Holden Torana LX A9X

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LX Holden Torana A9X

Holden Torana A9X

Holden LX Torana A9X

1977 - 1978
L31 / L34 V8
240 bhp @ 4800 rpm
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
Number Built:
5 star
Holden LX Torana A9X
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 5


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.

The introduction of Radial Tuned Suspension on the LX Torana was announced with great fanfare, GMH running full page ads in most of the dailys. The HZ Holden came in for its share of publicity too, it being the first ever production Holden to sport four-wheel disc brakes.

But unlike the regular Torana's, the A9X received no such publicity, instead it being quietly released onto the market and slipped into dealer showrooms around the country. The fact that the A9X was unquestionably the best Torana to date, and arguably the best Holden ever, was not mentioned. Perhaps the "anti-super-car journalists" had prompted the marketers to keep a low profile.

Whatever the reason, it didn't really matter. The A9X had a job to do, and that job was at Mount Panorama. The name A9X was chosen as it was one of a long series of code names available exclusively to GMH (the A prefix being used much the same as Z prefixes are used by Chevrolet).

While a member of the LX Torana family, the car actually used a UC Torana floorpan, enabling it to use the General's new Salisbury rear axle and disc brakes set-up. With only 380 A9X's being manufactured, there are many imitators out there, and if buying one checking the rear axle and brake assembly can be an easy way of identifying a wanna-be (as fitment of this set-up to an LX floorpan is practically impossible).

Another UC Torana innovation adopted for the A9X was the direct mounting of the steering gear onto the chassis, and by ditching the copius amounts of rubber, steering feedback finally reached near XU-1 quality. While the LH L34 SL/R5000 was a great car, it did not offer the finesse or drivability of the XU-1. But things had changed for the better with the A9X, and without question it was a better car.

The rear disc brakes were a blessing, once and for all ridding the Torana of the unnerving tendency of the rear drum brakes on V8's to lock up when there was an abrupt weight transfer. In fact, everything on the A9X was purpose built, almost "over-engineered". For example, the front spoiler incorporated special vents that piped cool air directly onto the front calipers, in turn helping to reduce fade. Extracting every last inch of power from the 308 was helped by ditching the power robbing belt-driven cooling fan and replacing it with a pair of Davis Craig electric units.

97 km/h
135 km/h
179 km/h
210 km/h
Stock A9X Top Speed In Gears / M21
ADR27A regulations introduced in 1976 meant the L34 308 V8 engine could not be used, so the A9X had to make do with the L31. Fortunately though, the L34 engine could be used at Bathurst as it was already homologated. Road going A9X's used a 3.08 diff, while the Bathurst specials used a taller ratio so they could reach take-off speed along conrod straight. The taller gearing meant that the car ran at 44.8 km/h @ 1000 rpm in fourth, which translated into an awesome 268.8 km/h.

The Radial Tuned Suspension (RTS) set-up meant the A9X carried new upper control arms, new geometry plus suitably revised shocker mountings (along with the previously mentioned direct mounting of the steering to the chassis). Out back were new upper and lower control arm pivots and shocker mounts. The cabin came in for a few minor revisions, the existing Torana full-foam bucket seats being mounted slightly higher to allow better forward vision, and best of all for the road going variety, the radio was no longer an extra-cost option.

The A9X was ready to show its dominance at the Mount, however the Ford camp were not going to have the trophy wrested from their grip quite that easily. At the 1977 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 only Peter Janson and Larry Perkins would take an A9X to the podium, the pair finishing behind the Allan Moffat / Jacky Ickx and Colin Bond / Alan Hamilton XC Cobra's - a win that to this day remains in many people's opinions to be Ford's finest hour at the Mount.

Things changed the following year, with Peter Brock / Jim Richards taking out the 1978 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, and Allan Grice / John Leffler coming in second. Murray Carter and Graeme Lawrence managed a podium for Ford in their XC. The following year at the 1979 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 it was all A9X, they filling the first 8 positions. The A9X came, and conquered, all contenders.

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Also see:

Torana LX Sedan
Torana LX Hatch
Torana LX Specifications
Torana Identification
Torana Race Legacy
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Posted Recently
I had the 202 a9x...one of 3 made...beige glow, with cream vinyl upholstery...traded up to a cm valiant car in 1981.
Posted Recently
Yes they were a purpose built race car...all the components were fancy...but virtually the competition were all close to factory spec...kind of dulls it's merits in my opinion!
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