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LH Torana SLR5000 L34 touring car recommission in Sydney

Yes - if you have ever thought about owning a touring car, our workshop can help you get it recommissioned so it can be used. See the work on our L34 Torana
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torana Touring car recommissioning & servicing in Sydney

  • A workshop in Sydney for mechanical servicing on Australian touring cars
  • Mechanical maintenance, upgrades or rebuilds.
  • Race track preparation
  • Torana SLR 5000 L34 recommission to race spec

Want more proof we are a bunch of car nuts? We are recommissioning an original Holden Group C Touring Car.

We had been searching for a genuine L34 Torana for a long time (could call us Holden lovers perhaps, well George does have a soft spot for Fords though) and we finally found one in Western Australia that looked like it was in pretty good condition for its age (and the life it had). 

We investigated its authenticity and quickly found out it actually began its life as a Group C race car in the Australian Touring Car Championship. It had originally been purchased as a new vehicle by Tasmanian speedway star Gene CookGene Cook is one of Tasmania’s most decorated Speedway Sedan racers, becoming a household name in the World of Oval Track racing in the 1980’s. He bought and converted this Torana to a race car, then campaigned it successfully in Tasmania. The car changed hands a few times over the years until it sat idle for quite a while in Wanneroo in W.A not running.

We purchased the touring car and had it transported to our workshop in Brookvale to determine what needed to be done to get the car recommissioned and restored to its origins as it ran in the ATCC. Our goal will be to restore the car to be period correct. This would make it eligible for various historic touring car racing categories while keeping a piece of Australian touring car history alive too.

This car actually ran in the 1975 Australian Touring Car Championship as the Number 13. Gene raced the car at Symmons Plains in the 1975 ATCC round. Gene sold the car to ex-racer and car dealer Barry Cassidy who on-sold the car to Mark Grima. It looks like the car still runs it’s original race engine, gearbox and diff plus interior trim, roll cage, race suspension and wheels.

Although as we’ll explain next, there isn’t much that differentiates a ‘normal’ Torana from a race car from the period.

The story behind the LH Torana SLR 5000 L34

For those that don’t know, there were only 263 L34 SL/R 5000 Toranas produced in 1974. L34 was the RPO designation for the uprated 308 cu i ( 5 L ) Holden engine. It was an improvement in durability and strength, but not a new engine. It was based on the standard engine but had extra webbing cast into it. The heads were specific to the engine with bigger valves, roller rockers etc.

Don’t forget, this was back in the day when the only difference between a race car and a road car was basically a rego label as Ford, Holden, Chrysler and others tried to battle it out on the race tracks – not to mention the showrooms come Monday morning. Unlike today’s categories of racing, back in the day most race cars were based closely on production models.

Holden’s homologation of the LH Torana for Group C racing ushered in the option package known as the L34. As most motorsport fans will recall, the all Aussie-built SL/R 5000 L34 in the hands of racers like Brock, Morris, Bond, Jane, Grice and others made an indelible mark on Australian motor racing. This car was so dominant it won every round of the Australian Touring Car Championships in 1975 (and we hear people complaining about this year’s Red Bull F1 dominance)

The most important part of the L34 package was the engine; a heavily reworked (by Repco Engine Developments) 5.0 litre version of the standard 308 block with;

  • Upgraded engine block, new bearings, cast alloy pistons, forged steel connecting rods, cap bolts, a polished head with 1.95 in inlet valves and a fantastic 1.61 in exhaust.
  • A machined intake manifold
  • A carburettor adaptor
  • Anti-surge baffles
  • The flywheel was lighter and the clutch was much stronger
  • A unique cylinder head with bigger ports and valves
  • Roller rockers and new ignition system. 
  • A Rochester Q-jet carburettor was also fitted, along with a high-pressure fuel pump
  • Stronger crankshaft
  • Tubular steel extractors
  • Plus a heavy-duty radiator for improved cooling under the tough Australian weather conditions.
 

The most visibly recognisable upgrade was the body package consisting of bolt-on flares that started a trend. It’s the thing that most of us remember as the classic Group C look with their wider wheel tracks with bigger rubber, higher spring rates and stiffer dampers that made the cars handle better vs standard road cars. The new L34 SL/R 5000 also improved its drive handling by improving the shaft, axle tube, suspension, brakes and adding sports wheels.

The look and feel of the car was very distinct at the time, so too was the price tag at over $6,000 which back in the ’70’s which was expensive. Although it was all about building essentially a ‘race car’ to compete on the track rather than huge production numbers, that is why there was less than 300 made.

If you love Group A or C Touring Cars there is a great Facebook page dedicated to them here

recommissioning and servicing a Group C touring car

  • Refreshed engine
  • New front brakes
  • Dash and ignition rewiring
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Our work to get this Group C car recommissioned has started and so far we have;

  • Refreshed engine with new rings, bearings, seals and gaskets
  • Built and fitted new heads to original Group C specs
  • Sourced and fitted Group C twin point distributor and twin coils
  • Rewired ignition system, and most wiring in dash
  • Replaced the subframe and sway bar bushes
  • Fitted period correct front brake calipers
  • Searched and found new tyres of correct sizes (quite rare these days)
 
There are quite a few more things to do but we’ll update this page as we get through each step.
 
..and yes keen eye observers will have seen the Group A Holden Touring Car on the hoist, that is ours as well.

Get a torana serviced in Sydney

  • Servicing for classic cars
  • Interior or exterior upgrades
  • Aftermarket product installations
  • Pink Slip inspections
L34-Torana-Touring-Car-mechanic-workshop-in-Sydney-on-the-trailer

If you own a road registered Torana and want a car mechanic workshop in Sydney to work on it then we specialise in classic cars. The staff that we have all own their own classic cars and as you can see from what we have shared here, we have a passion for them too.

Our workshop in Brookvale can help with simple things like Pink Slip inspections all the way to engine replacements or other mechanical upgrades.

Photos of the L34 Torana SLR5000 getting recommissioned in Sydney

Using an old group a or c touring car in Australia

Yes if you didn’t realise, you can actually buy, own and use a touring car quite easily. Touring Cars come up for sale fairly often especially Group A or C vehicles from different eras. 

A lot of touring cars are listed for sale on websites like my105.com or Race Cars Direct or Speed Sales as well as local car clubs, race category websites or local forums. The other place can sometimes be on special interest websites like Australian Muscle Car Sales or V8 Sleuth where you can see a lot of different cars in various states of condition, some with spares packages etc.

While some of the more modern touring cars will need a crew to support running it (including a mechanic, electronics specialists and/or a data analyst) the older cars that run simpler set ups using production based Holden or Ford engines can be more manageable and accessible. 

If you want to get a taste of what driving a touring car is like there are plenty of experience days that are run in Australia. They generally run stripped out road cars that will have a cage, open exhaust and bigger brakes, they typically aren’t full race spec cars as they’d be too expensive (and valuable) to run for the general public, although they will give you a glimpse as to what they are like. 

Touring Cars can be used in lots of practice days at different race tracks around Australia plus there are categories like Heritage Touring Cars who actively support the older cars getting a run. Motorsport Australia also has various groups that vehicles can fall into to be eligible for events.

Peninsula Sports Cars is by no means a motorsport or touring car focussed workshop but if you are thinking about owning one to do some casual track days or even join us when we head out to historic race meetings then we may be able to support you, let’s chat about it.

can you Buy and maintain an Australian Touring car in Sydney?
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If you are thinking of buying a touring car to use for track days, or have one that needs to be recommissioned, we might be able to help you. While most of the work we do is focussed on road cars we have the equipment and expertise to also work on track specific cars. 

We own a mix of touring cars, sports cars and open wheel single seater race cars which we do track days or race ourselves.

What we typically do when someone asks us about getting a race car recommissioned is;

  • Provide an initial free phone consultation to understand the history of the vehicle, your requirements and if we are a good fit to be working together, and determine if we have the right expertise to help with the type of race car you have.
 
  • We’ll ask you to bring the car to our workshop to have a closer look at it or secure photos and videos to help assess what needs to be done and to work out the logistics.
 
  • Clearly define a scope of work that covers all mechanical or cosmetic requirements as per your brief.
 
  • Once the scope of work is agreed to and the vehicle is with us we create a detailed job sheet & begin capturing photos of each element that is being worked on. You get to literally follow the journey of what is being done and why.
 
  • If we discover anything that is a surprise or not in the brief then we’ll contact you to talk through the available options before we commence any further work.
 

So yes, you may be able to unleash those child hood dreams of throwing a race car around a track with support from our workshop. Lets have a discussion to see what is possible.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET A RACING CAR RECOMMISSIONED?
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Recommissioning a racing car in Australia is a meticulous process that involves restoring a race car to operational condition after it has been inactive or stored for an extended period. This procedure is crucial to ensure the vehicle’s safety, performance, and compliance with relevant regulations before it can be used for competitive racing events in the country.

Peninsula Sports Cars can help you through a recommissioning process which typically follows a structured sequence of steps, adhering to rigorous standards and guidelines. Some of this will be dictated by the state of the vehicle, available parts and your desired outcome or intended use. 

Some of the steps involved would include;

Assessment and Documentation:
The initial step in recommissioning a racing car involves a thorough assessment of the vehicle’s current condition. This can include reviewing the car’s history, specifications, and any modifications that may have been made since its last use. We can review records that come with the vehicle and/or help piece together its history. All of this is optional as our focus will be on the mechanical aspects.

Safety Inspection:
Safety is of paramount importance in any form of motorsport if you intend to drive the vehicle in any way. Sometimes owners will restore or recommission a race car as a static vehicle for display. If you intend driving it then the car must undergo a comprehensive safety inspection to identify and rectify any potential hazards or deficiencies. This includes scrutinising the chassis, roll cage if it has one, safety harnesses, fire extinguishing systems, and any other safety equipment like brakes, lines, hoses etc.

Mechanical Restoration:
The mechanical components of the racing car, such as the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, and steering may require thorough inspection, restoration and/or replacement if necessary. Any worn-out or damaged parts we will recommend what approach to take depending on what it is and what condition it is in. For old race cars outright performance will take a second priority vs reliability and safety. Unless of course you will be competing heavily with the vehicle and want to be a the pointy end of any field.

Electrical Systems:
The car’s electrical systems, including wiring, sensors, and electronic components, must be inspected for functionality and compliance with safety standards. Wiring looms should be checked for wear and tear, and any damaged components should be repaired or replaced. Sometimes these will be in areas that are hard to see or from the outside look ok but further inspection will reveal otherwise.

Fuel and Fluid Systems:
The fuel and fluid systems, including the fuel tank, brake lines, and cooling system, should be inspected for leaks or corrosion. These systems must meet the safety and performance requirements mandated by motorsport regulations but common sense will always prevail from a pure safety perspective. Many of these items can be replaced.

Tires and Wheels:
Racing car tires and wheels play a crucial role in performance and safety. These components should be inspected for wear, damage, or even small cracks. Replacing tyres will depend on how the vehicle will be used and whether you need racing slicks or something less performance orientated.

Compliance with Regulations:
Recommissioning a racing car in Australia may necessitate adherence to strict motorsport regulations and safety standards. The car should comply with specific category rules and technical regulations established by the governing body of the respective racing series. For historic racing categories this can sometimes come down to decals, major mechanical components etc in terms of preserving the original state of the vehicle when it was raced. For some categories this is less important but modern safety equipment will still be needed.

Testing and Tuning:
After the restoration and maintenance work is completed, the racing car should undergo extensive testing and tuning. This involves ensuring that all components work harmoniously to optimise performance, handling, and reliability. Typically this will be done at our workshop but there is the option for us to help you at the race track which can be added to our service provisions.

Logbook and Documentation:
A comprehensive logbook detailing all recommissioning activities, modifications, and inspections should be maintained in an ideal world. This logbook is essential for demonstrating compliance with regulations and facilitating future scrutineering checks but may not be necessary depending on the type of race car and how you intend using it.

That is a brief explanation about recommissioning a racing car in Australia and the actual process will vary based on where your vehicle is located, what it is, its age & your intended purpose. The last factor to consider will be budget and we can help you structure a scope of work that addresses the most important items first and work through anything else you need after that.

Either way it is possible to get a racing car recommissioned and ready for use or demonstration.

Enquire about getting work done to your vehicle

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Peninsula Sports Car Services
Peninsula Sports Car Services

A team of passionate car enthusiasts providing a range of services and support for the local classic car community in Australia

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