When first released in early 1976, the LX was a mild facelift of the LH sedan with the addition of a stylish new three door hatchback body style to complement the four door model lineup. However, many upgrades and additions during its production run made the LX a much superior car to its predecessor.
All SSs, even the 3300 six cylinder version, had the front spoiler from the SL/R 5000, but had different striping, wheel covers and centre console. The LX SL/R 5000 sedan now had a black painted bonnet and bold identifying black out lettering across the boot spoiler and alone the lower half of the doors. The hatchback equivalent to the SL/R 5000 (ie. the SS hatchback with a 5.0 litre V8 fitted) had no such adornment. It was differentiated from the smaller engined SS hatchbacks simply by the '5.0 litre' badge on the hatch. The front spoiler was slightly smaller than that used on the LH SL/R 5000 and the L34 option was not offered
The three speed T-bar Trimatic was now available on the 5.0 litre engined cars. Interiors had orange instrument graphics and the sports models (SS & SL/R) had a silver finish dash fascia. A new headlight flasher and dimmer stalk was fitted to all models in lieu of the old floor mounted item which dated back to the 1948 model Holden. The bucket seat moulding shape was improved and all models had seven inch round headlights with the SS hatchback gaining quartz halogen inserts.
Late in 1976, the Torana 1900 sedan was replaced by the new Sunbird. This had the same body and powertrain as the 1900, but new interiors and the addition of RTS (radial tuned suspension) set it apart from the Torana. RTS was a major upgrade in suspension design and geometry. Springs and dampers were recalibrated and anti roll bars were added to the front and rear suspension. The overall result for the Sunbird was a much improved, better handling car, aimed squarely at the Japanese market threat. Externally, it differed from the Torana 1900 with colour coded grilles, new wheel covers and 'Sunbird' badging.
A Fashion Pack option was available with plaid cloth seat and door trim inserts which were available in three colours, coordinated with the exterior. Bumper bar rub strips were added.
The Sunbird hatchback was released in mid-1977. RTS was added to the six cylinder and V8 Toranas a around the same time, making these cars vastly superior to their predecessors. All LXs with RTS had 13 x 5.5 inch wheels and steel belted radials.
The A9X's entire rear floor panel pressing was new to accommodate the new rear axle assembly with the upper trailing arms mounted further apart. The steering rack was mounted solidly to the front crossmember, not on rubber bushes as before. The engine and gearbox were the standard issue L31 5.0 litre V8 and M21 (Australian) four speed manual, however some cars were fitted with the Borg Warner Super T10 four speed manual (option number MC7) in lieu of the Australian gearbox. Also fitted to the A9X were a heavy duty radiator, a thermo controlled electric engine fan and a radiator overflow reservoir. To match the new rear brakes, HX allot front brake assemblies were used and a new PBR master cylinder with integral proportioning valve and plastic reservoir was fitted. The radio and centre console were deleted as were the SL/R 5000 paint outs on sedans.
These vehicles with RTS, four wheel disc brakes and 5.0 litre engines were probably the best road cars offered by GM-H in the 1970s. Differential ratios up to a tall 2.60:1 made them very good open road touring cars. Even though they did not win their inaugural Bathurst in 1977, they totally dominated touring car racing throughout 1978 and 1979 with Peter Brock winning the 1979 classic by a record six laps (37km).
Production Dates and Numbers:
LX Torana 1976 - 1978
Club Patron - Colin Bond