You might have thought when Holden introduced the best car it had made in its first 30 years that there would have been a riot of fanfare. But not only was there no media function to launch the Torana A9X, there wasn’t even a printed press release. This furtive arrival may have been in part because GM-H’s sales and marketing executives didn’t want to show up every other Holden as so obviously deficient by comparison. The Holden Torana is a mid-sized car manufactured by Holden from 1967 to 1980. The name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning “to fly”. The original HB series Torana was released in 1967 and was a four-cylinder compact vehicle closely based on the British Vauxhall Viva HB series of 1966 – 1970. Whilst the 1969-73 (LC and LJ series) cars included more popular, longer-wheelbase six-cylinder versions, and with the 1974-77 (LH and LX series) cars adding eight-cylinder versions to the mix, a range of four-cylinder versions continued for the entire production life of the Torana (with later four-cylinder versions being marketed as the Holden Sunbird from November 1976). Changing tack in Australian motorsport, Holden released the LC Torana GTR XU-1 in 1970, with performance-enhanced drivetrain and handling. From this time through to the release of the Holden Commodore, the Torana remained Holden’s most successful sports/performance vehicle, with many victories garnered in rallying and circuit racing.
‘A9X’ itself meant nothing. It was just one of a long list of model codes available exclusively to GM-H, which got A-prefixes while Chevrolet got Zs – hence Z28. In Holden Speak, this car was equipped with the ‘Performance Equipment Package’ to help it conquer Mount Panorama. The reality was that it was a very different and very superior LX Torana. While nominally an LX, it was closer to the forthcoming UC. The Holden publicity machine was happy for people to believe the HZ Holden was the first of its products to feature four-wheel discs (vented up front, solid behind), but the A9X snuck into showrooms first. This was a big deal: to get GM-H’s new Salisbury axle and rear discs under the Torana it was necessary to use the UC-style rear floorpan. (So if you’ve ever wondered why it was so difficult to fit rear disc brakes to your LX, now you have the answer!)
1974 HOLDEN HQ KINGSWOOD – Arriving in 1971, the HQ Holden was an instant hit, lauded for its looks and comprehensive upgrades over the preceding HG. New for the generation was a unibody construction and coil spring rear end. With 485,650 vehicles sold, the HQ remains Holden’s best-selling car, ever. Six-cylinder engine options swelled in displacement; with 173ci and 202ci options available. 253ci, 308ci, and 350ci Chev V8 options remained. This 1974 HQ Kingswood caught our eye, largely for its very reasonable price tag – $23,990. There’s a 202ci inline-six red motor under the bonnet, though the seller makes no mention of transmission – through our bets are on either a three-speed Trimatic or column-shift auto. Judging from the impressive garage in the photos, the seller looks like a true Aussie revhead, so chances are the car has been at least moderately well taken care of. There are some period-correct details that can be identified too, such as the windshield sun visor and rear window louvres. The car could very well be worth investigating for anyone after a neat running HQ Kingswood as the basis for a resto, or just a solid weekend Aussie cruiser.