First published 2011-05-21
The HB Torana has long been overlooked as a genuine classic. Perhaps it is the perception that they are merely a badge-engineered HB Vauxhall Viva. Perhaps it is the less-than-enthusiastic 1.2 litre motor. Perhaps it is the fact that with each successive model after the HB, the Torana was given more and more powerful engines, culminating in a 5044cc V8 that could turn asphalt to dust.
Perhaps it is because of all these things but it‘s not fair. The HB Torana is awesome.
Sure, you‘re not going to win any traffic light drag races with this; in fact, you’re unlikely to even beat a grandmother on a gopher, but you WILL look cool just cruising. The profile, fat side moldings, whitewalls and Nanna-spec sunshade all scream HK Holden Premier at a portion of the cost, while the Coke-bottle hipline is, in all seriousness, Jane Mansfield-sexy.
The original HB Torana was released in 1967 and was the first small car to wear the Holden badge. Its predecessor, the boxy HA Viva was assembled and sold by Holden, and was the last car sold in Australia with the Vauxhall name.
This particular example is a ‘1969’ (unofficially ‘HB Series II‘), as denoted by the fact it has four doors. The earlier HB Torana was, like the HB Vauxhall Viva, only available as a two-door sedan. Holden, seeing a market for practicality that the British always appeared averse to, designed a four-door sedan that followed the original‘s profile and kept the trendy Coke-bottle hip-line intact.
While the first iteration of the HB Torana was essentially built up from a CKD kit imported directly from England, the two-door and four-door bodies for the ‘69-model were wholly pressed in Australia and introduced some other Holden-specific changes. On the rear, the UK-spec twin numberplate lights were deleted due to the comparatively small size of Aussie number plates and replaced by a single light, while inside the headlight dip-switch was moved from the indicator stalk back to Holden’s traditional floor-mounted switch.
Plenty of HB Toranas have fallen by the wayside; under powered and overshadowed, they have been left unloved for too long. Those that have kept them have often modified them, as their engine bays will, with fettling, take a V6 or V8.
This car though is purported to be one owner with a genuine 73,000 miles from new. The car presents as original, although some pics of interior would have been nice and it does sport a, uh, character mark on the boot lid.
It is true that the two-door sedan probably presents as a smoother-looking car, however the unique nature of the Australian-designed four-door makes it a winner in our books.
Find it on eBay classifieds in Adelaide, South Australia here
Assuming the engine and interior are sound and with an asking price of $5,000 (or make an offer) anything under $4500 is a steal.