We were recently invited to attend the inaugural Bronze by the Lake charity fundraiser at Lakeside Raceway, a Queensland Police-based event organised by Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Green. We managed to corner Tony for a quick chat about the event and his awesome Torana hatch.
First published in the May 2022 issue of Street Machine
Mate, you look busy! How’s the day going?
It’s been a fantastic day, and I’m really happy with the number of people who have turned up to support us. Everyone is having a great time catching up with friends and getting their cars out on the track. We’re also here to pay our respects to a fallen mate, Senior Constable Dave Masters, and to raise funds for Blue Hope Support Services, which provides mental health assistance to current and former police officers and their families. Today has been such an outstanding success that we’ve decided it will now be an annual event.
How did you get started with cars?
I’m an old Bundaberg boy, so I was fortunate to grow up in a country town in the 70s and 80s that had an incredible car culture, from speedway to the street machine scene. It seemed like everyone was into cars back then; there were some top-quality cars cruising the streets of Bundy. I bought my first car when I was still at school – an LH Torana that I saved up for by picking tomatoes on weekends. In the years since, I’ve owned a couple of VC Commodores and HQs, along with a few WB One Tonners.
How did you come across this Torana?
I’ve owned it for about 20 years and found it advertised in South Brisbane through the old Trading Post paper. Two decades ago, you could still afford to be fussy; I think I must have looked at every Torana hatch for sale in South-East Queensland for 18 months until I found this one in the colour combination I was after – Mandarin Red with a Chamois interior. I bought it for the right price, towed it home and commenced pulling it apart with the help of my mate, Dave Guild. It was in really good condition, with little rust and no panel damage. I had it repainted about 17 years ago, and it’s still in great nick considering I get it out whenever I can. I replaced the engine at the same time with a spare 253 I had lying around, and although I’ve always had good intentions to upgrade the motor, it’s just been such a reliable little engine that I can’t get rid of it.
It really looks the goods. Have you managed to find some time to crack some hot laps in it today?
No, unfortunately. Today I’ve just had too many commitments with running the event. Lakeside is such a great place with so much motor racing history, so hopefully I’ll get it out for a few laps later today. I’m fortunate to be in a great car club, too – Fat Nancy’s. We’ve had a small club day here before, and we also get together regularly to go on cruises, so the Torana gets driven a lot.
Any big plans for your next car project, or will you just keep chipping away on the hatch?
I’m now the proud owner of a 1971 KE Corolla coupe that I’m committed to getting back on the road soon with the help of a couple of club members. I’ve owned pretty much only Holdens, so I’ve never ventured into the world of early-model Japanese cars before. It’s a little cracker of a thing; it will be making an appearance at Bronze by the Lake next year, for sure.