Torana Muscle on the Murray

The inaugural one-make event attracts a rare and varied selection of Toranas

Photographers: Luke Hunter

TONS of Toranas rolled into Albury-Wodonga on the weekend of 5-7 November for the first ever Torana Muscle on the Murray. Based out of the Quality Siesta Resort in Albury on the New South Wales side of the Murray River, the one-make event attracted many fine and rare Torries from across NSW and Victoria.

The weekend’s itinerary included Saturday’s scenic cruise out to Bethanga and Lake Hume in Victoria, with lunch back across the border at the Kinross Woolshed, and Sunday’s show ’n’ shine at the Siesta Resort.

Torana Muscle on the Murray was put on by the Expatriates Auto Club from Griffith, with a joint organising committee comprising members of the Aussie Torana Legends Social Cruisers out of Melbourne. Plans are already afoot to make it an annual event, with Steve and Sharon Brown from the Expatriates Auto Club telling us to pencil the weekend of 30 September to 3 October into next year’s calendar.

“It’s gone really well for our first event; we will be running it annually,” said Steve. “Albury-Wodonga is a good central spot for it. We had just over 60 entrants, which was fantastic for what was basically a closed event due to COVID.”

The organising committee and Expatriates Auto Club give huge props to everyone who travelled to take part. “And a big thank you to Stephen Jones from the Siesta Resort, who worked with us every step of the way to help make the event a success.”

Bob Byrnes’s matching-numbers L34 LH Torana is a piece of Australian automotive history. It’s mostly-original, bar the widened rims. “I’ve repainted the sills, flares and front apron, but other than that it’s the original acrylic factory paint,” Bob said. “The car was sold new through a Melbourne dealership to a New Zealand customer. It lived in NZ from new until making its way back home to Australia in 2002, which is when I bought it.” Once of the best things about Bob’s Torana is that even though it’s one of the rarest Toranas on the planet, it doesn’t spend its life hidden away in a collector’s private lair or a museum; it gets driven.

Phil Slater drove his LJ XU-1 over from Numurkah! “I’ve owned it for around 20 years now,” he said. “It’s an August 1972-built car, so it’s one of the Bathurst specials, and it’s all original except for the interior, which has had the colour changed from the original white to black at some stage in its life. I used to do a few sprint races and hillclimb events in it, but it’s too valuable to do that with it now”

Michael Maxwell’s black LX hatch took out Best Hatchback in Show. The factory Tuxedo Black SS started life with a 253 under the bonnet, but now runs a stroked 308 backed by a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed and a nine-inch rear end. “It’s been a great event and it was a beautiful cruise out past Lake Hume,” Michael said

Steven Hennessy is the President of the NSW Torana Club and brought two cars down from Mossvale to the event. The white sedan is an original LH SL/R 5000 built to L34 spec, and the hatchback is a genuine 5.0-litre SS. “The paint colour on the hatchback is one of one,” Steven told us. “The car was a special order by the Ilford Photo company and was done in their own colour (Ilford Yellow) that they used for all their company cars at the time. Ilford actually cancelled the order but the car had already been built so it was sold through a dealership off the showroom floor. It’s still an all original matching-numbers car, too”

Peter Macken’s immaculately-presented LC two-door started life as a humble four-cylinder coupe but now runs a supercharged Holden V6. “It’s fully engineered and road registered,” Peter said. “The motor is out of a VP Commodore and it has a Turbo 700 gearbox and a nine-inch. The supercharger is a Toyota SC14 with a water-to-air intercooler set-up. Before I bought it, it won best paint at the 2016 Torana Nationals”

Kelvin Richardson was one of several Albury-Wodonga locals to attend the event. His SL/R tribute runs a 253/T350 combo and rolls on old-school Dragway five-spoke rims

Max Wilson was another local to attend in his yellow SL/R. “It was originally a six-cylinder SL/R but has had the original 202 replaced with a 253 and Toyota five-speed,” Max said. “I’ve owned it for about 10 years now and have done a full rebuild on the car, including getting it repainted and retrimmed”

Ken Crockett from Tallangatta has only owned his Papaya Orange LX SL/R 5000 for three years. “I’ve pulled it apart and tidied up a few things,” Ken said. “I’ve rebuilt the front end with new bushes and a rebuilt steering rack. The motor is a 336ci stroker; the wheels are 15x8s on the front and 15x10s on the rear”

Trevor Court’s LH Torana started life as a 253-powered SL model but these days runs a stout 383ci small-block Chev combo. “We drove it up from Seaford in Melbourne,” Trevor told us. “It’s the first time we’ve had it out for a real drive since doing a full rebuild. The car ran a 11.20 with the old combo and should run into the 10s with this new set-up, so I’m pretty keen to get it to the drag strip”

Ian Godfrey drove down from Nowra in his Monterey Green L34 LH replica.

The engine is an L34-spec 308 with period race-style twin sidedraft Weber carbies. The gearbox is an Aussie four-speed and the rear end is the factory banjo diff

(Left to right: Steve Brown, John Sheppard, Joe Falice, Sharon Brown) Torana era HDT legends John Sheppard and Joe Felice with Steve and Sharon Brown from Expatriates Auto Club. Joe and John travelled from Melbourne to be the guest speakers at Saturday night’s official dinner and to judge Sunday’s show ’n’ shine

Entrants out and about on the cruise to Lake Hume and Bethanga

The photoshoot at the edge of Lake Hume

Cruising across Lake Hume on the Bethanga Bridge

An informal display was set up at the Kinross Woolshed in Thurgoona, NSW while entrants had lunch on Saturday