The ultimate enthusiasts’ Holden – a totally original and undisturbed Torana A9X Hatch ‘homologation special’ – is a standout vehicle of the Custom and Collectible Vehicle Auction presented by Shannons at Sydney’s Meguiar’s MotorEx on July 25
The Palais White A9X, serial number J590981, was the very first of just 100 two-door Hatch and 305 four-door Torana A9X sedans built for sale to the public between August and December 1977.
It was initially one of two GM-H press and promotional vehicles before being acquired by leading Sydney Holden Dealer and racing driver Ron Hodgson and has covered just 16,000km since new in the hands of a series of careful collector/owners.
Created as an improvement of the previous L34 racing Toranas, the A9X was actually a ‘Performance Equipment Package’ available on a range of LX models fitted with the 5.0 litre, 308-cid engine.
It was introduced in August 1977 to ensure its eligibility for that year’s Bathurst 1000 race and was priced at a now-bargain $10,600 for the four-door Sedan and $10,800 for the Hatch. Yet surprisingly the A9X was actually a slow seller at the time, leading GM-H to broaden the model’s colour palette to clear stocks.
While race versions were equipped with the L34 engine, T10 gearbox, roll cage, wide wheels and long-range fuel tanks, new Australian Design Rules and Emission laws dictated that all A9X Toranas rolled off the assembly line in the same, more basic specification, fitted with Holden’s stock L31 5.0-litre V8.
Significantly, the A9X was the first Holden ever to be fitted standard with rear discs and its Salisbury differential also meant the extra tall 2.60:1 final drive ratio could be used to advantage on Bathurst’s long Conrod straight. The cars were also clearly identified by their new rear facing, bonnet-mounted carburettor induction scoop, one of the 100 or so differences that set the A9X apart from standard LX Toranas.
The rest is history. Although failing to spoil Ford’s Moffat Dealer Team 1-2 party at Bathurst that year, the A9X went on to become the most successful Australian Touring Car ever built by Holden.
A9X Toranas won both the Sandown and Bathurst races and the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1978 and 1979.
This included the most crushing of all Bathurst victories in the pre-safety car era, when Brock and co-driver Jim Richards took a six-lap victory at Bathurst in 1978, ahead of a freight train of a further seven A9X models, with Brock famously thumbing it to Ford by claiming a new lap record on the final lap.
The A9X Hatch being auctioned by Shannons at MotorEx comes with its original logbooks, delivery documents and paperwork, making it a unique opportunity to purchase a special part of Australian motoring and motorsport history.
Shannons are quoting a guiding range of AU$270,000-$290,000.