Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Holden Torana was a car produced by General Motors Holden (GMH), the Australian subsidiary of General Motors. The name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning 'to fly'. It had its origins in the British Vauxhall Vivas of the mid 1960s. The first Torana (HB) appeared in Australia in 1967 and the final model was phased out by 1980.
|Engines:||1.1 L I4|
|Engines:||1.2, 1.6 L I4|
138, 161, 186 in³ I6
|Engines:||1.2, 1.3, 1.6 L I4|
138, 172, 202 in³ I6
|Engines:||1.9 L I4|
2.85, 3.3 L I6
4.2, 5.0 L V8
|Engines:||1.9 L I4|
2.85, 3.3 L I6
4.2, 5.0 L V8
|Engines:||2.85, 3.3 L I6|
The first Torana model was a facelifted Vauxhall Viva and featured a two-door body, 12 inch (305 mm) wheels and a lethargic 1.1 litre four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed gearbox.
The next generation of Toranas (LC) appeared in 1969 and were available with either a four or six cylinder engine. The inline six had a capacity of 138 cubic inches (2250 cc), the same capacity as the first 48-215 Holden of 1948. The six-cylinder cars had a slightly longer nose to accommodate the larger engine, and offered a choice of three and four-speed manual gearbox or a three-speed Trimatic automatic transmission. The Torana was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1969.
Body styles were either two or four doors, and were offered in S or SL trim. Bench or bucket front seats were also an option, along with disc front brakes. A more-powerful 161 cubic inch (2600 cc) engine was made available soon after the model's release in the more upmarket SL and sporting two-door GTR. In 1969 the first genuine performance Torana, the XU-1, was released for an assault on the Bathurst 500 motor race. It added a 186 cubic inch (3 L) six cylinder engine fitted with three Stromberg carburettors, headers, a performance camshaft and a four-speed gearbox. This car featured a rear spoiler, racing stripes, guard flutes, wider steel rims, full instrumentation and front disc brakes as standard.
At this time GMH also experimented with a true sports car, the X1, which featured the 186 engine and numerous components borrowed from the Torana, but in a low-slung two-door fibreglass body. Only a couple of examples were produced for evaluation, and the project was subsequently shelved.
In 1972, the LJ Torana was introduced to bring the Torana range into line with the larger HQ Holden series. Many components were shared, and essentially this model was a facelifted LC, with the major changes limited to the choice of engines. While the base level 2250 remained, the 2600 was replaced by a 2850cc (the base engine in the larger HQ Holden sedan)and an optional 3300cc engine. Gearbox choices remained the same across the range. The 3300 engine was also fitted to the LJ XU-1 Torana, again with three carburettors.
Early 1974 saw the first completely new Torana body with the arrival of the larger LH, which deleted the two-door option. Despite the larger external size, the car was relatively cramped by mid-1970s standards. It resembled other GM products of its generation, notably the Opel Ascona.
Trim levels were S and SL for the sedan, available in virtually all configurations: 1·9 (from Opel), 2·85, 3·3, and 4·2 L engines. There was the option of the 5·0 L V8 for the SL/R, creating one of the most famous Toranas, the SL/R 5000.
The facelifted LX arrived in 1975, primarily to embody engine modifications to meet recently-introduced emission regulations. Engines were again offered in four, six and eight-cylinder configurations, and a two-door body re-appeared as the Hatchback—in modern terms a liftback with a sloping rear end—in SL (3·3 L six) or SS trim (all options: 3·3, 4·2 and 5·0). The 1,892 cm³ Opel unit was not offered on the Torana liftbacks, though it was made available with the Holden Sunbird, which was spun off from the main Torana range as the four-cylinder variant in 1976. From this point, Holden could no longer claim that the Torana was the only car in Australia with the choice of a four-, six- or eight-cylinder engine.
The first attempt by Holden to add a handling package to its family sedans saw the introduction of radial-tuned suspension to the LX range.
For 1976, the LX Torana Plus 4 sedan was offered. This had body-coloured bumpers and black decals. While it had sporting pretensions, it was powered by the four-cylinder unit.
The LH and LX series also saw the develop of limited-number high-performance vehicles aimed at the annual Bathurst 500 race. These included the L34 four-door (from September 1974 through the 1975 model year) and A9X hatchback (1977) Toranas that featured high-performance 5-litre V8s, special gearboxes, suspension modifications, rear disc brakes and larger diameter wheels.
The introduction of the UC Torana in 1978 saw the demise of the V8 engines. The greatly rationalized choices were now the 2·85 L six for the S and SL sedans, or the 3·3 L inline six for the SL sedan and hatch (automatic only).
Rumours about Holden resurrecting the Torana name surface from time to time. In the mid-1990s, one rumour was that 'Torana' could grace a new version of the Opel Vectra, although Holden chose the Vectra name, already in use in New Zealand.
In 2004, Holden released a sporty five-door concept car called the Torana TT36. The model was said to début a new platform for General Motors and preview the look of the 2006 model year VE Commodore. In terms of size, it was marginally bigger than the Opel Vectra C on the outside, though considerably roomier.
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