ALL THE DETAILS YOU’LL EVER NEED
1967 HB HB – NOT QUITE THE VAUXHALL
HOLDEN’S FIRST Torana, assembled at the Acacia Ridge plant in Queensland from May 1967, started as a mildly modded verison of the HB Vauxhall. It was pitched as a lively compact with the range expanding to include a four-door. As the series developed, it gained greater local content and influences, with the most desirable early version being the ‘sporty’ two-door Brabham. Production continued to 1969.
1969 LC HERE COMES THE SIX
THIS IS where the Torana very much became its own car, taking a serious departure from its Vauxhall heritage. It was now longer and more substantial, in part to accommodate a big range of six-cylinder engines. While you could still get a four in the nose, the basic six was a 2250cc unit. You could option up to a more powerful 2600. This is the generation where we see the emergence of the legendary performance models: the GTR and GTR XU-1. Production ran from 1969 to 1972.
1972 LJ MORE REFINEMENT
WHILE THE cosmetic differences (particularly the grille) are the give-away for this series, it picked up some refinements including some useful chassis improvements over its lifetime. Four four-pot and three six-cylinder engines were offered over the life of the LJ, with the hero powerplant being the 3300cc six – or the 202 out of the bigger HQ range. This was the series (in XU-1 form) which defeated the dominant Fords at Bathurst in 1972. Production ran from 1972 to 1974.
1974 LH BIGGER AND BOXIER
NOW THE Torana becomes a full mid-sized family sedan – a long way from where it started in its Vauxhall days. While you could still get a four (a 1900cc Opel unit), sixes were the dominant powerplant in 2850 or 3300 form. Though GMH had toyed with a prototype V8 in the previous LJ series, this was the first time we saw one in a Torana. Your choices were the 4.2lt (aka 253) and the 5.0lt (aka 308). It was versions of the latter that went on to power some legendary models, including the SL/R 5000 and the first series of A9X. Production ran from 1974 to 1976.
1976 LX HERE COMES THE HATCH
WHILE THE LX four-doors were essentially a facelift of their predecessors, the big news was the introduction of a three-door hatchback. This transformed what started as a boxy-looking car into a nicely-proportioned coupe. Four, six and eight-pot engines continued to be offered, but new emission rules led to some minor strangulation. Of course this is when we saw the introduction of the limited-run race-inspired A9X hatchback, which is now a $250,000 car. The LX series also saw the introduction of the Sunbird name for an updated four. Production ran from 1976 to 1978.
1978 UC THE FINAL YEARS
IT SEEMS as though, with the UC, the Torana settled into some kind of automotive middle age. Gone were the V8s, while the four-cylinder Sunbird outlasted them all – even the sixes. The cars had a modernised appearance inside and out, while the good news was you could still get a six-cylinder hatchback which, with the 3300, was easily the pick of the range. With the appearance of the Commodore – which was more compact than an HZ – there was considerable doubt over the role of the Torana range. In the end this was a short run. Production started in 1978 and the sixes were phased out in 1979. The Sunbird followed in September 1980.