The Holden Torana is a mid-sized car manufactured by Holden from 1967 to 1980. The name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning “to fly”. The first Torana (HB series) was released in 1967 and was a four-cylinder compact vehicle with origins in the British Vauxhall Vivas of the mid-1960s.

Whilst the 1969-73 (LC and LJ series) cars included more popular, longer-wheelbase six-cylinder versions, and with the 1974-77 (LH and LX series) cars adding eight-cylinder versions to the mix, a range of four-cylinder versions continued for the entire production life of the Torana (with later versions being marketed as the Holden Sunbird from November 1976).

Changing tack in Australian motor sport, Holden released the LC Torana GTR XU-1 in 1970, with performance-enhanced drivetrain and handling. From this time through to the release of the Holden Commodore, the Torana remained Holden’s most successful sports/performance vehicle, with many victories garnered in rallying and circuit racing.

The mildly facelifted LX series arrived in February 1976. Cosmetically, the most obvious changes were to replace the LH’s rectangular headlights with round headlights, side window surrounds were changed from body colour to black, and the front Holden badge was enlarged. A two-door hatchback body was introduced as an alternative to the four-door sedan, although the 1,897-cc Opel unit was not offered in the new body style. Soon after its introduction, in July 1976, the LX was subjected to performance-reducing engine modifications to comply with new mid-year emission regulations.

When the LX Torana was introduced, it featured a choice of four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. In November 1976 the four-cylinder Torana was revised and relaunched as the Holden LX Sunbird. Reflecting the new emissions rules, power from the Opel-sourced engine was down from 76 to 72 kW (102 to 96 hp). From this point, all four-cylinder models were marketed as Sunbirds and the six- or eight-cylinder models as Toranas. The original LX series such as the HOLDEN LX HATCH, Sunbird was a single-trim range, with four-speed manual and three-speed automatic transmissions. There were minor trim differences compared to the Torana, notably the grille (with vertical bars) and distinctive chrome wheel covers. It was marketed as a four-door sedan and as a three-door hatchback, unlike the short-lived four-cylinder LX Torana. The introduction of Sunbird also coincided with the first attempt by Holden to add a handling package to its range of cars. The introduction of ‘radial-tuned suspension’ (RTS) began with the LX Sunbird sedan and hatchback and then the LX Torana.

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