Holden Torana LH

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Holden Torana

Holden Torana LH

1974 - 1976
4/6 cyl. & V8
1.9 ltr 4; 2.85/3.3 ltr. 6; 4.2/5.0 ltr. V8
101kW 202 and 179kW 308
3/4 spd. man; 3 spd. Trimatic
Top Speed:
142 kmh (202 motor)
Number Built:
70,184 (all models)
At last Australians could enjoy an Australian designed medium sized car from Holden - the LH Torana. Most agreed it was a big improvement over its predecessor, but was the LH a replacement or a different class of car?

Unlike the previous models that owed their heritage to the English Vauxhall (from its entirity in the HB to the chassis in the TA), the LH Torana series could best be described as a scaled down Kingswood.

Managing Director of GMH, Mr. Damon Martin, said the design and sizing of the LH was a direct response to the major evolutionary changes in demand for passenger cars in Australia. "Its keynote is versatility. LH is designed for those buyers who want an alternative to full-size vehicles but whose needs would not be satisfied by a small car".

At the time, Martin claimed the demand for the full size HQ Holden models remained strong and that market research convinced GMH that the demand for the larger HQ (available as a 'six' or V8) would exceed Torana sales by a ratio of three to one.

Martin added: "I think the LH will stand with other groundbreaking GMH cars such as the 48/215, the EH and the HQ - all of which have significantly influenced local car design"'.

The European heritage or the Torana was not, however, entirely forgotten with the 1900cc four cylinder engine still being sourced from Opel in Germany. More importantly for performance car enthusiasts was the new box on the 'options' list that read "V8".

The LH's new and contemporary body offered increased interior room over its predecessors, and was built to be a stronger more Australian car. To achieve this, the body size was increased, stronger bumpers were installed and the front panels were bolted on rather than simply welded.

The LH was offered in 3 different trim levels S, SL and the SL/R - the latter model not offered in 4 cylinder but fitted with a six as standard. The S and SL could be optioned with the smaller 4.2 liter V8, while the SL/R could be optioned with the 4.2 and 5.0 V8's.

The Holden enthusiast will probably have noticed by now that we have not mentioned the SL/R 5000 - the most desirable and collectable of the LH Torana range. The "5000" designation was only placed on the vehicle when the purchaser optioned the 5.0 liter V8. These cars were then suitably badged, and rather large front and rear air spoilers were fitted. We are often asked what exactly SL/R stood for, the answer is "Sports Luxury/Racing"

For touring car racing, (and of course Bathurst), Holden released the Torana SL/R 5000 L34 option package which incorporated even more body armour such as bolt-on wheel-arch flares and bigger 14 x 6 steel rally wheels. Although the motor was based on the standard 5.0-liter (308) block, stronger rods and pistons were installed, along with heads with modified ports and bigger valves, roller rockers, two-piece tubular exhaust headers, a modified inlet manifold and a twin-coil / twin-point ignition. This was all fed through a high pressure fuel pump utilizing the standard Rochester Q-jet carb modified with a manual choke.

First out, the L34 took second and third placings in 1974's Bathurst Classic, then went on to dominate the Mountain for the next two years, scoring back-to-back top three placings. The first all-Holden winner's podium was headed by Peter Brock and Brian Sampson in 1975, ahead of privateers Bob Morris and Frank Gardner, with the Holden Dealer Team's Colin Bond and John Walker coming in third.

The L34 returned to Bathurst in 1976 for another Torana trifecta. TV viewers nationwide saw an emotional Bob Morris willing team-mate John Fitzpatrick to nurse their battle-weary car across the line in first place. The Holden Dealer Team pairing of Colin Bond and John Harvey took second and a flying Peter Brock, who was lapping seconds faster than anyone else after overcoming mechanical problems, snatched third. The event was a Holden whitewash, with Torana's filling the first seven positions.

With such success at the racetrack, and as you would expect, Aussies much preferred the 6 cylinder and V8 engined Torana's over the 4 cylinder models. To try and stimulate interest, GMH introduced a "Plus 4" pack, garishly painted in red, green or yellow. While the large SL/R 5000 decals could be worn with pride, the 'Plus 4' decals probably drew far too much attention to the fact that you had the smallest engine in the range. Admittedly GM did make the Plus 4 more appealing by adding features such as front bucket seats, full carpeting, a clock and power front disc brakes - options that would be carried over to the Sunbird in later models.

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Also see:

Torana LH Specifications
Torana LH Brochure
Torana LH L34 SL/R 5000
Torana Car Commercials
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