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Hot Rods Down Under


LJ Torana



In February 1972, the LJ Torana was introduced to bring the six-cylinder Torana range into visual association with the larger HQ Holden series. Many mechanical components were shared, and essentially this model was a facelifted LC, with the major changes limited to the choice of engines. Whilst the 2250 and 2850 engines carried over, the 3300 engine (known as the 202 in the HQ range) was adopted as the engine for the latest LJ Torana GTR sedan. Gearbox choices remained the same across the range.

A race-bred version of the 3300 engine was also fitted to the LJ Torana GTR XU-1, producing well over 200 brake horsepower. By now equipping the XU-1 with the 202ci engine and larger 1.75in CD triple carburettors, as well as a new close ratio M21 4-speed Australian made transmission, this gave the nimble XU-1 the power boost it needed to seriously challenge the powerful Phase Three Ford XY Falcon GT-HO, which had won the previous 1971 Hardie-Ferodo 500 production car endurance race held annually at Bathurst.

In the somewhat wet 1972 Hardie-Ferodo 500, the lightweight HDT Torana GTR XU-1 was able to finally claim victory against the heavyweight GT-HO, driven solo for 500 miles at the hands of Peter Brock. This would be the start of the 'Peter Perfect'/Torana legend, and the first of five Bathurst wins for the Torana in its colourful ten year racing career at Bathurst.

Holden also developed a 308ci V8-powered version of the GTR XU-1, often referred to as the GTR XU-2, but the car never made it past the prototype stage. This was due to the 'Supercar Scare' of 1972, which involved vast political pressure being placed upon Holden, Ford and Chrysler to abandon their proposed specially-built 'Bathurst Supercars', such as the XU-2. This was the result of a media frenzy that was reporting against these soon-to-be released "bullets on wheels" available to the general public. In effect, all three manufacturers bowed to this pressure, and Holden would postpone its introduction of a V8 Torana for two years until the release of the slightly larger LH series Torana in 1974.

A total of 81,813 LJ Toranas were built by Holden in Australia, with some exported to New Zealand, but only in 6-cylinder form, likely due to the similar 4-cylinder Vauxhall Viva HC range being sold there as well.

Production 1972–1974
Body style(s) 2 door sedan
  4 door sedan
Engine(s) 1.2L OHV I4
  1.3L OHV I4
  1.6L OHC I4 (1972 only)
  1.8L OHC I4 (late 1972-1974)
  138 / 2.25L OHV I6
  173 / 2.85L OHV I6
  202 / 3.3L OHV I6

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