Looking back on Adam Slorach's blown V8 Holden HB Torana. Don't be fooled by the shiny paint, this cool cruiser was built to burn rubber
This article on Adam's Holden HB Torana was originally published in the August 2013 issue of Street Machine
WE DON’T reckon Adam Slorach would mind us saying that his infamous satin black Holden HR ute, NUMNUTZ, is a little bit rough around the edges. In fact, that’s what makes it so damn cool. That, and the fact that it’s the first and only six-cylinder ever to win the Holy Grail of burnout comps, Summernats. It’s a machine that’s more than the sum of its parts, and one that is well and truly capable of taking it to the big-hitting, big-dollar brawlers that populate the modern skid scene on any given Sunday.
So you can imagine our surprise when we got wind of Adam’s new project: an elite-level, V8-powered HB Torana with glossy HOK duco and an abundance of detail, which made its public debut amid the fanfare, fuss and bother of the Meguiar’s Great Uncover at Summernats 26. It seemed like such a radical departure from the ratty old six-banger that earned Adam his notoriety, but the fact is, the two cars are more closely related than you might think.
Despite appearances, the HB – just like the HR – was expressly designed to rid the world of tyres. Beneath its shiny veneer lurks a tough-as-nails powertrain and a swag of smart engineering that will not only make the Torana a fearsome competitor but a dream to work on, repair and maintain. Make no mistake, you’re looking at a purpose-built skid car, and it’s about to be treated as such.
Everywhere you look, there’s evidence that the car was built to skid. The tubs are completely seamless and a custom rollpan was fabbed up out of 3mm steel and heavily boxed and braced, so there’s no edges for a shredded tyre to grab onto
The car was built in-house at Adam’s burgeoning transmission workshop, ATS Automatics in Bendigo, only leaving the confines of the shed three times – once for paint, again for trim, and a third time for a wheel alignment. “That’s all I want to do – build cars. I enjoy it more than anything,” he says. “I really wanted to do the little car/big engine thing. I bought the Torana sight unseen and initially I didn’t appreciate the lines and the shape of the rear quarters, but eventually I fell in love with it.”
“There were a lot of hours in the bonnet,” Adam says. “It still has the original top skin on a small box-section frame with a sheetmetal base that’s seam-welded the whole way around – it’s all metal”
The initial plan was to build the car as a transmission test mule. As a result, the custom flat firewall and trans tunnel are configured to receive any engine and transmission combo, from a Holden six-cylinder to a big-block. The transmission crossmember can be relocated easily back and forth along the custom box section chassis, and the pipes were built so that the transmission can be removed and refitted while they’re still attached.
Adam and his mate Clinton Heywood built the full chassis from the ground up, with the only bought component being the ladder bar rear end. The front end is a heavily modified LC item with custom-fabricated outriggers and modified lower arms to allow for pipe clearance. Tubs accommodate 10in-wide Center Line wheels; the diff is a 31-spline 9in with a Strange centre; and the custom flat floor has channels through which the wiring and fuel lines run, keeping them out of harm’s way. Suffice it to say, it’s a very serious and well-thought-out set up.
The engine bay is clinically clean thanks to a custom flat firewall, smoothed inner guards and a stack of detail. The stock-stroke, HQ-headed 308 is good for a whisker under 700hp
Don't be fooled by the shiny paint: Adam Slorachs blown Holden HB Torana is built to burn rubber
Interestingly enough, it was Mick’s favourite saying that earned the car the moniker GOTNUTZ. “He’d look at attacking an aspect of the job that was particularly challenging and he’d say, ‘Let’s just grow a pair and have a go!’ It’s fitting that the name works so well in relation to the HR.”
The name also works well in relation to the engine; a stock-stroke, methanol-chugging 308 with HQ-style heads that’s good for a massive 695hp and 615ft-lb at 6200rpm on 10psi of boost and 26 degrees of timing. It’s built on the same principle as the HR’s six-pot in that everything’s tough but nothing’s so exotic that it can’t be repaired or replaced in a hurry. “Let’s face it; we give these cars a really hard time, so they’re gonna break,” Adam says. “If and when they do, you want to be able to turn it around quickly and get back out there.”
The crank is a well prepared, balanced and nitrided stocker with standard-length Scat H-Beam rods and forged pistons, the specific details of which (along with the digits associated with the solid cam) Adam isn’t keen to divulge. The blower manifold is actually a heavily modified tunnel ram with the top section replaced by a machined square plate that mates with the 6/71 Fisher blower. The runners are fitted with injector bosses just in case Adam decides to chuck a hat on it down the track. Naturally, the transmission is ATS-built and tough as nails – a fully manualised ‘burnout special’ TH400 with a 4200rpm TCE converter.
Red interior retains a classic feel despite a few modern concessions like the TCI cog swapper and Auto Meter dials
The cabin was dutifully trimmed up in brilliant red vinyl by Ash Eames at A&H Trim, and the tweaked traditional look is stunning. The front seats were built up from the original frames, which were powdercoated and re-foamed. The rear bench was built from scratch on a custom wooden frame to suit the tubbed floor. The claret-coloured carpet was trimmed to suit the custom tunnel and flat floor and is made from marine-grade material to suit the car’s intended purpose.
GOTNUTZ was unveiled at Summernats and met with critical acclaim, making the Top 60 and scoring an Encouragement Award. Since then, it’s gone on to score tinware such as Top Tudor, Top 10, Top Paint and Pro’s Choice at other shows, but – aside from our photo shoot – it’s yet to turn a tyre in anger.
Unsurprisingly, the quality of the finished product and the trophies it can pull has caused Adam to develop a few reservations about skidding it. “In a way, but I don’t see the point in having it just sit there looking shiny. I probably won’t lean on it like I do the black ute, but it’s hard to say until I get there,” he says, before assuring us that we’ll see the Torrie parked on the limiter at Summernats.
“I’d also like to race it sometime this year,” he adds. “On paper it’ll do high-nines, but I’ll be happy with a 10. I wanted a back seat for cruising at events, so that kind of ruled out having a ’cage, but it has the suspension and arse-end to be a drag car. So many skid cars are just skid cars. I wanted to build a car that will cruise, skid and do a bit of racing, too. From an engineering point of view, I could probably make a few changes and get hot rod rego for it too.”
Underneath is a flat floor, with neat cut-outs for the exhaust system. “Those mufflers will come off for skids,” Adam says. “It’s too quiet with them on!” He’s hoping to have it turning tyres come Springnats
Multi-tasking aside, the HB is still purpose-built for burnouts, and with its full custom chassis, lightweight bodyshell, short wheelbase and tough blown mill, it should prove to be an impressive skid car. “It should dance, I reckon,” says Adam. “It feels like it’ll be fairly agile. I think it should be fairly competitive, and I’d like it to take up where the HR left off.
“I wanted to set myself a new challenge, and we built the car in 10 months and it was rooted when we started, so it was a bit of a task! Really though, the Torrie was just practice for my next project – a full chassis HG Monaro that was in Street Machine years ago. I couldn’t do any of this without such a supportive family and a great bunch of mates; they’re the people I really need to thank.”
1968 Holden HB Torana
Colour: House Of Kolor gloss black with Kandy Apple Red and metalflake
Brand: Holden 308ci
Induction: Twin Quickfuel methanol 1050 Dominators, Fisher 6/71 blower, tunnel-ram manifold
Heads: Ported HQ
Camshaft: Secret grind, solid
Conrods: Scat H-Beam, standard length
Crank: Stock, balanced and nitrided
Oil pump: Modified
Sump: High Energy
Preferred fuel: Meth
Fuel system: 80A Enderle and Magnafuel 500 pumps
Cooling: Aussie Desert Cooler radiator, twin thermos
Exhaust: Custom 4-into-1 headers, twin 3in exhaust
Gearbox: ATS TH400 burnout special, full-manual valve body, 4200rpm TCE converter
Diff: 9in, 3.5:1 Strange gears, 31-spline axles
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Springs: Pedders (f), King’s Springs (r)
Shocks: Pedders 90/10 (f), Competition Engineering coilovers (r)
Brakes: HQ Holden discs (f), VN Commodore discs (r) Master cylinder: XB Falcon
Steering: Modified rack and pinion, Alien Retro column
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Center Line Auto Drag, 15x3 (f), 15x10 (r)
Rubber: M&H Racemaster 3.6/24-15 (f) Mickey Thompson N50-15 (r)