Holden Torana LH

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LH Holden Torana

Holden Torana

Holden LH Torana

1974 - 1976
4/6 cyl. & V8
1.9 ltr 4; 2.85/3.3 ltr. 6; 4.2/5.0 ltr. V8
101kW 202 and 179kW 308
3/4 spd. man; 3 spd. Trimatic
Top Speed:
142 kmh (202 motor)
Number Built:
70,184 (all models)
Holden LH Torana
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4


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 Viva (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.

Then Managing Director of GMH, Mr. Damon Martin, said the design and sizing of the LH was a direct response to the major evolutionary changes in demand for passenger cars in Australia. "Its keynote is versatility. LH is designed for those buyers who want an alternative to full-size vehicles but whose needs would not be satisfied by a small car". At the time, Martin claimed the demand for the full size HQ Holden models remained strong and that market research convinced GMH that the demand for the larger HQ (available as a 'six' or V8) would exceed Torana sales by a ratio of three to one.

Martin added: "I think the LH will stand with other groundbreaking GMH cars such as the 48/215, the EH and the HQ - all of which have significantly influenced local car design"'. The European heritage or the Torana was not, however, entirely forgotten with the 1900cc four cylinder engine still being sourced from Opel in Germany. More importantly for performance car enthusiasts was the new box on the 'options' list that read "V8".

Not one body panel was carried over from the the same and the result of this complete re-tooling was a longer and wider car of dimensions very close to the extremely successful EH Holden introduced little more than 10 years earlier. The engine line-up, too, had not escaped the sweeping change. Of the five engines offered in LH, four were from the HQ range and only two, the 2850 and 3300, were used in the LJ.

While the LH sported an international look - perhaps borrowing from the Opel Kadett and Vauxhall Ventora, the local stylists made the Torana both cleaner and less cluttered in appearance. The LH Torana came in three models - S and SL, with the designation SL/R replacing the GTR. All models had identical bodies with varying trim and interiors marking the difference. The S was distinguished by black vertical and silver horizontal bars on the rectangular grille.

A Wider Torana

The most important change was in the width. It was now 67.1 inches wide, an improvement of 4.1 inches over the LJ. And all of it went into extra shoulder room in front and 3.6 inches of it into extra shoulder room in the back. The added room meant the Torana got a bench seat in front for the first time (standard on the S) with SL and SL/R getting then newly designed bucket seats with integral tombstone head restraints.

Rather than use up valuable seat space with a handbrake beside the driver's door HQ-style, GMH engineers opted for the Rambler Matador-Ford LTD approach of a foot-operated parking brake with a dashboard release. Not our preferred style, but this type is still used today, notably in the Lexus IS250. We were never fans, but perhaps others were. Inside changes were considerable. The steering wheel was repositioned and was lower with less forward tilt for a more comfortable driving position. The dash was broad, surrounded by safety padding and finished with a wood-grain or grained vinyl. Face-level fresh air vents were housed at each end of the dash. The air/heater controls were to the right of the driver as on the HQ and heater outlets slung under the centre of the dash.

The LH Torana Engine Lineup

The LH grew 4.3 inches longer than the LJ with wheelbase up by 1.8 inches. However two inches of the extra length were lost to passengers with legroom in front up by a marginal 0.7 inch, although back seat passengers got another 1.6 inches. In terms of its only serious competitor in the light six market, the LH was now eight inches longer and as wide as the Cortina. Track was increased by more than three inches, ground clearance was down two inches and an inch was trimmed from the overall height. The top of the line engine was the 240 bhp, 308 cubic inch V8. Run under the metric designation of "5000", it was the heart of the performance option SL/R 5000 - the XU-1 replacement and no doubt a factor in Ford's retirement from motor sport.

Next was the 253 cubic inch, 185 bhp, V8 - designated in LH as the 4.2 litre. The 4.2 brought the Torana up to (and beyond) the 250 cubic inch six in the Cortina and was the perfect workhorse option for towing and driving the bolt-on equipment such as the integrated air-conditioning which was, for the first time, a Torana option. Despite the rising cost of petrol, the V8s availability right through the LH Torana range ensured GMH had a better chance of protecting its $25 million investment in the V8 engine plant.

The inclusion of the V8s meant the 3300cc six cylinder engine, the power plant for the "all conquering" XU-1, was relegated to third place in the engine lineup. The 2850cc engine remained but the 2250 cc engine was dropped to make way for a 1900cc four to introduced into the LH in May - which was a little while after the initial launch. The 1900 was the German-built Opel engine, which, by the time the LH was released, some 1.2 million had been sold in Europe. It developed 102 bhp, seven bhp more than the 2250. The 1900 engine was available on the S and SL models with four-speed manual and Trimatic gearboxes, but the initial LH's standard engine was the 2850 with three speed manual. The 3300 and 4.2 litre were also available on the S. Optional transmissions were the four-speed manual and Trimatic.

Standard power train on the SL was the 3300 with three-speed manuai. The SL had the same engine-transmission options as the S. Special hubcaps, an SL badge on the left of the grille (both horizontal and vertical bars in silver) and a full length anti-knock moulding along the side, mark the SL. The SL/R had the 3300 with four-speed manual as standard with the 4.2 and 5000 engines as options. The SL/R had black paintouts below the boot lid, around the side windows (running into a stripe along the front wings) and under the doors, blacked-out grille and sports wheel covers. The SL/R 5000 had front air dam spoiler with air scoops for brake cooling and a rear spoiler in addition to the paint-outs. The 5000 also had a dual-exhaust.

Cheaper Repair Costs

Weight was up, with a six cylinder LH Torana S tipping the scales at about 180 lbs more than the equivalent LJ and the V8 models, of course, were considerably heavier again. Turning circle was six inches better at 36 feet and fuel capacity was increased by two gallons, to 12 gallons. The Holden engineers increased the glass area by 35 per cent, put in slender front pillars, and did away with the quarter vent windows in the interests of better vision.

The age of soaring knock-repair costs and creeping insurance premiums was also taken into account on LH. The bumper bars had the then popular "square" section with full-width rubber minor bump inserts on the SL and SL/R (optional on S). The bumper bars were said to be a heavier construction with stronger mounting brackets and the clearance between bumper bars and sheet metal panels increased. The front panels were bolted on rather than simply welded.

Like the HQ, the nose of the Torana was now separate. This made front-end repairs less expensive and facelifting a less complicated, less costly affair. Rectangular headlights (7.5 inches by 5.5 inches) incorporating the parking lights, replaced the round lenses in square bezels on the LJ. Suspension was the same with only revisions to the spring specification and shock absorber valving. The SL/R and V8 option models were fitted with front and rear stabiliser bars. Power assisted, 10 inch disc brakes were standard on the SL and SL/R but unfortunately four-wheel drums remained on the S with six or four engines.

The LH Torana in Motorsport

The SL/R 5000 was undoubtedly the most desirable and collectable of the LH Torana range. The "5000" designation was only placed on the vehicle when the purchaser optioned the 5.0 litre V8. These cars were then suitably badged, and rather large front and rear air spoilers were fitted. We are often asked what exactly SL/R stood for, the answer is "Sports Luxury/Racing". For touring car racing, (and of course Bathurst), Holden released the Torana SL/R 5000 L34 option package which incorporated even more body armour such as bolt-on wheel-arch flares and bigger 14 x 6 steel rally wheels.

Although the motor was based on the standard 5.0-litre (308) block, stronger rods and pistons were installed, along with heads with modified ports and bigger valves, roller rockers, two-piece tubular exhaust headers, a modified inlet manifold and a twin-coil / twin-point ignition. This was all fed through a high pressure fuel pump utilizing the standard Rochester Q-jet carb modified with a manual choke. First out, the L34 took second and third placings in 1974's Bathurst Classic, then went on to dominate the Mountain for the next two years, scoring back-to-back top three placings. The first all-Holden winner's podium was headed by Peter Brock and Brian Sampson in 1975, ahead of privateers Bob Morris and Frank Gardner, with the Holden Dealer Team's Colin Bond and John Walker coming in third.

The L34 returned to Bathurst in 1976 for another Torana trifecta. TV viewers nationwide saw an emotional Bob Morris willing team-mate John Fitzpatrick to nurse their battle-weary car across the line in first place. The Holden Dealer Team pairing of Colin Bond and John Harvey took second and a flying Peter Brock, who was lapping seconds faster than anyone else after overcoming mechanical problems, snatched third. The event was a Holden whitewash, with Torana's filling the first seven positions.

With such success at the racetrack, and as you would expect, Aussies much preferred the 6 cylinder and V8 engined Torana's over the 4 cylinder models. To try and stimulate interest, GMH introduced a "Plus 4" pack, garishly painted in red, green or yellow. While the large SL/R 5000 decals could be worn with pride, the 'Plus 4' decals probably drew far too much attention to the fact that you had the smallest engine in the range. Admittedly GM did make the Plus 4 more appealing by adding features such as front bucket seats, full carpeting, a clock and power front disc brakes - options that would be carried over to the Sunbird in later models.

Visitor Rating:

Also see:

Torana LH Specifications
Torana LH Brochure
Torana LH L34 SL/R 5000
Torana Car Commercials
Reader Reviews page 1 of 1
Click here to add your review
mick D
Posted Recently
Must agree wif bro dill Dylan
Posted Recently
Ugly rubbish car that is overrated by mentally retarded holden trash!
Posted Recently
Hi. Got the torana lh s 76 I've always wanted but having trouble finding chassis number. Can anyone tell me where it should be, i have looked at the drivers side rail but no luck yet.
Posted Recently
I saw a beautiful,origional LH SL 4.2 V8 at an all-Holden day one year-the first I'd seen for years and thought how rare and cool is this! The knob who now owns it decided to turn it into an SLR5000 replica with flares and crappy white paint. I saw it in a hotrod rag. I could have screamed when I saw it. Wheres the respect for our motoring heritage??
Posted Recently
My first car was an original 74 SLR 253. Colour was rare metallic cognac (bronze), it had low km and every option including factory twin exhaust and was 10 years old when I bought it. I was the 2nd owner and paid the pricey sum of $3000 for it. Subsequently drove it very hard, modified the engine, exhaust, etc continually lost points on my
Iicence and eventually sold it 5 years later to buy VC Commodore (what was I thinking!) and have had many new and older cars since including turbo imports and current model euro sports cars. SLR was still the best car I owned and would love to still own it now.
stockie 69
Posted Recently
hey could someone help i have a lx slr 3300ltr torana trying to find out if motor is original chass no is alx 011891 m engine no is QL344547 model is LX8VD69other tag number is 8D69LF j528235 X
Dianne Foley
Posted Recently
Forgot to add the Chassis number to previous post. It was ALH006291M. maybe engine is not with chassis any more if it's still around
Dianne Foley
Posted Recently
I am trying to find my Holden LH Torana - rego OKU170 6cyl 202 3300cc Eng No HL9065. I traded this vehicle in at Eagers Nundah in August 1988. It was painted Chrome Yellow and had a four speed manual gearbox. Was also fitted with 1/4" steel plate guards under sump and fuel tank. Would be really interested in looking at buying it back if it is still around
Posted Recently
Gday Alex I would say $5000-15000.
Posted Recently
i have a lh 253 sl [since new] 4 door would like to know current value if possible ,cannot find any info on this model only slrs
Posted Recently
I had the four cylinder model.It was slower than a holiday in Kabul. I pulled the Opel motor out and put in a 186 with 5-spd. Finally I had a Torana worth the Nameplate.
Posted Recently
My frist car was a LH Torana and I still have it 21 years later. I have had lots other cars but my Torana has a hold on me like no other car.
Torana the flying machine all that power makes you smile...
Posted Recently
Hi All,
Purchased a 1974 LH Torana for my son as a suprise. It has been full of suprises since we got it. Have managed to roadworthy + rego it BUT still problems and previous owner has gone off line, another suprise!!! Cannot find out exact modifications. Seems to be a 3.3 engine. What fuel is best for this model as the engine is running on after stopping? Only way to avoid this is to literally stall it when stopped. Also have to alternate between brake and accelerator when at lights to keep revs up so it doesn't stall itself. The hand brake is a foot brake with a manual release on the dash so a bit difficult for son to juggle as a new owner.
At the stage where a good kick or a falling gumtree is looking good. Where can I verify VIN and engine No? have tried Holden site but comes up as wrong numbers.
Very disappointed in whole project which was supposed to be fantastic suprise.
mr SLR
Posted Recently
hi anne how are you my name is ben and i also own a LH but mines a supercharged 308 gloss black shes my pride and joy its not street registerd because of the height and exhust if you'd like to talk about yours more or want to hear about mine i pretty much live on this sight and like to talk cars take care mr SLR
anne tassell
Posted Recently
I have a LH Torana 1974 with a 202 motor in very very good condition. It's my pride and joy. The best car that I have ever owned. This sight is great.
Posted Recently
your info is incorrect it was only the 73 bathurst onwards that the mods you listed were fitted, tubulat extractors and heaver cam were added. the 72 \'s were std 202's worked ,,, mark
John Gibson
Posted Recently
The LH is the best of the Torana's. Handsome,rugged,Aussie designed, Headlight dipper on the floor(where they should be) and pre-pollution motors fitted. LX isn't bad-but forget the UC-accountants had too big a say with that one. LH is the one to grab. Can't recall the last time i saw a V8 LH(or LX) in factory condition-must be rarer than hens teeth-and worth a fortune!!
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