Gallery: Toranafest 2015 Maitland

By: Sam Maclachlan, Photography by: Sam Maclachlan

Presented by

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Thunderstorm after thunderstorm couldn’t wash away the smell of Torana at Maitland Showground

 

Toranafest 2015

To non-Torana fans, the thought of filling a paddock with identically-named cars and calling it a car show might seem a little odd. But for lovers of the mountain-taming, legend-making, above-weight-punching Holdens, one weekend in September holds a special place in their hearts – Toranafest!

It was once an annual event, until the dedicated mob at Hunter Valley Torana Club cited exhaustion as one of the reasons it would shift to a bi-annual fixture following the 2013 event. In 2014, Toranarama filled the void – to the relief of local Queenslanders who would ordinarily have made the trip south – but for 2015, the distinctive smell of Torana washed over Maitland. Toranafest was back!

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Maitland Showground, a fresh Toranafest venue, hosted the Show and Shine on the Sunday, but not before a monster Saturday Cruise took place on the Saturday. Toranafest isn’t just a static show!

"We had 156 cars in the cruise this year, a real achievement given the weather!" explained a very satisfied event co-ordinator, Pete Morris. "The threat of rain may have dropped a few out, though Torana owners tend to be a resilient bunch – they drive anyway."

This fact was proved as 339 cars rolled into Maitland Showground through mud, rain squalls and wheel-eating puddles. By 9:30am, most of the cars were in place, and surrounded by all manner of spectator, including owners, former owners, wannabe owners and owners of non-completed project Toranas, such as yours truly… Many clutched showbags including the latest Unique Cars issue.

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The format for the Sunday is reasonably standard, the main difference being: one, every car there is a Torana of some description and; two, even when the heavens opened for lunchtime, it wasn’t a mad scramble for the exit – most cars and spectators stayed put, waited out the rain to cease and then casually resumed action.

A time-honoured Toranafest feature is the starting - and revving very loudly – of cars in memory of members of the Torana community no longer with us. As it had just poured with rain, the response was unusually tepid, however that all changed when Brad Sullivan fuelled, primed and then fired the monster Big Block in his LX hatch drag car. Three of his fellow Canberra Torana Club members had their Top 60 Summernats cars sitting in the rain all day…

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The sheer noise of that car rattled the windows of the numerous HB four-cylinder cars on hand, set off a deep humming from the sheet metal adorning the array of genuine L34, A9X and XU-1s present, and reverberated off the paint of the numerous street machine-spec cars.

It even shook the rust off some of the old warhorses present, fully registered representatives of what Toranas looked like when birthed around 40 years ago (1969 – 1980).

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By the afternoon, the sun was back out, no one cared much about the mud (though they would undoubtedly be spending a lot of time on the pressure washers that night) and the likes of VIP Guests Bev Brock, Jim Richards and Ian Tate were still smiling.

As the roads around Maitland filled with the magic sound of everything from old-school four-pots to supercharged sixes to mental gear driven Big Blocks and the magical Thong-clappers (253 V8s) heading home, many Torana-nuts were left with big smiles, ideas for their own cars and a slight aching for the third September in 2017 for the next Toranafest. This car show just keeps getting better!

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TORANAFEST 2015 WINNERS

Best HB - Paul Taylor

Best LC - Scott Hudson

Best LJ  - John Wernicke

Best TA  - Bailey Johnstone

Best LH  - Easy Mike Lonie

Best LX   - Adam Pay

Best UC   - Colin Aynsley

Best HB/LC/LJ/TA competition - Adam Buffet

Best LH/LX/UC competition – David ( unable to read surname)

Furthest Distance Travelled – Steve Harvey 3952 km 1 way

Encouragement award - Katie Moy

Best Individual display - Barry Gavin

Best Club Display - Canberra Torana Club

Neville Bridges memorial Shield - Mick McCardle

Tony Mattingly Award - Bev Brock

 

MEET SOME OF THE TORANA OWNERS:

Wayne Hafemeister's LJ 4-door Supercharged Six

"I was going to put a V8 in it, but I am glad I didn’t," admits Wayne Hafemeister. The reasons he is glad are two-fold. One, it means he now has a monster 4/71 blower bolted to the side of a hot six. Two, his LJ four-door is now very different to most other "little" Toranas.

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"I’ve always liked the red sixes. So I made the decision to go with the 202 and the blower. I wanted it to be fully engineered and Blue-Plated (Queensland’s modified car regulation scheme)."

Of course, you don’t just bolt a Blower to the side of a 202 and pronounce it legal, it takes a bit more than that…

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"I had so many people say, ‘just bolt a blower to it and make a thousand horsepower and it’s all easy’. Bullsh*t!" he says, laughing. "It takes a lot of work, especially if you want it legal. And it hasn’t all gone smoothly…"

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All the amazing bodywork was done in the shed at home by Wayne, after he built a rotisserie himself, took the car back to metal, then painted it Clear Over Base (COB) with a Fiat Red.

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The car was a standout at Toranafest due to its unique and classy interior, the fact it was shed and owner-built and of course that fully legal, blown six. Can you build us one now, please Wayne?

 

Bob Byrnes’ Genuine Matching Number L34

Bob Byrnes’ genuine, matching number L34 is no stranger to those who have spotted the Barbados Green four door at car shows before, but for those who haven’t been introduced, behold: a piece of Australian motoring history in (mostly) un-restored condition that gets trailered nowhere – it’s driven, stone chips and all!

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"It was one of only five L34s that went to NZ originally, and runs the original trims, carpet, driveline and the rest of the interior," says Bob, proudly. "I have re-painted the sills, flares and front apron, but otherwise it’s the original acrylic Barbados Green paint it left the factory with. It’s driven, not hidden!

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"I bought it in 2002 after it was returned here to Australia to be sold. I have the original six-inch rims at home for it, however I had these wheels made for it as these cars look a lot better with 8s and 10s on them! They fill the flares a lot better!

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"In 13 years, I’ve done 60-odd thousand kays in it – including driving it here to Toranafest – even in the wet. If it gets dirty, it gets dirty – you just clean it afterwards. Next week, I drive to Toowoomba for the A9X Torana Nationals."

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One very driven owner, and a car that is just as driven!

 

Barry "Pops" Gavin's  LX SS L32 Hatch 

This car is a genuine, matching number LX SS Hatchback (L32 – 253 V8), so has it’s own appeal right there, but like many cars it’s the story behind how owner Barry "Pops" Gavin he uses it that makes the story. And yes, that Hatch Hutch hanging off the back of it is genuine.

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"I’ve owned the car for eight years. I’ve put new a gearbox in, added a front spoiler, got rid of the bumper strips from the sides of the doors, re-upholstered parts of the interior, and some other small bits and pieces.

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"I had to replace the center console as well, and I added a heap of fibreglass reinforcing to the inside of it to stop it cracking – as they like to do.

"Then I started getting signatures for the glovebox: there’s Bev, James and Phil Brock, Harry Firth – there’s a heap of them on there. I even got Allan Moffat on there - as fierce rivals as he and Peter Brock were, they respected each other, so he signed it to.

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"I have a display on the car that is a nod to how I work with kids, with four Team Brock bears, signed by Peter, Bev and James Brock and I want to get Jim Richard’s signature as well."

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Pops is a stalwart of the Torana scene, and his car is more than just a car – anyone who spotted his display would have known that!

    

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