1976 LX SS Torana build number 1
1st production L31 SS Torana ever made.
Mostly factory correct.
Leave in "survivor" condition or restore.
Very special piece of Holden history.
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Chassis # ALX000032M
I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb, when I state that the Torana peaked with the LX series. Now devoid of the smaller, Vauxhall derived earlier series, but debugged from a few of the LH issues, the LX was born the “golden child”, especially when Holden dropped the ball with the technically smart, but aesthetically challenged UC series that followed it. Poor old UC… Then, just to kick it while it’s down, along came the midsized Opel sourced Commodore and the mighty Torana, Australia’s greatest race car, died with a whimper.
Of the Golden Child LX’s model range, the new “Hatchback” design was both revolutionary and a damn good looking fastback car. Option her up a bit and you had yourself something both sporty and very practical. That in itself, is a feat not easily achieved! Upon its successful and high profile release, the hottest variant of the LX hatchback was a SS (Super Sports, nothing to do with the Nazi’s I’m told.) that could be had in either L20 6 cyinder 202 variant, L32 V8 253, or the big daddy for the LX, the L31 308. Option that up further, with a M21 close ratio 4 speed and LSD diff and you were cooking with gas. Better choose one of those glorious, lairy 1970’s colours too please! Viola, you had an awesome street machine with strong cred’, that could ferry about the kids, convert into a panelvan via the “Hatch Hutch” if the need ‘aroused’ and could handle the completely shithouse roads of 1976 Australia, with aplomb. In short, the L31 SS Hatch was the best thing you could park your bum in in 1976. But what about the awesome L34 engine? Well Holden was going to slip that into the homologation special A9X, but ADR27a came about and the L34 was phased out, meaning the same L31 of the SS hatch, albeit with a few mods, was all the poor A9X ever got. What a bummer for GMH, but pretty cool for your SS Hatch owner, who, like nearly everyone else in the 1980’s, stuck an A9X flare kit on his SS and thoroughly enjoyed his Walter Mitty moment.
The LX SS Hatch in question is quite a fascinating car. It is not only a factory Papaya Orange L31 SS, but its PSN (Production Sequence Number) makes it the first SS 5000 Hatch ever made! Now, before everyone flares up (A9X pun intended), please be aware that GMH in the mid 1970’s was not a Swiss watch and just having the lowest PSN, does not make it the first one out the factory. It means it was MEANT to be the 1st and was the 1st one they started to build, but most likely wasn’t the 1st one “out the door” so to speak. These 1st build cars were usually held up for QC purposes, both due to a new thing going down the production line, was likely to get a few things wrong and also because the 1st few models of something exciting usually had an exciting role!! This particular chassis ALX000032M (Why couldn’t they make the 31st LX the 1st L31 SS? My OCD is riled…) was built in late 1975 (As per her ID Tag) finished on the 21st of January 1976, but wasn’t sold by Zupps until June 1976. So for 6 months she did something pretty cool… What was it? Show car? Press car? GMH Employee car? Harry Firth's personal time machine with GMH Flux Capacitor? Absolutely nothing? I'm not sure, but there would be an interesting story to be told and something the new owner can enjoy uncovering at a future date.
As far as we know, the car has been smart enough to remain in QLD in 1976 and it is quite a nice, honest old thing, that has a few needs, but nothing untoward for a 42 year old car. Suprisingly, she has also managed to escape from getting the popular A9X “treatment” most SS Hatch’s have received. The evidence of those kinda’ awful mudguards speak volumes to me about the car prior ownership; they didn’t care about cool, they kept it very practical and in doing so, have created a very nice survivor spec car. She has a few cool “day 1” mods that are easily replaced and courtesy of a freshly rebuilt 308, she gets along very nicely!
A complete, unmolested L31 SS Hatch in Papaya is quite the prize in Australian collector car circles, but to have the 1st one in the production sequence, which also happens to be the first SS L31 Torana ever made, is an excellent opportunity for someone who appreciates that cars like this, are something special, on top of an already special model.