The 1970 Holden Torana GTR-X Is a Beast That Never Made It to Market

The 1970 Holden Torana GTR-X Is a Beast That Never Made It to Market

Holden might be done and dusted in Australia, but the company made a wide range of pretty great cars, including a whole heap of extraordinary concept vehicles.

My personal favourite concept Holden is the 1969 Hurricane, which would have been the only mid-engine Holden ever made, but a close runner-up would likely be the 1970 Holden Torana GTR-X.

Designed by Phil Zmood, this beautiful muscle car, with retracting headlights and a Datsun 240Z-like body, wasn’t always going to remain a concept car. A brochure at the time indicated that Holden would be building a limited collection of GTR-X vehicles, however this never happened.

“Engineers dream. Sometimes those dreams become a reality. But not often,” the brochure reads.

“One such dream is the Holden Torana GTR-X. And it has come true. It is the product of the GMH Research and Development, and Advance Styling Groups. It was built to assess the public reaction to an advanced design two-seater sports car.

“The GTR-X borrows heavily in styling and innovation from GMH’s experimental ‘Hurricane’, but it is designed with the thought of possible limited volume production. And low tooling costs could make it available for far less than its European counterparts.”

holden torana gtr-x
A page of the brochure. Image: Holden

Specs-wise, the GTR-X would have been quite powerful. The engine was a 3-litre 189S six-cylinder, with a four-speed manual gearbox (RWD). The car weighed just 1,043, capable of putting out 5,200rpm, with power peaking at 119kW. They’re specs comparable to the 2-litre Mazda MX-5.

The brochure goes on to call the GTR-X “another dimension in motoring”, but the project was ultimately scrapped. Cars4starters claims that it was discontinued due to concerns about profit from the planned 1,000-1,5000 annual sales. There may have also been concern within the GM (General Motors) brand that it would compete with the Opel GT, which did look quite similar. Opel was a sister company to Holden, operating in the European and U.S. markets (another was Vauxhall).

Now, one of the only pre-production 1970 Holden Torana GTR-X vehicles sleeps soundly at the National Motor Museum in Birdwood, South Australia, as a member of the Holden exhibit, sitting with the Hurricane and the Coupe 60. I recommend checking the museum out.

Also, who doesn’t love the Torana? The Torana everyone remembers best, the small and boxy muscle car Peter Brock thrashed around Bathurst, setting a lap record on the final lap of the race, would have been in good company alongside the special edition GTR-X.

I hope that one day these concept cars can be added to a game like Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, to be loved and appreciated years later.

Long live the Holden Torana GTR-X.

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