1974 ATCC Winner – Holden LH Torana SLR/5000 – #8 HDT – Brock
Product Code: A87460
Manufacturer: Biante Model Cars
After battling Ford with a six-cylinder Torana for the best part of four years, Holden decided it needed to return to a V8 power plant in 1974 in a bid to topple the mighty two-door Falcons. The result was the SL/R 5000 Torana, which was introduced halfway through that year’s Australian Touring Car Championship.
Allan Grice’s Sydney-based Craven Mild team were the first to race one of the new five-litre cars in the Australian Touring Car Championship at Oran Park, with Harry Firth’s Marlboro Holden Dealer Team not far behind. With his driver Peter Brock leading the title chase in the trusty XU-1, the HDT elected to hold off debuting their new car until the penultimate round of the ATCC at Surfers Paradise and it was worth the wait.
Brock qualified the #6 SL/R 5000 on pole by seven-tenths of a second over Bob Morris XU-1 and ended up clearing away to lead every lap, setting the fastest lap and winning the 25-lapper by 23 seconds. The win also clinched Brock’s first ATCC crown and the first for the Holden Dealer Team.
The final round of the championship followed at Adelaide International Raceway and Brock and the HDT were the only squad to bring one of the new V8-powered Toranas. Re-numbered as #8, the new SL/R 5000 again proved to have been introduced at the right time and had the measure of the pace being achieved by the six-cylinder XU-1 runners. Again Brock put the new car on pole position, qualifying eight-tenths faster than the XU-1 of local driver John Lewis. The 1972 Bathurst winner was in a class of his own in the 35-lap ‘Datsun Trophy’ ATCC race, clearing away again to lead every lap against a relatively weak field which was missing the likes of Allan Moffat and Allan Grice to take the chequered flag by 43.3 seconds over second-placed Morris.
Brock ended up winning the ATCC crown by 34 points over Morris (80 to 46), but the SL/R 5000’s shelf life for the HDT would prove to be very short.
He and teammate Colin Bond used it in a handful of other events at the end of the ATCC, though it would be replaced for the start of the endurance championship back at Adelaide International Raceway on August 25.
The introduction of the L34 option package – with stronger engine components, roller rockers, bigger brakes, larger engine valves and bolt-on flared guards -turned the SL/R 5000 into a meaner machine. Brock’s run aboard it in the final rounds of the 1974 Australian Touring Car Championship may have been brief before it was up-specced, but the SL/R 5000 finished the job the XU-1 started and helped take Holden’s hero to his first of three ATCC crowns.