gone were the V8s, while the four-cylinder Sunbird outlasted them all – even the sixes. The cars had a modernised appearance inside and out, while the good news was you could still get a six-cylinder hatchback which, with the 3300, was easily the pick of the range. With the appearance of the Commodore – which was more compact than an HZ – there was considerable doubt over the role of the Torana range.

In the end this was a short run. Production started in 1978 and the sixes were phased out in 1979. The Sunbird followed in September 1980.

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TORANA STORIES ONLINE

LC GTR REVIEW This scratch-built car owned by Darryn Carr is a stunner. bit.ly/2uW6CH6 READER RIDE – A9X Believe it or not, it used to transport pot plants! bit.ly/2uwgFSt READER RESTO – 1971 LC Meet Gwen the Torana, and owner Laurie. bit.ly/2uY8miN A9X HATCHBACK BUYER GUIDE We unwrap the history and what to look for. bit.ly/2v6XJLF LC-LJ GTR & XU-1 BUYER GUIDE Lots of good advice here, even if the prices have moved on. bit.ly/2tINAUP

RECENT AUCTION BIDS

LLOYDS JULY 22 Lot 98 1976 Holden Torana SS 308 $92,000 Lot 99 1972 Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 $107,000 Lot 100 1977 Holden A9X $250,000 SHANNONS JULY 17 Lot 49 1972 Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 $102,000 LLOYDS JULY 15 Lot 30 1979 Holden Torana sedan $2900 Lot 42 1972 Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 $78,000 LLOYDS JUNE 24 Lot 63 1979 Holden Sunbird hatch $9750 Lot 69 1973 Holden LJ Torana $20,700 Lot 78 1977 Holden Torana A9X hatchback $250,000 MOSSGREEN MAY 28 1977 Ex Bob Morris A9X hatchback touring car $705,000 (incl premium)

FOR SALE

’76 LX HATCH $112,000 Search for 490476

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’74 LH SEDAN 4.2 $35,000 Search for 291762

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’78 UC SEDAN 3.3 $17,000 Search for 448401

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’74 TORANA TA $2700 Search for 348806

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’75 LH G-PAK $79,900 Search for 259667

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TOP READING

TORANA TOUGH

Ignore the fuzzy cover shot, this tome by Norm Darwin (who also authored Monaro Magic) is a very handy reference for the Torana enthusiast and would-be owner.

It lays out the series in chronological order (handy for anyone prone to mixing up their LHs and UCs), with a number of special sections on the development of each generation.

Restorers will love the colour charts and guides for paint and trim, along with various options lists. This is a good way to settle a few of those interminable arguments over what the factory did and when.

Produced in Ballarat by H@nd Publishing (no, that’s not a typo!), it costs around $60. We got ours from Motor Book World.

SPOTLIGHT ON HOLDEN TORANA LH-LX

Assembled by Tony Davis, this offers a potted history of the 1974-78 series, along with a host of photos and period road tests from Modern Motor magazine (now Motor magazine).

It’s a useful reference put out by Marque Publishing. Ours cost $35 at Motor Book World.