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Holden Torana GTR-X restoration: Part 1

By Scott Newman, 19 Sep 2018 Features

Holden Torana GTR-X restoration Part 1feature

Bringing Holden’s stillborn sports car to life

According to Holden insiders, three Holden Torana GTR-Xs were built.

One you’ll be familiar with, the white-then-silver-then-white concept that wowed all who saw it in 1970 and has shared its time since between Holden HQ and the Birdwood Motor Museum.

Another suffered the all-too-familiar fate for stillborn concepts, a date with the crusher. This is the third and it’s about to be restored.

It was owned for decades by long-time Holden employee Ray D’Alton, who sadly passed away earlier this year. As a tribute to his father, son Mark and Dromana workshop Creative Custom Cars (CCC) will bring this Torana GTR-X to life.

Legend Series: Holden Hurricane concept

Any restoration project is a huge undertaking, but this will be more difficult than most. In virtually all cases, a restoration either returns a car to its former glory or copies another example that’s in excellent condition.

Copying Holden’s GTR-X concept would be of little use, as according to Mark this Lone O’Ranger GTR-X was effectively a pilot build car, used to figure out how to convert concept car fantasy into production reality.

For example, the concept’s taillights were to make way for HQ units, a larger fuel tank required the repositioning of the spare wheel and there’s every chance the LC XU-1’s 119kW 186ci six-cylinder would’ve made way for the LJ’s more potent 142kW 202ci.

Possibly the hardest part will be figuring out what the end result is meant to look like. The GTR-X got so close to production that promotional brochures were printed, so it’s almost certain the decisions had been made, but finding the people who would know is another matter.

This is where MOTOR comes in. Hopefully articles like this encourage people and information out of the woodwork. Our intention is to follow the car through each stage of its lengthy restoration process culminating in hopefully a ride…or maybe we can beg a steer?

For now, CCC boss Alan How explains the first step: “We’ll scan the whole car then convert that into a CAD drawing. From that we’ll render from what we’ve got and draw the parts. Those parts will then be sent out and we’ll get one-off moulds CNC-milled and we’ll make pieces out of those moulds. We’ll probably 3D print some parts, too, because it’s only one-of-(one).”

Alan knows it’ll be tricky – “we have to create it from a drawing, a photo!” – but the effort will be worth it to create what will be the only ‘production’ Torana GTR-X, a truly unique car and a piece of Australian automotive history.