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The Holden Torana had its origins in the British Vauxhall Vivas of the mid 1960s. The first Torana (HB) appeared in Australia in 1967. It was a facelifted Vauxhall Viva and featured a two-door body, 12 inch wheels and a lethargic 1.1 litre four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed gearbox. The next generation of Toranas (LC) appeared in 1969 and were available with either a four or six cylinder engine. The inline six had a capacity of 138 cubic inches (2250cc), the same capacity as the first 48-215 Holden of 1948. The six-cylinder cars had a slightly longer nose to accommodate the larger engine, and offered a choice of three and four-speed manual gearbox or a three-speed Trimatic automatic transmission.

Body styles were either two or four doors, and were offered in S or SL trim. Bench or bucket front seats were also an option, along with disc front brakes. A more-powerful 161 cubic inch (2600cc) engine was made available soon after the model's release in the more upmarket SL and sporting two-door GTR. In 1969 the first genuine performance Torana, the XU-1, was released for an assault on the Bathurst 500 motor race. It added a 186 cubic inch (3 litre) six cylinder engine fitted with three Stromberg carburettors, headers, a performance camshaft and a four-speed gearbox. This car featured a rear spoiler, racing stripes, guard flutes, wider steel rims, full instrumentation and front disc brakes as standard.

At this time GMH also experimented with a true sports car, the X1, which featured the 186 engine and numerous components borrowed from the Torana, but in a low-slung two-door fibreglass body. Only a couple of examples were produced for evaluation, and the project was subsequently shelved.

In 1972, the LJ Torana was introduced to bring the Torana range into line with the larger HQ Holden series. Many components were shared, and essentially this model was a facelifted LC, with the major changes limited to the choice of engines. While the base level 2250 remained, the 2600 was replaced by a 2850cc (the base engine in the larger HQ Holden sedan)and an optional 3300cc engine. Gearbox choices remained the same across the range. The 3300 engine was also fitted to the LJ XU-1 Torana, again with three carburettors.

Early 1974 saw the first completely new Torana body with the arrival of the larger LH, which deleted the two-door option. It offered engines ranging from a 1.9 litre Opel four (the Sunbird) to an awesome 5-litre V8 in the SLR 5000 sedan. The facelifted LX arrived in 1975, primarily to embody engine modifications to meet recently-introduced emission regulations. Engines were again offered in four, six and eight-cylinder configurations, and a two-door body re-appeared as the Hatchback in SL or SS trim. The first attempt by Holden to add a handling package to its family sedans saw the introduction of radial-tuned suspension to the LX range.

The LH and LX series also saw the develop of limited-number high-performance vehicles aimed at the annual Bathurst 500 race. These included the L34 and A9X, four-door and hatchback Toranas that featured high-performance 5-litre V8s, special gearboxes, suspension modifications, rear disc brakes and larger diameter wheels. The introduction of the UC Torana in 1978 saw the demise of the V8 engines, with the largest now available the 3300cc inline six. But by now the Torana was too similar in size to the more modern Holden Commodore, and it was soon dropped from the GMH range.