Resurrection of the Torana LH
Geoffrey Moore has always been taken by the Torana. It’s no question why especially when it’s one of Australia’s all-time favourite cars, so what are the chances of him finding one in a backyard? Neglected for years and left unclaimed, Geoff came face-to-face with an incredible piece of history: the 1974 Holden Torana LH. While it lay in slumber, the car’s aesthetics was marred by the natural elements but underneath all that rust lies the powerful Aussie muscle of yesteryear, and Geoff took it upon himself to bring the beast back to life.
Often referred to as Holden’s best performing sports car, the Torana reigned steadily at the top throughout the 1970s. In March 1974, the first all Australian medium sized car was introduced in the form of a four-door sedan. With all of its mechanical and body parts designed and assembled locally, the LH was the first Holden series to come with four, six, or eight cylinder engines and would be one of the few cars to be built like so.
At the top of the sporting range was the SL/R 5000, reserved for the sedan version and was undoubtedly the most desirable of the whole series. This new introduction capitalised on its predecessors’ strong points such as good power to weight ratio, good handling, solid build, and reliability. It was also more spacious than previous Toranas with its improved interior and had better serviceability with its sturdier bumpers and bolt on the front sheet metal.
Having produced its fastest car yet, it’s obvious something needed to be done for Bathurst. Holden released a new option package known as the L34 and added it to the already powerful SL/R 5000, transforming the Torana into a racing machine. To accommodate for competition use, the L34 was made to be more powerful and durable with high compression engine and stouter components. Its signature feature was the bolt-on wheel arch extensions, designed to house larger racing rims and tyres.
The L34 proved to be fast and successful in Australian touring car racing. Only 263 were built in this variant, making this a precious collectable if you’re lucky to get your hands on one.
For Geoff who’s only ever had Holdens in his garage, owning a Torana is like a second calling. Given the condition it was in, a full ground-up restoration was undisputed. Geoff saw the end outcome before he even got started, and there was no doubt whether he was getting his hands dirty in the process. Looking at where it is today, it is almost unrecognisable with a notably clean bright shade of green and modern rims. “It was built to suit my taste,” says Geoff. Re-building this car is one of his favourite memories and you can just imagine what it must feel like the day he got behind the wheel of his hard work!