RED DEVIL: Les Chadwick’s 355ci Holden LX Torana Hatch

21 Aug

Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden Torana

RED DEVIL

Meet Les Chadwick’s interpretation of the classic Aussie hatch back
Story and Pics by hoskingindustries.com.au

Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden ToranaIt’s easy to understand why so many people lust after the LX Torana hatch. Thanks to its motorsport background in this country and that fact that history occurred in the wonderful years prior to the mind-numbing parity of the V8 Supercars when racers piloted vehicles much more similar to the road-going versions, anything even part-way resembling the legendary A9X tends to get pulses racing.

Even though Sydneysider Les Chadwick has always loved Toranas, this gleaming LX is actually the 56-year-old’s first. “I’ve previously owned a twin turbo Hilux, Datsun 720 ute, Holden tonner, an HR, XD Falcon and an XY Falcon ute,” Les says. Clearly, Les a man of varied tastes.

The LX has come a long way since Les purchased it back in 2005. There hasn’t been a single nut, bolt, washer or gasket that hasn’t been turned, replaced or recoated and the results show in these photos. At the heart of it all is the stroker Holden; based on a VT-era 304ci block and filled with a 355ci COME Racing stroker kit.Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden Torana

The VT blocks are generally considered the pinnacle in the Holden design and Les’ combo runs a solid roller valvetrain operating within a set of heavily ported cast VN-style heads. All the air enters the engine via the 750cfm Mighty Demon and a Redline dual-plane intake. Power is untested at this stage, but as we learned during our photo shoot, the car has no trouble turning the 10in-wide Convo Pros.

Les says that the completion of the flawless Brilliant red bodywork was one of his most memorable moments during the build, and with good reason: it looks fantastic. “Just being able to show everyone what all the hard work had been for was a real defining moment,” les says.

Painted by Bathurst Paint and Panel, the flanks of the car show no rippling, no dents and no signs of the car’s 30-odd years of existence. Contrasted by Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden Toranathe traditional blackouts, the red really stands out, but it is a colour that isn’t going to date like the latest flash-in-the-pan fad.

Les has achieved a similar level of timelessness with his treatment of the interior as well. It mixes the classic primary architecture of the LX cabin with some more modern parts and styling to create a place that’s fresh and updated without feeling – or looking – weird.

Up front you’ll find some aftermarket reclining race seats. These and the rest of the cabin has been decked out in some soft leather with red stitching to match the paintwork outside. With a modern steering wheel and the addition of some Autometer gauges, Les sits pretty in a cockpit that grabs your attention with its subtlety and cleanliness as opposed to whitewash of tan leather and billet that is likely to date a few years down the track.Les Chadwick's 1976 LX Holden Torana

Luckily for Les, the build up of the Torana went pretty smoothly. “About the biggest problem I had was that my shed was too small,” he says. “There are no further plans for the car at this stage other than to enjoy it.”

Whatever the case, Les has the pleasure of cruising around in one of the nicer LX examples we’ve seen lately, bristling with attention to detail and packing all the right hardware to allow him to do just about anything his heart desires; whether it be long trips, drag racing or just going to the shops. What more could you ask for?

Owner: Les Chadwick
Colour: Brilliant red w/blackouts
Bodywork: A9X, painted bumpers
Engine Type: VT Commodore V8
Engine Mods: 4-bolt mains, COME 355ci stroker kit (10:1-comp’), ported cast heads, Crow solid roller cam’, Yella Terra rockers, double-row timing chain, High Energy sump, twin thermo fans, 3-core radiator, Gilmer belt drive, 750cfm Barry Grant Mighty Demon, 76A alternator, 8in K&N air cleaner, electronic distributor, Earl’s fuel filter, billet throttle linkage, braided lines and Speedflow fittings, alloy catch can and radiator overflow, Redline intake manifold
Power: Untested
Exhaust: Hurricane 4-into-1 headers (1-7/8in primaries), twin 2.5in mild steel exhaust, Hooker mufflers
Gearbox: T400, 3000rpm stall, ‘stage-2’ kit
Diff: 9in, 3:1 final drive, LSD, 31-spline Mark Williams axles, 3.5in double-wall tail shaft, tail shaft loop
Brakes: HZ front rotors and calipers, HZ rear drums
Suspension: HZ front shocks and springs, 26mm rear sway bar
Wheels/Tyres: 15in Centerline Convo Pro rims (8in front, 10in rear)
Other mods: Mini tubs
Interior: Black leather trim w/red stitching, front race seats, black carpets, B&M shifter, Autometer gauges, sports steering wheel
Stereo: Pioneer head unit, Sony Xplod rear 6x9in speakers
Build Period: 4 years
Cost: Undisclosed
Thanks: Walker Race Engines, Gary Campbell Auto Electrics, Active Automatics, KCDR Drivetrains, Bathurst Paint and Panel, Blue Chrome, Craft Diffs, “My wife Kim for all her support and patience and also to Sarah and Jake”

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