Sports sedan racing had emerged in Australia in 1964, as an avenue for owners of Appendix J touring cars to continue racing when the ATCC moved to the more structured Group C rules. Sports sedan racing was basically a free-for-all with little in the way of formal competition or technical regulations. In the early 1970s, there was a lot of money to be made in the sports sedan racing. Event organisers were offering serious prize money and appearance fees to lure the best drivers and cars to the series.
Under the much looser rules of sports sedan racing, it had become common practice to move the engine back into the cabin to improve weight distribution and to use fibreglass panels, spaceframe chassis and Formula 5000-style suspension to get the most out of the cars.
The inaugural Australian Sports Sedan Championship began in May 1976. Moffat got off to a great start in his Chevrolet Monza, winning the first two rounds at Surfers Paradise and Sandown and finishing fifth at Oran Park after suffering a clutch failure in the second heat. Competition came from Colin Bond’s Holden Dealer Team Torana, Geoghegan’s Monaro and Jim Richards’ Mustang.
For sale is this very same Holden Dealer Team Torana (The Beast II). Now fully restored back to its 1977/78 specification and livery, this HDT Torana presents a unique opportunity for the HDT and Australian motor sport racing enthusiast to acquire a very significant, credentialed and CAMS log booked race car.
Its history starts with the 1976 season which saw Bond and his mechanics build this lightweight LH Torana Sports Sedan powered by a Formula 5000 sourced Repco-Holden V8 engine to race in the Australian Sports Sedan Championship. Due to a quirk in the rules for Sports Sedan racing in Australia, the Torana was restricted to an engine size of just 5.0 litres (as the largest engine in the Torana road car range was the 5.0 Litre 308 V8 engine), while its main opposition namely Ian Geoghegan and Bob Jane in their HQ Monaro GTS 350s, Allan Moffat's Chevrolet Monza and the Ford Mustang of New Zealand's Jim Richards, were allowed to run engines up to 6.0 litres in capacity.
Bond and his team paid for the build costs of the car but ran it under the HDT banner and painted it in the team's Marlboro sponsors colours. The car appeared in two rounds of the seven round series, qualifying on pole at Sandown (1.1 seconds faster than Geoghegan despite a power disadvantage on what was a known power circuit), before finishing 3rd behind Moffat and Geoghegan in both heats and again finishing 3rd in the next round at Oran Park. Despite this, Bond finished equal sixth in the series with Geoghegan.
After Bond left the team at the end of 1976 to join Allan Moffat Racing, the Torana was brought to Melbourne where driver/engineer Ron Harrop was given the job of preparing and driving the car. Harrop changed a few things on the car which from 1977 was repainted to mirror the look of the team's touring cars. He would drive the Torana in various events throughout 1977 and into 1978 though it was Peter Brock who last drove the Torana for the team at Melbourne's Calder Park in mid-1978 before it was sold.
The Torana ended up in the hands of Casino Sports Sedan racer, Geoff Russell (father of V8 Supercar racer David Russell) who campaigned the car in the Australian Sports Sedan Championship as well as sports sedan races at Sydney's tight Amaroo Park Circuit. Russell later sold the Torana in 1984 to fellow Sydney racer Des Wall who raced the car competitively in Australia and New Zealand through until the late 1980s. As a tribute to his Dad, Des' racer son David Wall and the Team at Wall Racing completed a 3 year restoration of the car in 2014 to its 1977/78 specification and livery. The restoration was a labour of love according to David Wall who as a child was always "helping" his Dad in and around the car.
This car is also very special to those outside the Wall family and its racing team. It’s a factory Holden racing machine with a F5000 engine. It was the fastest car run by the iconic Holden Dealer Team helped along by the fact that it weighed in at only 1,000Kg. It’s a built-from-the-ground-up HDT Torana Sports Sedan powered by a mid-mounted Repco-Holden Formula 5000 5.0-litre V8, with suspension developed by one of the country’s leading open-wheeler engineers, and clothed in wild box shaped flared-guard bodywork designed by none other than Holden’s in-house stylist himself, Leo Pruneau. It was driven by Holden’s number one factory driver, Colin Bond, who at the time it first hit the track in 1976 was the reigning Australian Touring Car Champion. It was also driven on one occasion by the late Peter Brock.
The car still features the original and now fully rebuilt Repco Holden F5000 engine located behind the cross member, a dry sump, fuel injection and a flat plane crank good for a ground shaking 500bhp. Gears are swapped via a Borg Warner Super T10 four speed gearbox through a shortened fabricated tailshaft and to a NASCAR C.A.E Quick change diff. The Torana features four wheel independent suspension, massive 12" four wheel disc brakes and 10" x 15" wheels on racing slicks.
The car comes with its important CAMS log books, photos of the restoration of the car and race footage showing the might of this very special Torana. A wonderful tribute to a lifelong love of cars shared by a father and son. And genuinely an important part of Holden and Australian motor racing history having been raced by Bond, Harrop and Brock.
The car is located in Western Sydney for inspection by private appointment. Please call to discuss.
(AMCS Ref: 5799)
AMCS will gladly arrange any video inspection of this racing car using WhatsApp, and of course there is no issue with door to door transport anywhere in Australia or New Zealand.
Offers invited over $500,000
LH8VD69 - Sales DPT
Australian Muscle Car Magazine feature article:
1976 Australian Sports Sedan Championship - Rd 2 Sandown
Restored Torana 2014 Muscle Car Masters - Eastern Creek