This is the only Holden GTR-X in private hands anywhere in the world, it’s one of only two surviving prototypes, and it’s now being offered for sale for the first time in years.
For the uninitiated, the Holden GTR-X was a concept car developed in the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, and Holden fully intended to put it into production as an Australian answer to the Chevrolet Corvette. Sadly the project was cancelled, just three cars were made, one was crashed, another is in a museum, and the last one in private hands is now being offered for sale.
Fast Facts – The Holden Torana GTR-X
- The Holden GTR-X was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as Holden’s ambitious new foray into the local sports car market. It was intended to showcase the Australian automaker’s design and engineering capabilities, and maybe even enter nearby export markets. It featured a sleek, wedge-shaped body reminiscent of contemporary European sports cars but under the skin it was 100% Australian.
- The GTR-X had a fiberglass body on a steel chassis, with its drivetrain components sourced from the then-current LC Torana GTR XU-1. Its futuristic design included pop-up headlights, a modern interior with digital displays, and four wheel disc brakes.
- The car was powered by a 3.0 liter inline six-cylinder engine sourced from the Holden Torana XU-1, the GTR-X produced approximately 160 bhp and 190 lb ft of torque. This gave it a top speed of approximately 210 km/h (130 mph) and it could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in under 8 seconds, making it competitive with other sports cars of the era.
- Holden were serious about putting the Torana GTR-X into production, they developed advertisements and a brochure for it among other things, but sadly the concept was never approved. Just three were made, one was crashed, another is in a museum, and the third was never finished. The car shown here is that third GTR-X, it’s now being sold along with the original body molds in the hopes that someone will finish it and get it on the road.
The Greatest Holden That Never Was: The Holden Torana GTR-X
There can be few arguments that the Holden Torana GTR-X was the greatest Holden concept car of its generation. Holden was owned by General Motors but it maintained its independence, often fiercely, and created locally designed and developed cars for the Australian market – like the Monaro and Torana.
The project to develop the Torana GTR-X began in earnest in 1969, it was felt that Holden needed a pure sports car in their lineup, a halo car of sorts. In order to keep costs down and simplify the planned production run, the Torana GTR-X was based on the pre-existing LC Torana GTR XU-1 drivetrain and running gear.
The car was given a new welded box section perimeter-type chassis onto which a sleek fiberglass body was added. The underlying engineering was similar in some respects to the Chevrolet Corvette, which had a steel chassis, a lightweight fiberglass body, and a front-engine, rear wheel drive layout – though both cars were unique and shared no parts.
The GTR-X was powered by the 3.0 liter inline six-cylinder engine sourced from the XU-1. It was capable of 160 bhp at 5,200 rpm and 190 lb ft of torque 3,600 rpm with power sent to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission and a live axle on coil springs. The front suspension was independent and four wheel disc brakes were used – a first for Holden.
Given the car’s relatively low curb weight of 1,043 kgs (2,299 lbs), this engine could push it to a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph), and it had a 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of under 8 seconds, solid figures for the era.
As noted above, just three cars were made and the final car was left unfinished. As one of the vehicles was crashed, this left the complete prototype and the incomplete car – it’s important to note that the incomplete car was a pre-production prototype and as such it represents the closet approximation we have of what the final production car would have looked like, if the project hadn’t been cancelled of course.
It’s clear that Holden was serious about building the GTR-X and exactly why the project was showdown remains a point of contention among enthusiast. Whatever the reasoning, the project did almost make it. A full assortment of advertising material and a brochure were created, so the cancellation must have come relatively late in the process.
“Its long, sleek hood is accentuated by a low, wedge-shaped grille. The body line sweeps up at the rear to an elevated tail light assembly. Simplicity is the keynote. It is achieved by concealed headlights, sharp windshield rake, recessed parking and turning lights, and flush petrol filler access and door handles. Front and rear bumpers assume the contour of the body. To identify the car, the GTR-X identification is contained within a crisp black and orange stripe running parallel to the rocker panel.” – The 1970 Holden Torana GTR-X Brochure
The Holden Torana GTR-X Pre-Production Car Shown Here
The car you see here is the 1970 Holden Torana GTR-X pre-production prototype and the final GTR-X remaining in private hands. It was almost structurally and mechanically complete when the project was cancelled, and it’s remained in much the same condition for decades.
Initially, when the GTR-X program was given the kibosh, this car was sent to a storage facility at Fisherman’s Bend Engineering. It was later sent to the Apprentice Training Centre, also at Fisherman’s Bend.
Eventually GM-H (General Motors Holden) put the car up for sale via an internal tender in 1987, it was bought by a Holden employee on behalf of a family member, and this family member then put the car into storage in the Melbourne suburb of Ormond for decades.
At some point the original GTR-X body molds were also bought and stored with the car, this is important as it means new body panels can be made to factory specification, and that theoretically entirely new bodies can be made from scratch.
The car and the molds are now being offered for sale out of Buderim in Queensland, Australia. The price isn’t listed but you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or ensure about buying it. Hopefully the car will soon be completed to original intended specification.
Images courtesy of My105.com.au + General Motors Holden
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