Car: 1977 Torana LX A9X four-door Hometown: Central Coast, NSW
When did you buy it? “I got it in 2009.” What do you know about its life?
“It was a barn nd, actually. A couple of mates told me about it at the pub one day, but I didn’t believe them. The story was that there was a guy who’s got this Torana, and it’s either an A9X or an XU-1. You think, ‘Oh yeah, sure’. Turns out it had been sitting in this guy’s shed since 1988. It had been stolen and then recovered, but he never had the money to put it back together again. It was just a rolling shell; he had the motor sitting next to it. He was a panel beater, and there was no bonnet on the car; he just had a big board across the front guards and had all his paints set out on there. When he had to paint a car, it got rolled out of the garage, and then rolled back in afterwards! It had been there like that for about 20 years – an A9X that was used as a paint cupboard! When it was stolen it was only gone for two days. It was found at Blacktown where they were chopping the car up at 2am, and the neighbours had complained to the police about the noise! So the cops came and busted them! That was lucky because they didn’t get the chance to rip too much out of it. They had the motor out, but a lot of the A9X stuff, like the special A9X radiator, was still there. I lost the compliance plate, so it’s got police numbers on it now. But I was lucky that the thieves didn’t steal too much off it. It took about 18 months to get it back roadworthy again. It was a labour of love – I was living in Sydney and the car was on the Central Coast, and I’d come up every Friday night and spend the weekend on it. I got the motor reconditioned, but the diff and gearbox are original. I had an SL 253 hatch which I had to sell to buy this and to pay for the work in xing this one. With this car I’ve done all the proper things. The last car I did up before this, I didn’t do all those things and you notice the difference.
How does it go?
“It’s 1970s fast, if that makes sense. You can’t compare it to a new car. But in the MC Hammer Time sessions at the Muscle Car Masters, I had it up to 190km/h down the straight, and that’s fast enough for me! It’s a lot of fun; we took it down to the historic meeting at Phillip Island earlier this year, went down with a big convoy with the XU-1 club, and it was a great weekend.”
Anything you’d like to add?
“I just love driving it. It’s like an addiction. After a week or two, you think, ‘God, I want to get in the Torana again!’ I could jump in it now and drive it to Queensland if I wanted to. I probably will never sell this car. But I think my son’s got his eye on it! The thing is: this car’s worth so much money, it’s like a piece of art – except that you don’t put it on the wall and look at it. It’s pointless having it in a garage just to look at; you’ve got to drive the things. That’s what they’re made for.”