LJ GTR XU-1 Torana smashes auction record

The most expensive road-registered XU-1 ever – by over $100K!


CLASSIC Aussie muscle cars continue to break records at auction, with an LJ Torana GTR XU-1 selling for $295,000 at Burns & Co Auctions.

The November 1972-built Torana was described by the auction house as a “superb example” showing just 24,847 miles on the odometer. The car was accompanied by comprehensive provenance dating back to the original owner, an airline pilot who regularly left the car locked in an aircraft hangar for extended periods.

The XU-1 Torana variant was first released in 1970 as part of the LC series, and became a true challenger to Ford’s GTHO Falcon. Though the bigger Falcon trounced the Torana in terms of straight-line speed, the 1972 LJ revision was enough to end the Blue Oval’s supremacy around Mount Panorama.

While around 3300 XU-1s were built, a significant portion were raced, rallied or destroyed in accidents, further driving today’s scarcity and high demand.

Holden Torana

Until now, the most expensive road-going XU-1 was an example painted in Strike Me Pink, which sold at the Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction in 2019 for $183,000. The sale price was buoyed by the car’s history as a WA-based Sports Sedan racer, as well as being the first LJ XU-1 to be produced at Holden’s Elizabeth factory.

Brock Holden Torana XU-1

Though both cars fetched hefty sums, they pale in comparison to the $500,000 paid by a private enthusiast for an ex-Peter Brock XU-1 racer during the muscle car boom of 2006. That LJ carried Brock to an Australian Touring Car Championship victory in 1974, and was subsequently owned by the family of HDT engine builder Ian Tate.

Other strong prices at the Burns & Co auction included Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan’s legendary 1967 Mustang, which netted a staggering $645,000 for Wall Racing. Dig the Lucas/Globe fuel injection set-up!

Also from the Wall Racing stable was a stunningly restored HQ Monaro made famous by Bob Jane and John Harvey. While the car later morphed into a Sports Sedan, the Wall crew brought it back to its gorgeous Improved Production spec.

If you were looking for a more affordable historic race car, this EH Holden Group NB racer went for $33,500.

In terms of road-going cars, this R-code 1969 Mach 1 Mustang sold for $171,000. A similar S-code Mach 1 recently sold by Shannons attracted almost identical money, suggesting that the market for high-end US muscle is starting to pick up.

This LH Torana SL/R 5000 tribute went for $38,250. Love the Globelines!

We also loved the look of this vinyl-roofed XB Fairmont hardtop. We clearly weren’t the only ones, as it sold for $129,250.

chrysler r-series valiant

We haven’t seen many R-Series Valiants pop up for sale in ages, and with just over 1000 made, that shouldn’t be a surprise. This one went for $62,500, while an S-Series could only pull $14,250.

One of the best-ever Aussie luxo-barges in our opinion was the P5 Ford LTD. This one went for just under $40K.

This HG Kingswood wagon looks like a nice survivor and attracted a winning bid of $29K.

Subaru Vortex

At the budget end of the spectrum, this 1986 Subaru Vortex XT was a relative bargain at $5200 – assuming kooky 80s Japanese cars are your thing!

Quite a few interesting cars passed in, including this wild 1950 Rambler van. Other cool items in the passed-in list included a Sportsman Charger, an X2 HR Holden, a 308-powered HG GTS Monaro and a cool EH Holden panel van.