Holden built many concept cars over its long life, the most famous being the outrageous Hurricane and the still-stunning EFIJY. Most folks would add the Torana GTR-X to that list, but the truth is that the GTR-X was much more than a concept and very nearly reached production. In fact, it was slated for release in February 1973.
Only three ‘glass bodied, XU1-powered GTR-Xs were built. One was crashed and is lost to time. Then there is the famous promotional car that was orginally white. In 1977, this car was painted silver and fitted with UC Torana SL/E mags in honour of GM’s 75th anniversary in Australia, before being restored back to its original form. I was lucky to drive this car in the early 2000s, one of the highlights of my career for sure.
The third car is the one you see pictured below, a pre-production vehicle in Lone O Ranger, which our sources tell us was assembled to dry-fit stage before the program was cancelled. It differs from the show car in a number of ways, including the cost-conscious use of HQ tailights and side-markers. It is now up for sale on a POA basis through Ecurie Bowden.
While many parts are missing, it is a miracle that this third car survives at all. According to Bowdens, the car escaped Holden in this way:
“The near-complete car was put into storage at Fisherman’s Bend Engineering and then went to the Apprentice Training Centre also at Fisherman’s Bend. The car was eventually put up for tender to GM-H employees in 1987. A GM-H employee, Mr. Mario Turcarelli, purchased the car via an employee internal tender in 1987 on behalf of a family member. The car then sat in a mechanical workshop in the Melbourne suburb of Ormond waiting to be finished. That never eventuated and the car then came up for sale due to business issues, along with the GTR-X moulds, which were obtained by the owner of the Ormond workshop via Mr John Sheppard of HDT A9X Torana fame. During this time the current owners were working close by and heard of the car being up for sale. After some negotiations they purchased the car and the GTR-X fibreglass body molds in the early 1990s.”
In 2018, the car surfaced again, ready to undergo an ambitious restoration at Melbourne’s Creative Custom Cars.
And now it could be yours. As the Bowdens listing speculates, the new owner could choose to restore the car back to its orginal form (no mean feat, given that so many parts are missing) or let their imagination run wild.
Either way, it is a stunning opportunity for someone with the cash, vision and patience to do the job right.
The Street Machine group chat has been running hot on this subject tonight, with our resident historian Dave Carey summing up his thoughts thusly:
“All I know is that for people like me who revered the GTR-X, especially as it was so almost put into production, who stared at it at the Birdwood Mill as a kid when it was painted silver-grey and unceremoniously fitted with UC Torana SL/E wheels, who often wondered what it would have been to see these casually hooning around 1980s Australia , that this here is literally the only chance anyone will ever get to own one.”