The Holden Torana LX Is Coming Back to Bully Ford After 46 Years

One of Australia's muscle car icons is rising from the grave with more motor, less weight, and better suspension. Streuth!
Peter Brock's Bathurst 1000-winning Holden Torana A9X
Bryn Lennon via Getty Images

Gone but not forgotten, Australia’s homegrown carmaker Holden left its mark on the Land Down Under as a symbol of national pride. This erstwhile division of General Motors rose to the world-class challenge that was the might of Ford, and sometimes beat it, both on and off the racetrack. One of the cars that did so was the iconic Torana, which notched some of Holden’s greatest racing wins. It may yet claim more, because an updated Torana is entering production almost a half century after the original’s discontinuation.

The Torana was Holden’s staple midsize car between 1967 and 1980, rolling off the line as both sedans and fastback coupes. It succeeded the Monaro as Holden’s racing representative, with the six-cylinder Torana XU-1 dancing around the more brutish Ford Falcon to win the 1972 Bathurst 1000 in a huge upset. Later on, 5.0-liter V8-powered L34 and A9X racing specials would dominate Australia’s racing scene through the late ’70s. It was enough to etch the Torana’s name into legend—and into the mind of one Andrew South.

South, a veteran of the V8 Supercars paddock, Australian Formula 3, and the Targa Tasmania, has established a venture called Drive South to make an enhanced version of the 1976-1978 Torana, or LX. It’s somewhere between a resto-mod like the HWA Mercedes 190E and a Shelby-style “continuation” car, but with modern engineering. And of course, a new name, because GM still holds the rights to the Torana. Instead, it’ll just be called the 2024 Drive South Hatch.

This Torannabe (get it?) will use an extruded aluminum floorpan with a tubular steel roof structure for maximum strength, all while reducing weight. A fiberglass body won’t add much back, nor will a 6.2-liter GM Performance LS3 V8—as seen in the Commodore. Its 429 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque will meet your choice of a six-speed transmission (Tremec manual or a sturdy 6L80 automatic) and be sent to a limited-slip rear differential based on the renowned Ford nine-inch.

Ross Graham driving a 1977 Holden Torana during the Targa Rally on May 14, 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Ross Graham driving a 1977 Holden Torana during the Targa Rally on May 14, 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Mead Norton Photography via Getty Images

For suspension, there’ll be double-wishbone front and multilink rear, with four-piston Wilwood brakes and 18-inch forged wheels at all four corners. Electro-hydraulic power steering is standard, as are power windows and air conditioning. Leather-wrapped Recaro front seats and an 11-inch Kenwood infotainment screen under a carbon fiber dashboard will complete the interior. In all, it sounds more like a streetable track car, much like the greatest Toranas of yore were.

Best of all, Drive South tells Street Machine that the first example is already being assembled, and could be complete later this year. Australia’s low-volume manufacturer laws will reportedly allow production of up to 100 cars annually, each of which will retail for the U.S. equivalent of about $167,000. So, you’re not about to see them storming the road like they did in late-’70s Australia. But a track here in the Americas? Don’t count it out.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com