The original HB Holden Torana was based on the HB Vauxhall Viva that replaced the aged HA Vauxhall. It would receive only minor upgrades to the 4 cylinder motor; there’s not much race car in there compared to later models. Made in 2 and 4-door sedans, externally only the badges differentiate it from its Vauxhall siblings.
The LC Torana took a lot of styling cues from the, then unreleased, HQ Holden design. It was available in both 4 and 6 cylinder engines. The four bangers were Vauxhall designs but with a few upgrades. The 6-cylinder engine was Holdens venerable power unit used in their full-size passenger cars in Australia and New Zealand. Later models received a few engine upgrades culminating in the GTR and then the GTR XU-1. The XU-1 was successfully raced against V8 cars which created a cult-following that has lasted until this day.
The LJ Torana was even more obviously influenced by the HQ Holden styling and with several engines upgrades to the XU-1 model which became famous by beating V8s at Bathurst.
The LH Torana upsized significantly compared to the LJ and was noticeably wider. Unlike its bigger Holden brothers, it was praised for its handling and came with 4,6 and 8-cylinder engine options. The LH Torana can easily be distinguished from the LX as it has square headlamps but these were short-lived when the LX model appeared with conventional round headlamps.
Available as a lift-back and sedan, the LX Torana was a mild facelift but contained a number of important engineering updates including (eventually) the so-called radial-tuned suspension that provided much better handling with an acceptable ride specifically favouring radial tyres which were quickly becoming the de facto standard at the time. A wide range of engine options remained with 4, 6 and 8 cylinder engines available including the collectable SS and SLR models. The rarest being the race-homologated A9X option package.
With a few tweaks to engines to meet emissions regulations and new colours and wheels, the front and rear styling was updated but still used the same 2 and 4-door shells dating back to the ‘74 LH. More up-market SL/E models featured better trim and such modern advancements as a laminated windscreen! The 4-cylinder “1900” engine was replaced by a Holden designed replacement but it didn’t win many fans for its rough and ready nature. Currently, 6 and 8-cylinder models are not as collectible as the LH or LX models due to the lack of racing pedigree. Very few remain rust free as they were as bad as any car of that era for the dreaded rot.