Leith Darrach’s UC Torana is a project car built by TAFE kids and indigenous prisoners in Darwin

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

LEITH Darrach’s ’78 UC Torana has one very interesting story to tell! Over the last twelve months or so it has been a project car for the Charles Darwin University and an indigenous prisoner training program that Leith is a part of. Red CentreNATS in Alice Springs was its first proper outing as a finished car and it got a positive response so he’s now working with the uni to get an even better project car ready for RCN next year.

Holden UC Torana 1 Nw“THIS is my UC Torana. It was only just painted the week before Red CentreNATS by the paint and panel section of Charles Darwin University, where I manage the automotive trade school. The car was assembled as part of a prisoner training program designed to give indigenous prisoners a Certificate I and II in Automotive, prior to being released. We finished it just in time for Red CentreNATS!

Holden UC Torana 2 Nw“Under the bonnet is a standard injected 5.7-litre Holden V8 from a VR GTS, hooked up to a manualised Turbo 350 transmission and nine-inch rear with Strange axles, Truetrac with 4.11 gears and McDonald Brothers control arms. It runs low 14s down the quarter, which is pretty good for a factory engine.

“With the current diff gears it launches really hard off the line, but is a bit slow through the top end. It keeps up with new XR8 Falcons and HSVs though, so I’m happy with that! Next we’ll probably upgrade the front suspension to A9X-spec 90/10 shocks – if it’s going to be slow down the quarter, it might as well wheelstand!”