You Got Vegemite on My Vega! ’78 Holden Torana in the Golden State’s Capital

Come on, man, the V8 Vega thing has been done...wait, WTF?
Come on, dude, the V8 Vega thing jumped the shark in…wait, WTF?!

Okay, I’ll admit it: I have a weakness for the products of the ersatz Big Three’s foreign outposts, particularly those from before 1990 or so. But in my defense, how can you not love the idea of a rear-drive, Lotus-tuned and vaguely Omni-ish Mopar hot hatch or a Ford Granada that is actually maddeningly sexy? Exactly. So just what do we have here?

Well, the title is actually pretty misleading because Chevy’s stylish turd blossom compact of the ‘70s shared no major components with this Antipodean three-door – which is known internally and amongst Aussie gearheads as an LX-series Torana (“torana” being an Aboriginal word for “to fly”) – despite boasting eerily similar dimensions and styling language. Also, the seller says this car’s VIN indicates it was actually born with a four-banger, which would technically make it a Holden Sunbird, ironic given that the original H-body Pontiac Sunbird was derived from the Vega. Confused? Excellent.
At any rate, this LX Whatchamacallit currently houses a 3.3L (202 cubic inches for you metricphobes.) pushrod Holden straight-six and a four-speed stick, as well as some replacement body panels and some Torana SS (Cue scroggzilla posting pics of racing A9Xs that have the same effect as Pavlov’s bell in 3, 2…) dashboard bits. Oh, and rust. A metric shit-ton not insignificant amount of the stuff. And some apparent towing damage on each rear quarter panel. Sure, the asking price of 50 Benjamins seems like a bad joke steep, but the seller claims restored LX hatchbacks are worth their weight in gold Down Under, Great Recession be damned. And the fact that it’s never been titled over here? Relax; since it’s over 25-years-old, there aren’t any DOT or NHTSA hoops to jump through. So now the only question is: Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
Hop like a wallaby over to eBay.

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  1. muthalovin Avatar

    Too much rust for 5k. In fact, how much rust would 5k buy?
    “torana” being an Aboriginal word for “to fly” – Awesome.
    Also, I clicked the Sheila Magnet tag, just out of curiosity…

  2. LTDScott Avatar

    Interesting story about that car. I was born and raised in Australia, and back in 1980 the major story in the news was the disappearance of a baby in the outback. The parents (the Chamberlains) claimed the baby was taken by a dingo, but they were accused of murdering the baby and disposing of her body.
    The Chamberlains owned a Torana just like this, and the police discovered what they thought was blood spatter on a support brace under the dash. The police believed this was from the murder of the baby, but it was later discovered that the spatter was actually overspray and that all Toranas had it.
    My family name is Chamberlain, and back in 1980 my parents also owned a Torana hatchback, so on a few occasions my parents were confused for the more famous Chamberlain parents.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Is that where, "The dingo ate my baybay" cam from?

      1. dr zero Avatar

        Dingos take babies, not eat them.

    2. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      As a result, do you have an unnatural fear of long-legged scraggly desert-living dogs?

    3. Lokki Avatar

      I thought they finally found the poor baby’s body and determined that it was Beatles that devoured it.
      I seem to remember a headline something like,
      “Ringo’s et me baby!”

  3. engineerd Avatar

    "While operational, for safety reasons, should NOT be considered 'driveable'."
    So, it's like a TVR?

  4. Maymar Avatar

    I would drive the hell out of this Torana, even in pink:
    <img src="; width=500 /img?
    I also would like the tent option:
    Lastly, every time I mentally say "Torana," I feel like I'm using the local pronunciation of Toronto.

  5. CptSevere Avatar

    Five grand for this? I'll be Holden out for a V8 Vega. Driving on the wrong side of the car and shifting with my left hand would be too weird, anyway. The Norton I had years ago shifted on the right and braked on the left, and you stepped on the shift lever to upshift, but that's as far as I'll go. Hell, even Canadians know the steering wheel goes on the driver's side, not the passenger's.

    1. Kogashiwa Avatar

      I've had a couple RHD cars here in Canada, an MR2 (sadly missed) and a WRX.
      You get used to it in a day or so. The first time I ever drove RHD was picking up the MR2 at the shipping yard, in a part of town unfamiliar to me and with pretty heavy traffic, and it just wasn't a problem.
      I prefer it a bit because when shifting in a curve you can keep the (usually) more precise right hand on the steering wheel.

      1. CptSevere Avatar

        That makes sense. However, even when driving an automatic I tend to steer with my left hand. Kinda funny, because I'm right handed, and not very ambidextrous.
        Driving on both the wrong side of the road and the opposite side of the car seems like it would really screw me up, but English visitors I've spoken with say that adjusting to driving here in the States wasn't all that difficult for them.

  6. Maymar Avatar

    I would drive the hell out of this Torana, even in pink:
    <img src="; width=500 /img>
    I also would like the tent option:
    ” target=”_blank”>
    Lastly, every time I mentally say "Torana," I feel like I'm using the local pronunciation of Toronto.

      1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

        perfectly on cue….. thank you for not disappointing!!!!

        1. scroggzilla Avatar

          Dogs bark, ducks quack, and I do what I do.