Holden Torana – GTR-X Torana

Holden wanted to add a sports couple to its line of vehicles in July of 1969.  So, by December of 1969 the first body style prototype was drafted which included a fiberglass body making it lightweight.  The vehicle was made up of three sections: the back, the body, and the front.

These three parted sections were bonded together to create a sleek coupe.  It was reinforced with steel and filled with resin along with a roll bar for protection.  The dash on the driver side had all of the bells and whistles including a speedometer, radio, ammeter, oil pressure gauge, fuel gauge, vacuum gauge, temperature gauge, electric clock, tacho, a radio, and several warning indicators.  It was an exciting looking car that had a lot to offer under the hood as well.

Now, under the hood the GTR-X Torana was just as special.  The Holden six cylinder was to be used in this vehicle along with the Torana running gear developed by Harry Firth.  The GTR-X had a triple carb 186S in prototype, but would eventually be produced with a 202 just as the XU-1 had.  This allowed for extra acceleration and better disc brakes (four wheel).  Speed was the name of the game with this vehicle.  The GTR-X was supposed to be fast.

The GTR-X weighed approximately 1,043 kilograms (2,299 pounds) and was able to reach a top speed of 210 kilometres/hour (130 miles/hour).  This was one of the most magnificent sports cars to ever be dreamed of.  It had four-wheel disc brakes with a vacuum system, seat belts that were retractable, a fuel tank that was foam filled and electric windows.

The GTR-X would have a 12-gallon fuel tank, which was a nice size tank on a sports car like this.  However, it would also be filled with polyurethane.  Polyurethane helped to prevent surges.  Headlamps where beams that had vacuum actuators that would go up and down into the hood of the vehicle. Beautiful to say the least.  There was even a title mechanism on the steering wheel.

The GTR-X fuel tank held roughly 12 gallons but was also filled with polyurethane (PUR) to prevent surges.  Headlamps were rectangular retractable type beams by way of vacuum actuators. Steering was recirculating ball type with 14” wheel fitted with a tilt mechanism.

The GTR-X was Holden’s best and most advanced vehicle to date; however, by the time 1973 approached production of the vehicle never took place.  It is assumed that cash flow was a worry and the idea of making money on a vehicle such as this discounted the idea.  Documentation showed that the vehicle would need to be sold for eight years to show a profit for all of the production, design and tools used during development.

Although production was close, the decision was made not to produce the GTR-X due to cost even after marketing materials were printed and delivered.  Although there were a couple of concept cars developed, it is unfortunate the GTR-X did not get to make a name for itself with all of the hype.  It will always be known as one of Australia’s best known prototypes.

Some of the promotional material developed about the GTR-X, said, “Its long, sleek hood is accentuated by a low, wedge-shaped grille. The body line sweeps up at the rear to an elevated tail light assembly. Simplicity is the keynote. It is achieved by concealed headlights, sharp windshield rake, recessed parking and turning lights, and flush petrol filler access and door handles. Front and rear bumpers assume the contour of the body. To identify the car, the GTR-X identification is contained within a crisp black and orange stripe running parallel to the rocker panel”.

The reasons to start production that were put forward by the sales team included: that this car would allow greater utilisation of existing components, that is no new tooling or setup costs for the mechanicals, this vehicle would lift the image of the Holden product lineup and the visual appeal of the car in showrooms would provide a focal point encouraging walk in traffic.

GTR-X General Information

General Information
Layout: Front-Engine/RWD
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
Type: Inline-6
Displacement: 3050 cc
Horsepower: 160 bhp @ 5200 rpm
Torque: 190 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
0-60 mph: 8.3 sec
Top Speed: 130 mph