Holden LC Torana GTR: Born to Fly!

15 November 2013
Peter Brock flies through the air at a Calder Park rallycross meeting in 1972. This LC Torana GTR nicknamed ‘The Beast’ was heavily modified by the Holden Dealer Team to dominate the spectacular if short-lived sport.

The LC Torana GTR XU-1 achieved so much in racing and rallying that the milder GTR version has tended to live in its shadow. However, the GTR was a very successful competition car in its own right that played a key role in the early careers of touring car legends Peter Brock and Dick Johnson.

The name ‘Torana’ is an Aboriginal word that means ‘to fly’. It proved to be an inspired choice by GM-H as its new six cylinder compact enjoyed sky high success in both the showroom and in competition.

The LC Torana GTR was thrust into motor sport duties soon after its launch in October 1969  and immediately proved how effective a powerful engine from a large family sedan shoehorned  into a much smaller car could be. 

Cleverly packaged and smartly detailed throughout, the GTR had a compact 2540 mm wheelbase, narrow 1300 mm track and athletic 1018 kg kerb weight, yet was powered by a high performance two-barrel version of the Kingswood’s 161 cid (2.6 litre) in-line six.

In this hotter 2600S form, GM-H claimed 125 bhp (93 kW) which blessed the GTR with spirited standing 400-metre times of just over 17 seconds and top speeds exceeding 105 mph (170 km/h).

Brock and The Beast mainly competed at Melbourne’s Calder track but made the occasional visit to Catalina Park in NSW. Note the substantial under-body protection at the front and big scoops on the rear quarters to feed air to the boot-mounted radiators. Bulge on the left side of the bonnet provided clearance for the supercharger’s induction system.

With its sporty four-speed gearbox, front disc brakes and stiffer suspension, the value-packed GTR was the right car at the right time aimed squarely at the youth market.

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