Bob’s To­rana

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Mail -

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’?

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