Holden Torana Reviews and Road Tests

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Holden Torana

During the relatively prosperous times of the 1960's many were becoming "2 Car Families". Holden identified an obvious gap in their model lineup, that of the smaller, cheap to buy, own and run economy car, and looked to their counterpart Vauxhall to source such a vehicle. The obvious advantages to the purchaser was the well established dealer network in place around the country, and the original HB model became an overnight success.

But the Torana would evolve into something quite special, the wonderful GTR's quickly gaining a cult following that remains to this day. Although the LC and LJ versions were based on the Vauxhall design, at the hands of the Holden engineers it was inevitable that a good old Aussie 6 would find its way under the bonnet, the Torana morphing into something quite different in the process. Although some iterations, namely the TA, would fill the "cheap and cheerful" market segment, others would become legend.

The name Torana is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "To Fly", and at the hands of Peter Brock he would make the Torana do just that around Mount Panorama. XU-1 and A9X models would leave an indelible mark on the Australian motoring landscape, and remain prized possessions for those lucky enough to own one.

Also see: Holden Heritage | Torana History | Torana Racing Legacy
Torana HB  

Holden Torana HB

1967 - 1969
In the early 1960s other car manufacturers began offering motorists a broader range of motor vehicles, particularly smaller more economical and considerably cheaper models - particularly as Australian households became 2 car family's. More>>
Torana HB SL  

Holden Torana HB SL

1967 - 1969
When the Torana was released the image was very much chiffon lace and sex-in-the-sand-hills thanks to its TV advertising and Press handouts. The Torana was marketed strongly as both "Holden" and "new" from every inch of its hippy line panel-work. GM-H made sure of that and for good reason. More>>
Torana LC  

Holden Torana LC

1969 - 1972
The HB was replaced by the LC Torana in October 1968. A much better car than its predecessor, it did however share the same floorpan (although on 6 cylinder models the wheelbase was lengthened). More>>
Torana LC GTR  

Holden Torana LC GTR

1969 - 1971
At just $2778 the two-door only GTR came standard with an Opel floor mounted four-speed box, front disc brakes, heavy duty suspension (firmer springs, shock absorbers and an front anti-roll bar), full instrumentation, striking stylistic details which included louvres on the front fenders, handsome two-piece wheel covers and bold paint colours. More>>
Torana LC GTR XU-1  

Holden Torana LC GTR XU-1

1970 - 1971
By the time the XU-1 hit the market everyone knew the intent, and no doubt the people over at the blue oval were wondering where the chink was in the XU-1's armour was. They didn't have to look far. As GMH didn't have their own 4 speed transmission, they had to stick with the Opel sourced unit, and its dislike for long hard track work was already well known. More>>
GTR-X Coupe  

Holden GTR-X Coupe

Never (Initially 1970)
The Torana with the greatest reputation is, unfortunately, one that did not make it into production. Designed during the LC development, but most likely to be released alongside the new LJ models, the GTR-X used a sleek wedge-shaped body running XU-1 components under a fibreglass skin. More>>
Torana LJ  

Holden Torana LJ & TA

1972 - 1975
The LJ Torana of February 1972 was a facelift of the LC, and offered more refinement with better handling, suspension revisions and greatly improved noise supression. More>>
Torana LJ GTR  

Holden Torana LJ GTR

1972 - 1974
The LJ versions of the GTR and GTR XU-1's had their engine capacity raised to 202 cubic inches (3300cc). In September 1972, it received a number of refinements including fine-spline rear axles and Globe Sprintmaster wheels. More>>
Torana LJ GTR XU-1  

Holden Torana LJ GTR XU-1

1972 - 1974
The scene was set for another Holden vs. Ford showdown at the Mount during the 1973 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, and everyone wondered if the XU-1, and Peter Brock, could retain the crown. Many felt the new race distance, extended to 1000 kilometres for the first time, would prove a bigger endurance test for the more tempremental GT's - no doubt many Torana fans hoped so. More>>
Torana LH  

Holden Torana LH

1974 - 1976
At last Australians could enjoy an Australian designed medium sized car from Holden - the LH Torana. Most agreed it was a big improvement over its predecessor, but was the LH a replacement or a different class of car? Unlike the previous models that owed their heritage to the English Vauxhall (from its entirity in the HB to the chassis in the TA), the LH Torana series could best be described as a scaled down Kingswood. More>>
Torana LH L34 SL/R5000  

Holden Torana LH L34 SL/R 5000

1974 - 1976
The LH Torana sure looked the part, once and for all dropping any semblance of linage with the Vauxhall Viva's from which it originated. And while the LH was a truley great car, it was the dominance of the GT Falcon at Mount Panorama that many believed drove the General to shoe-horn an all-Aussie V8 under the hood. More>>
Holden Torana LH SL/R5000 Automatic  

Holden Torana LH SL/R 5000 Automatic

1974 - 1976
In a European vs. Australian comparison, a Mercedes 250 was pitted against an SL/R in highway and freeway conditions. Surprisingly (or should we say, not so suprisingly), the SL/R came out on top, being less affected by cross winds, easier to point at speed and generally more controllable. It seemed the achillies heel was only in the braking department, where the Torana tended to suffer brake fade due to overheating under continued fast stop testing. More>>
Torana LX  

Holden Torana LX Sedan

1976 - 1978
A facelift of the LH model, the LX is best rembered for two reasons, the introduction of the hatchback and, unfortunately, the last to be fitted with a V8. The hatch was available is SL and SS versions, and in base form cam equipped with a 3300 engine, however you could option the 253 4.2 litre V8, while the 5.0 litre V8 came as standard with the SS. The hatch looked great, however in practical terms the shallow boot did not swallow as much luggage as many thought it should. More>>
Torana LX Hatch  

Holden Torana LX Hatch

1976 - 1978
To create the free flowing lines, the GM stylists dropped the roofline sharply from approximately six inches behind the thick B-Pillar - and in doing so created a genuine fastback style. The down-side was that the rear roof-height was somewhat compromised, meaning tall passengers would probably have preferred to travel in the back of a standard LX Torana sedan. More>>
Torana LX A9X  

Holden Torana LX A9X

1977 - 1978
The penultimate Torana, and one of the best ever Australian Muscle Cars, the Torana A9X became an overnight legend. That the Brock Commodore's would take four years to surpass their performance speaks volumes about the car's inate power and roadholding ability. More>>
Torana UC  

Holden Torana UC

1978 - 1980
The UC was unfortunately the last model in the Torana lineup. The most obvious changes over the previous model LX were in the front end re-styling, which featured a new grille and rectangular headlights. Modifications were also made to the tail-lights and interior, the latter offering increased room and superior appointments. More>>
Holden Sunbird UC  

Holden UC Sunbird

1978 - 1980
There was no way the Sunbird could ever hope to keep up with the larger engined Torana. Not in a straight line, not even in a corner. The two may have looked identical, but when you were behind the wheel of a Sunbird you knew there was a difference. The Sunbird felt like an underpowered Torana. Not that it was a bad car, but because of its size and the way it felt on the road, the Sunbird, understandably, would always feel like a Torana without any go. More>>
Holden Hurricane

Holden Hurricane

Never (Initially 1969)
In the late 1960's Holden were at the forefront of experimental car design. Most know of the wonderful GTR-X, but only a handful will truly remember the Hurricane. Unlike the GTR-X, the Hurricane was never really intended to make it into production. Rather, Holden described it as an experimental research vehicle, allowing them "‘to study design trends, propulsion systems and other long range developments". More>>
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