If you fancied yourself a sporty Torana in the mid-70s but didn’t quite have enough moolah for the top-tier V8 SL/R, the cheaper G-Pak was the solution. For your money you got bucket seats, SL/R-style instruments, three bright colours to choose from, and, best of all, the signature G-Pak striping.
First published in the October 2023 issue of Street Machine
Les wanted modern wheels to match the new-school grunt, so he opted for a set of Simmons rims. Specs are 20×7.5 up front and a massive 20×11 out back, with rear tubs to suit
Les Gulan had grown up a Holden man playing around with early Commodores, but he decided that for his next project he wanted some older 70s chrome-bumper goodness. “I’d always wanted to do a steel-bumpered Holden, and this one popped up cheap enough,” he says of the LH you see here. At that time, it was a multicoloured rolling shell in a pretty sorry state, so there was very little evidence of the car’s factory G-Pak status.
“We ran the codes on the tags to get the colour and found it was a genuine G-Pak in green,” Les says. “When we sprayed the colour out on a sample, I loved it! So we went with it over the red I originally wanted.”
Les’s Torana was green all over when it was first finished, until Les had Phantom Stickers & Signs add the correct G-Pak stripes to the body, along with matching vinyl on the reverse cowl, to break up the sea of green
The original plan for the build was a fairly quick and basic turnaround to get Les and his Torana out on the street on a modest budget, but, as with many projects, things quickly escalated. “It ended up taking six years, with new parts throughout and every nut and bolt done,” says Les. “This is my first build to this level, and as much extra work as it is, you can’t argue with the end results.”
The bulk of the work was tackled by Les and his good mates at home. “Most of it was assembled at home on the floor in the garage with the help of four axle stands and a jack,” he laughs. “I wanted to be as hands-on with the build as possible, doing as much as I could, from rubbing panels to the mechanical stuff.”
The bright green paint was laid down by Jason Cumbo from Street Elite Bodyworks. “I’ve gotta give a special thanks to him; his meticulous eyes were what got us the killer result we were after with the colour,” Les says. The DeBeer Jamaica Lime is an exact mix of the factory Holden hue (with clearcoat for more pop), one of three original G-Pak colours along with Absinth Yellow and Mandarin Red.
G-Paks came from the factory with good ol’ Holden six-pot power, but that just wasn’t going to cut it for what Les wanted for his tough streeter. Fortunately, his mate had a cammed LS1 up for grabs, so Les snapped it up. “I’ve done Holden V8s before, but the money you spend on them to get the same as an LS just isn’t comparable,” he says. “So that meant the LS was just the best bang-for-buck option.”
The grumpy blown LS thumps its soundtrack through a pair of 3in pipes that exit straight out the back, which would certainly cause any EV drivers who pull up behind it at a set of lights to leave a few seat stains
The engine is unchanged from when Les got it, already running a VCM camshaft. The rest of the mill is standard, but Les did make one key change in the induction department with the addition of the Harrop LS112 blower. “That was a lucky find, and it certainly wakes it up a bit!” laughs Les.
Tuned at Allsparks Performance, the LS made 290rwkW (388rwhp) on a conservative 8psi, using an LS1 ECU for brainpower and sipping PULP 98.
The engine bay was actually the first place the G-Pak’s original Jamaica Lime green paint was sprayed during the build, which made Les fall in love with the colour. The bay has been smoothed out nicely to give the glossy green some nice pop
The rest of the driveline comprises a Turbo 400 gearbox and a 4500rpm TCI converter sending the grunt back to a nine-inch diff. The suspension and braking have been given a good tickle as well, with Viking coil-overs and beefy Wilwood stoppers under all four corners, as well as a four-link rear end.
The six-year build process wrapped up this year, with the LH getting a fitting debut in the Show Pavilion at MotorEx in May. “That was super cool to have the car there; all the hard work really paid off,” says Les.
Les kept the interior trim true to the Torana’s origins using a blend of G-Pak and SL/R 5000 gear (including the SL/R steering wheel) in slick black. A half ’cage also future-proofs the LH for any racing ambitions Les may have in the future
Don’t make the mistake of thinking the G-Pak is just a show queen, though – Les has been sure to get some street miles on his wild machine. “With the colour and the noise, it gets plenty of attention, but it drives really nice and is actually pretty easy to steer as well,” he tells us.
Although the LH has only just been finished, Les is already talking about some changes he’s been toying with. “I love that the Simmons rims give it a modern, fresh look, but I might swap them out for some Welds to change it up a bit,” he says. “I’d also love a bit more power, but to do that we’d probably need to build a new motor, so that’ll probably happen at some point as well.”
We’re expecting to see the G-Pak at a bunch of shows – including Les’s favourite event, Street Machine Summernats – in the coming years. He also tells us he has a VL Turbo interceptor in the works, so he’s by no means done with playing with tough old Holdens just yet.
1975 HOLDEN LH TORANA G-PAK
|Paint:||DeBeer Jamaica Lime|
|Fuel system:||Bosch 044 pumps|
|Diff:||9in, 31-spline axles, 3.5:1 Truetrac LSD|
|SUSPENSION & BRAKES|
|Rear:||Viking coil-overs, four-link|
|Brakes:||Wilwood 320mm discs, four-piston calipers (f & r)|
|WHEELS & TYRES|
|Rims:||Simmons; 20×7.5 (f), 20×11 (r)|
|Rubber:||Achilles; 225/30R20 (f), 275/30R20 (r)|
My wife; Jason Cumbo at Street Elite Bodyworks; Luke at Hasty Auto-Trans; Andrew at Werribee Brake & Clutch; Adrian at Kool Trim; Steven at Boosted Fabrications; Geoff’s Custom Models; Steve at Phantom Stickers & Signs; Frank at Allsparks Automotive; all my mates who assisted with the build.