The photo of Bob Tindal’s Torana Sports Sedan in the Whaddayaknow section prompted me to write with some recollections.
In the 1970s I met Bob at his then workshop just off Sydney Road at Balgowlah (on Sydney’s Northern Beaches). Jane Taylor and I purchased a Mini Sports Sedan from him. Bob was a big lad and pictures of him in a Mini are very special.
He had just upgraded to his LJ ‘mid-front engine’ Sports Sedan which was initially green then red. A basic Holden shell with a bloody big hole cut in the centre for a 308 engine initially. The car ran a Volvo diff and disc rear-end and a four-speed ‘ box. Handling was not its strong suit from memory.
I had some contact with Mike Ward, who was the chief engineer for Kevin McIntyre’s KMAC in Sydney and did lots of study on suspension theory as it was understood in the 1970s. So when Bob decided to build the LX hatch he asked me to assist.
By this time he had moved his operation to Chard Road, Brookvale. The car started as a chalk outline on the workshop floor .The only thing Holden was the roof and turrets/door shuts. Bob had a Repco F5000 motor and injection by this time and the plan was to build a RHS mild steel space frame type car.
The photo in issue #89 is later in the car’s life as the front spoiler is different and the exhaust initially exited under the sill rather than through the guard as shown. I have an album of colour photos of the final assembly and some of the racing at Amaroo, Oran Park and Calder. From memory Bob won the championship at Calder Some interesting facts: The plan was to use a Hewland to make the rear IRS, but cost prohibited the idea so I drew up some four-link and Watts link for Ford 9”. We built in lots of adjustment and anti-squat was available by adjustment. We tried a Detroit diff but soon went to a welded centre.
I think there were four versions of the front suspension before we had the bump steer and camber change where I wanted them – unequal length with coil-over.
Brake were four-piston and vented with a booster mounted along with the battery in the rear. Alternator was toothbelt drive from the very short prop shaft.
The team mocked the car up and Bob was very upset that he could not fit between the Repco and the door! So...
...we added about 150mm to the wheel base and built an ‘LTD Torana’ to get Bob in to what was nearly the backseat.
The car was measured and the dimensions listed in the logbook application. CAMS issued the book and the team was instructed on pain of death not to park the car near a Torana hatch in the pits!
The ‘screwtneers’ checked the wheel base twice during the time I was involved, referring to the log book it was given the tick each time.
With 550bhp and a live rear-axle it was traction limited because the biggest wheels allowed were 10-inch and crossply slicks. The welded diff made it push on corner entry and we tried lots of things but at the end of the day it was an LTD Torana!
Hope this is of interest. Rob Kemp Pine Mountain, QLD ED: Great insight, thanks Rob. We wonder what became of the ‘LTD Torana’?