The ultimate Torana's from the LJ series were obviously the 1972
Spec XU-1's. But the more "standard" LJ GTR's were still an outstanding car, and offered performance the match of most other performance cars at the time.
In many respects the LJ GTR, with its stock 202, was every bit the equal for the LC GTR XU-1
, with its warm 186S - if you put the two cars head to head, there was very little in it. But that's not exactly comparing apples with apples - when you compared the LJ against the LC GTR, with its warm 161, there was no question that the new iteration was quicker point to point, and did so with less effort.
While the LJ facelift was rather subtle, it was the sporting GTR's that benefitted the most from the makeover. And that's before we mention the amazing colors on offer - the
psychedelic '60's may have seemed so last decade, except that is if you were driving a hot Torana. Amoung the options were "Strike Me Pink" and "Barneys Shirt" - rumor has it that, when they were chosing color scheme's, the boys at GMH liked the color of Barney's shirt - and thus begat the name.
Inside the LJ GTR the seats were improved, the engineers going to some length to stop the often complained about "bouncing sensation" experienced in the LC. The instrument layout remained unchanged,
although the droopy fascia it was housed in was dropped. Instead, the padding ran the width of the car in a clean unbroken line. The radio was re-located to the centre of the fascia.
Front head restraints were standard, and small changes were made to neaten up the internal appearancce of the car. Subtle changes included using a recessed grip on the glovebox (instead of the LC's protruding knob), and the dashtop ashtray was replaced by a pair of HQ Holden
door-trim mounted units.
As for the GTR XU-1
, well it underwent constant development, with each
facet of the car being improved as required for racing
until the ultimate version was released in September
Revisions during the life of the XU-1 included the fitment of fine-spline rear axles and 13 x 6 Globe Sprintmaster
wheels in September 1972
, along with
tubular exhaust headers (extractors), a beefier block and pistons,
a new head casting and a bigger cam. All this made the 202 good for around 200bhp (although exact figures were never published).
But GMH did release the following statement; "The XU-1 model
incorporates a number of high performance features which
boost its bhp to 190 at 5600 rpm...the XU-1 model features
two functional spoilers, one under the nose for negative
lift, the other above the rear compartment lid for downward
No wonder then that, with Peter Brock at the wheel, an LJ GTR-XU1
was to win Bathurst in 1972
. The following
year, Brock and co-driver Doug Chivas would almost repeat
the performance, but had to settle for second place
behind Allan Moffat
and Ian (Pete) Geoghegan in their
The Ford fans were naturally enough happy
to take the win, even if it was only by a mere 50 seconds,
while Holden fans were left to lament the bad luck that
had seen the mighty little GTR-XU-1 loose 3 minutes
when, while driven
by Chivas, it had run out of fuel!