To­rana’s bumper years

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test - TIMBLAIR blairt@dai­lytele­

IN the world of au­to­mo­tive me­dia head­lines, ‘‘ To­rana Re­turns’’ is the Holden fre­quency equiv­a­lent to ‘‘ Fal­con Dies’’. Both head­lines cy­cle through the mo­tor­ing press ev­ery few years, yet the To­rana re­mains res­o­lutely dead while Ford’s Fal­con survives (well, for a bit longer).

Odd that we rarely hear about re­vived Holden Gem­i­nis or Cami­ras, ex­cept in pri­vate me­chan­i­cal re­ports. But To­rana is a cel­e­brated ti­tle, cur­rently be­ing at­tached to Chevro­let’s promis­ing Code 130R con­cept car.

By any name, the 130R would prob­a­bly drive as sweet. It’s the lat­est sign that rear­wheel drive is re­turn­ing to our roads, with all the dy­namic ben­e­fits of that for­mat. But a To­rana-badged ver­sion of Chevro­let’s two-door sedan would surely need to in­cor­po­rate some his­tor­i­cal To­rana de­sign fea­tures.

For ex­am­ple, Holden should look at bumper bars in­spired by those at­tached to the LH To­rana. These bar­gain- base­ment traf­fic-stop­pers rolled off assem­bly lines like roof gut­ter­ing, be­ing cut and crimped to fit the front and rear of To­ranas from 1974 to 1980.

The 130R demon­strates a rather less cash-con­strained ap­proach to low-im­pact col­li­sion is­sues. Tech­nol­ogy marches on but those old-time To­rana bumpers are eter­nal.


ONE rea­son for the need of im­proved bumper tech­nol­ogy: the driver’s vi­sion out of to­day’s cars is far less than in cars of decades past. Re­verse park­ing is now a mat­ter of sound (crash! tin­kle! in­sur­ance claim!) more than sight, which is why so many cur­rent ve­hi­cles have rear-view cam­eras. The orig­i­nal Range Rover re­quired no such tech as­sis­tance, thanks to pro­vid­ing more glass than you’d find in all of Melbourne’s bot­tle shops. To ride in one of these early 4WDS is to see the world through ’ 70s cine­mas­cope. Those seek­ing a retro Range Rover ex­pe­ri­ence are ad­vised to scope out grae­me­ in the UK, now of­fer­ing for sale sev­eral early Ran­g­ies.


FOR­MULA One has de­liv­ered four dif­fer­ent win­ners from the first four races of 2012, a vari­a­tion of early-sea­son vic­tors not seen since 1983. As in ’ 83, the world driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship will prob­a­bly go to a driver who com­bines solid point-scor­ing with op­por­tunis­tic wins. Brazil’s Nel­son Pi­quet was sec­ond af­ter four rounds in 1983, on his way to the world ti­tle.

Eter­nal ap­peal: To­rana’s bumper, mod­elled here on an A9X

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