In 1974 Holden upsized the Torana. The first Torana models were smaller and more nimble, and also featured fast 6 cylinder engines. Who can forget the magic XU-1 race cars?
The LH – LX model Toranas proved bigger and accommodated V8 engines. The most famous racing versions remain the A9X and the L34. On the street the SLR5000 enjoyed a presence like few others.
Wild colours and body kits were all the rage and the Toranas did not disappoint.
SL/R variations included the choice of 3.3-litre six-cylinder engines, 4.2 or 5.0-litre V8s. Automatic transmission was not initially available to SL/R5000 buyers but that changed with the arrival in 1976 of the LX model upgrade.
By 1977 Holden introduced its all-new RTS – Radial Tuned Suspension, adding to the handling of Toranas. Whilst the 2 door hardtops proved a hit for those looking for sporty V8’s, buyers were spoilt for choice with 4 door SLR/5000 models offering a balance between sporty ambitions and family commitments!
The SLR5000 and A9X Toranas remain one of the mostly highly replicated cars in Australia. The body kit, drop tanks, sticker decals and tough, muscly lines make it an iconic car in Australia’s motoring history.
The Torana was a victim of the super car scare that preceded it. But that didn’t affect its performance on the race track. By 1978 the Torana dominated the Australian Touring Car ranks and at Bathurst demolished its opposition in one of the most dominant performances ever to be seen.
On the road the Torana was a light weight compared to the larger Ford Falcons. Its 308 V8 offered a mountain of torque. Performance figures recorded by an early-build, four-speed SL/R5000 confirm that 0-100km/h arrived in 7.9secs with a best 0-400m time of 15.9secs.
Mid-range overtaking was the car’s most impressive feature – 80-110km/h in third gear leaving overtaking SL/R drivers on the wrong side of the road for just 3.7secs. Top speed with the standard 3.08:1 final drive ratio was 194km/h.
BODY: all-steel, integrated body/chassis four-door sedan
ENGINE: V8 with overhead valves, single downdraft four-barrel carburettor
POWER & TORQUE: 179kW @ 4800rpm/427Nm @ 3000rpm
PERFORMANCE: 0-96km/h – 7.9secs/0-400m – 15.9secs (LH four-speed)
TRANSMISSION: four-speed manual or three-speed automatic (LX only)
SUSPENSION: Front – coil springs with double wishbones, telescopic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar. Rear – coil springs with multi-link location, telescopic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar
BRAKES: disc front/drum rear with power assistance
WHEELS & TYRES: steel 5.5×13, CR70/H13 radial
At The Time – 1978
- Prime Minister of Australia was Malcolm Fraser.
- Number 1 song on the Australian charts was ‘Fernando’ by ABBA.
- ‘Howzat’ was a hit for Aussie international sensations Sherbet.
- Australian TV saw the debut of ‘The Sullivans’ on Channel 9.
- Home-grown Formula 1 star Mark Webber was born.
The Holden Torana boasts an exhaustive record of success. Not including the early smaller modeled Toranas, the LH-LX Torana race cars enjoyed success at Bathurst and in the Touring Car Championship. In 1975 the LH L34 Torana won Bathurst outright, with Peter Brock and Brian Sampson at the wheel. This was followed by the 1976 victory with Bob Morris and John Fitzpatrick at the wheel – also in an LH L34.
In fact some would argue that had it not been for the Torana the name Peter Brock may not have been such a household name. And rightly so. Some fans believe there was no sight more memorable than Peter Brock muscling his way around Bathurst behind a Torana. In fact Peter Brock master minded a back-to-back Torana whitewash at Bathurst in 1978 and 1979.
1974 – Holden Torana XU1 / Peter Brock winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1975 – Holden Torana L34 / Colin Bond winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1978 – Holden Torana A9X / Peter Brock winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1979 – Holden Torana A9X / Bob Morris winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1975 Holden Torana L34 winner of Hardie-Ferodo Bathurst 1000. Drivers: Peter Brock and Brian Sampson
1978 Holden Torana A9X winner of the Hardie-Ferodo Bathurst 1000. Drivers: Peter Brock and Jim Richards.
1979 Holden Torana A9X winner of the Hardie-Ferodo Bathurst 1000. Drivers: Peter Brock and Jim Richards.