1977 Torana A9X GMP&A
One of the high points of Holden's rich racing history was the success the marque achieved with the A9X - and today the sporty, 2-door V8 Torana remains one of the most iconic of all the brand's racing cars. After some years racing the 4-door Torana, Holden developed a new race car based on the 2-door hatchback Torana, which brought great success.
The A9X was the last model of Holden racing car before the V8 Commodores began, which run through to current times. The development and racing of the A9X hatchback were not without controversy. Holden built just 33 shells for race teams in 1977, these being expected to last the racing life of the model. The shells were double seam welded, all painted white and sold exclusively to race teams through GM's parts division - hence the name GMP&A - General Motors Parts & Accessories. They were not assigned VIN numbers. There was considerable uproar from other teams when the word got out that Holden had produced the shells with lighter gauge steel, making them considerably lighter than standard production shells. Internal and external pressings, parts such as hinges and bumper were lighter and even the glass in the rear hatch was 1mm thinner than on production cars.
Holden explained the variance as a result of changing to metric - which curiously, had not affected other vehicles. Individual racing teams fitted out the shells to their own specification, though broadly the same as each other to fit within the regulations.
Of these 33 shells, three were purchased by Ron Hodgson with one shell designated to be a spare in case of a crash. Two years later after the model was to be replaced with the first of the Commodores, this shell was built into a complete car utilising a new spare Group C specification 308 engine, gearbox, suspension and brake components by chief mechanic Peter Molloy for New South Wales collector Pat Burke. The completed car remained unused in Burke's 'Modena Collection' for several years. It was then purchased by Western Australian collector Paul Terry and was a star attraction at his Esplanade Extravanganza in Albany, WA.
This model has seen virtually no use with a mere 475 kilometres under its belt. It has never been registered for the road. The car can be fairly described 'as new' and has been properly maintained and started regularly. Specifications are understood to be completely correct given the latitude that such race cars had, and include Simmons 3-piece alloy wheels with gold centres, wearing 225/50x15 Pirelli P7 tyres. The bodywork is in exceptional condition, as one would expect.
Outside, the white paintwork with black highlights still gleams. Inside, the immaculate black upholstered interior features Recaro seats and additional gauges fitted under the right of the dashboard. The interior is of course in a condition commensurate with a car having driven only 475km.The car starts readily and the fabulous engine - an L34-spec 308ci V8 engine producing around 400bhp - and exhaust sound are evocative of an era of racing which is long gone.
A more original an example than this is hardly likely to exist. An inspection of this car is sure to more than impress. It is a remarkable motorcar with an amazing story and pedigree - easily likened to a piece of preserved artwork - a unique item reminding us in a most tangible way of one of Australia's most important V8 racing cars.
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