Mick Holland’s Vortech-blown Holden V8-powered LX Torana

We chat with 78-year-old Mick Holland and his trophy-winning 'True Blue' LX Torana

Photographers: Luke Hunter

While enjoying the recent Torana Muscle On The Murray event in Albury-Wodonga (SM, Nov ’23), we were drawn in by the sight of Mick Holland’s gorgeous ‘True Blue’ LX Torana. And once we spotted the Vortech-blown, twin-throttlebody Holden V8 in the engine bay, we knew we had to chat to 78-year-old Mick to find out more.

First published in the December 2023 issue of Street Machine

What can you tell us about the Torana?

A good friend had just finished building a sweet street machine in the form of this 1976 LX four-door Torana, and had decided to sell it at a price that was impossible [for me] to say no to. Over the ensuing 20 years of ownership, many things were changed or improved; the engineering compliance alone fills nine A4 pages!

While the car was off the road recently with the engine out being rebuilt, I took the opportunity to fit power steering and Harrop brakes. The suspension has also been significantly upgraded to maintain a sensible driving balance, and that’s what happens: it gets driven.

What driveline are you running?

The [Holden stroker] engine was rebuilt and upgraded in 2022, and it’s now fuel injected, supercharged and intercooled. In its current state of tune, it is yielding a relatively modest 313rwkW, or 420rwhp in the old money. The driveline is a TH700 automatic, beefed up and with selectable overdrive, and a nine-inch Truetrac LSD.

Wheels are currently 18-inch ROH Adrenalin composite staggered items. The exterior paint coat reflects the car’s name, True Blue; it’s Holden Voodoo Blue with Ford Galaxy Blue SL/R shading and silver highlights. The interior trim is blue leather and cream leatherette with blue carbon accents.

What got you started in the car scene?

I got attracted to cars as a young bloke, mainly because I always worked at servos at nights and on weekends, so my circle of friends were car people. I could even be found down the Homebush Brickies drags some Saturday nights.

Were you always into street machines and muscle cars?

Not really muscle cars, but I dabbled with ‘sporties’. I had a Lotus Elan, a Triumph TR4 and a bug-eyed Sprite. My favourite though was a VW Beetle, which we lowered, stuck a Porsche engine in, fitted Porsche rear drums and those weird-but-wonderful Maico front discs that Fred Gibson was importing at the time. It was a good thing to go hunting Mini Cooper Ss in!

Then the ought-to-know-better phase of life kicked in and it was boring company cars until I retired and got into Toranas. Well, I got dragged in kicking and screaming by a mate, who persuaded me to become a member of the NSW Torana Club.

Got any other cool cars?

Over the past 10 years, I have had a two-door LX hatchback built up for my always-supportive wife Gabrielle, and while it severely tested my patience with contractors, it has proven eventually to be a nice car that also pulls a bit of tinware at shows. It runs an LS2, monster brakes and custom everything.

Any future upgrades planned for True Blue?

Frankly, I’ve run out of ideas for any further creative changes; maybe some wheel improvements could be in the frame next year. I have enjoyed constantly modifying the Torana with no other rationale than ‘because I can’ to guide me. I did 10 years at Summernats and that was fairly successful, picking up a load of tinware [including] Top Judged Street and Top 20 Elite.

Any other project cars planned?

I do keep looking at the adverts, but I’ve been told to keep my hands in my pockets, so nothing new on the horizon, although a ’59 Chev Bel Air could test those instructions!