Holden Torana LC GTR

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LC Torana GTR

Holden Torana GTR

Holden LC Torana GTR

1969 - 1971
  6 cyl.
  2640 cc
  125 bhp / 93 kW
  4 spd. man
Top Speed:
  169 km/h
Number Built:
  5 star
Holden LC Torana GTR
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 5


The LC Torana was being designed with clay models back in 1966, and while on the drawing board the designers tried over 60 different grille and headlight combinations before they settled with the final product. The new model was finally released to dealers on October 28th 1969, with the XU1 appearing a little later.

The real news upon the LC's launch was the 6 cylinder engine, which came in two varities, the 138ci version of the 161 Red Engine, along with the 161 2640 engine as fitted to the HT Holden. The latter engine had a respectable power output of 114 bhp @ 4400 rpm, and torque of 157 lb. ft at 2000 rpm, and it was this unit that naturally found its way into the GTR.

At just $2778 the two-door only GTR also 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.

In theory, the GTR was to the LC Torana what the GTS 186S was to the Monaro. The 186S was of course a re-worked 186 with dual throat carby and more efficient cylinder head. However the re-working of the 161 for the GTR was arguably a better job, allowing it to fight well above its station, and even managing to embarrass the 253ci V8 model Monaro.

A dual throat downdraft carby replaced the single throat unit, although both were Bendix-Stromberg, the air-cleaner had a new low-restriction design, there were twin exhaust manifolds, the manifold was water-heated and a higher lift bumpstick and superior exhaust valves were fitted. While these changes were near identical to what was done to the 186S engine, Torana aficionados will tell you the results were far more spectacular.

The GTR was able to complete the standing quarter in 17.2 seconds, and top speed was a respectable 105 mph, with third gear being able to take you to 90. The maximum power of 125 bhp came at 4800 rpm, and torque (which was less than the stock 161) came at 2800 rpm - which meant that you needed to use the gears more to extract all the extra mumbo the worked 161 had to offer.

The constabulary soon got wind of the performance Torana's, and for a time used them as pursuit vehicles, the fuel economy of the GT Falcon's being deemed to be too poor. Harry Firth (ex Ford team manager) was employed by GMH to build a Bathurst winning package that was not expensive to manufacture. The Monaro would need major work to help it handle and brake over Mount Panorama - although it had the raw power of the 350 chev.

Power alone was not enough to take the checkered flag, so with a bit of a play around with after market and factory six cylinder bits and pieces, Harry and his team of engineers started to develop the XU-1, even though at the time GM world wide had a "no motor racing" policy. They covered this technicality by leaving any racing to the Holden Dealer Team (HDT) as they had been doing with the very successful Monaro's. Just the thought of a 186ci six cylinder car trying to match the 351ci V8's would have probably been laughed at by the white collars of the day but if they could just extract a bit more power it may be possible!

The first car was built early 1970 and raced in the sports sedan class by Anthony (Tony) Roberts under the guise of the HDT with a 186ci engine (it had a small chamber blueprinted 161ci head to increase compression, and had triple Stromberg carburettors). GMH liked what they saw and with the price being $3148 the Torana GTR XU1 went on sale in 19th August 1970. With a weight of 1100 kgs, stiffened suspension, hot motor, rack and pinion steering it was not everyones favourite car to go cruising but if you decided to push this car to the upper limits then you would have a smile as wide as your face, as this car loved nothing better than to be thrashed down a winding country road.

Don Holland proved they were on the right track making the podium at the Bathurst 1970 Hardie-Ferodo with a first up third and a win in Class C.. The XU-1 was on track to become a legend...
LC Torana GTR
LC Torana GTR

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Also see:

Torana LC
Torana LC GTR XU-1
Torana GTR-X
Torana LC Brochure
Torana Identification
Torana LC Technical Specifications
Torana Car Commercials
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