Holden @ the '04 Australian International Motor Show
By Feann Torr -07/10/2004
Holden Torana TT36 concept
The twin turbo 3.6-litre V6 in all its glory
The Torana makes 280kW of power @ the crank
The glass roof is a nice touch, likewise the wheels
(Click the images for high-res versions)
Flush-fitting, big-bore exhaust pipes add character
Yikes. Offensive to the eye is an understatement
Reviving the iconic Torana namesake, Holden quite literally became the centre of attention at the 2004 Australian International Motor Show.
Nicknamed the Torana TT36 - TT stands for twin turbo and the 36 for the 3.6-litre sized engine - the concept is a further evolution of the SSX concept, showcased in 2003, and adds credibility to rumours that the Australian arm of General Motors is intent on one day building the spiritual successor to the much-loved Torana.
Denny Mooney, GM Holden's head man, said deciding on the Vectra-sized concept's title was a no-brainer.
"Naming the concept car was easy. We knew many fans would immediately call it Torana because it is a high powered, mid-size, rear wheel drive hot hatch," said Mooney.
Making use of GM's impressive global resources, the hot pink Torana TT36 show car is powered by a V6 turbo engine - an engine that may eventually end up reintroducing a 6-cylinder mill to HSV's line-up, such as the XU6.
This experimental powerplant makes a prodigious 280kW of power, and is a twin turbo, intercooled version of the 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 engine.
The bent 6-cylinder engine was hand-built at Holden's new Port Melbourne engine plant in Australia, and generates 280kW and a hefty 480Nm of torque, all of which is transferred to the blacktop via a heavy-duty 6-speed manual transmission.
According to Holden, some 90 per cent of the 480Nm of torque developed is available from just 1600rpm, which would give it similar burnout capabilities as those of the XR6 Turbo.
Such power and torque levels also means that the TT36 shares the power-to-weight advantage that helped its A9X sporting predecessor to drive into the record books at Mt Panorama a quarter of a century ago.
Such impressive torque figures are largely due to the 3.6-litre engine's use of forced induction, a means of increasing power and torque that is becoming more and more popular amongst almost all car makers right across the globe.
It uses two KO4 Warner turbochargers and an air to air intercooler to increase the density of the air arriving at the intake manifold.
The engine is also well equipped to deal with turbocharging (as has been widely hinted at by Holden engineers), what with continuously variable valve timing, a variable intake manifold and variable valve actuation all being part of the basic 6-cylinder unit.
Holden's big chief, Denny Mooney, said he believed the Torana's spiritual successor showed how times continued to change in the automotive industry: "Torana TT36 represents a revolution in concept car design at Holden.
"We've unveiled several examples of our design flexibility and build capability in recent years but this car is exceptional for yet another reason."
"All recent show cars have been based on our Commodore V-car platform. Torana TT36, on the other hand, shares many basic structural elements with the latest GM sports concepts and much of its chassis componentry is sourced directly from GM.
"It is the first Holden show car to merge Australian design and engineering expertise with GM technical resources. Quite simply, for us it is a ‘game changer’ in automotive design and production."
Deceleration for the concept car is taken care of by a quartet of dinner-plate sized discs, measuring 365 x 35mm front and rear, clamped by 6- and 4-piston calipers respectively. The braking system is first class too, with ABS, Traction Control, Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Distribution, Corner Brake Control and an Electronic Stability Program.
Holden's wild new concept car, which at this point in time is being given the official 'not for production' label, is a 4-seater show car finished in luminous, look-at-me pink nicknamed ‘ManGenta’ by the Holden stylists, which contrasts against a shocking "new-tech" interior that burns itself into ones retinas.
Described by Holden as ‘nu luxury’, the interior is certainly quite striking, even mesmerising. But would I want my brand new twin turbo Torana finished like that?
Not on your life - but feel free to disagree with me, and if you like you can even let our other 100,000 odd readers know about it by sending us your thoughts to the letters page.
Further to the dazzling interior trim, the cabin hosts a high-tech array of gadgets, including a touch screen interactive 'infotainment' hub that controls the phone, CD, SatNav, DVD, address book and other Blue Tooth-compatible features.
Originally named XP54, reflecting the acronym ‘eXperimental Project’ and coded 54 in recognition of Holden's so-called Studio 54 design workshop, the TT36 displays a hint of its hard-charging Torana heritage, mixed with a number of modernistic styling cues according to design director, Tony Stolfo.
"It's very performance-driven in terms of the size of the apertures, the air intakes and grille. The fenders and quarter panels are pumped to accentuate width and stance," said Stolfo.
A panoramic glass roof extends from the steeply angled windscreen all the way back to the hatch and the TT36 sits on massive 20-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels, as all good show cars do. At the rear, the body-integrated rectangular exhaust pipes are a rather nice addition, though the brake light clusters don't seem to have been given the same attention to detail as the rest of the car.
Nevertheless, Holden's in-house designers have done an excellent job in creating a modern interpretation of the classic Torana, with sophisticated LED-xenon combination headlights drawing the eye to an aggressively styled front end.
"It also displays some of the key proportions we'll see in future cars generally," continued Stolfo, "front wheels forward, minimal overhang, high belt lines and a high deck. All these elements create strength and purpose and deliver expressive contemporary styling. The hatch style gives us a very fast line running over the top, and we've given it strong directional lines. In terms of overall design intent, it's far more sophisticated sports machine than street machine.
"And because it's a vehicle which delivers a really large interior compartment in relation to its exterior size, it shows off our packaging skills, which are a traditional Holden strength," said Tony Stolfo.
Will the Torana TT36 concept make it to production eventually? It's more a case of 'when' than 'if' as Tony Stolfo concedes: "The Torana TT36 may be simply for show – but it's not about outrageous technology. We consider that something very close to this concept could be practically achievable in the not-too-distant future."
You heard it here first - so start saving your pocket money and in the "not-too-distant future", which I'm willing to bet will be before the turn of the decade, you may be able to cruise down to your Holden dealer and pick up a new 2008 Torana. Oh, and will that be the naturally aspirated version, or the TT?
Holden's design guru, Tony Stolfo, concluded by saying "It's a first step towards monitoring public reaction to a type of rear-wheel drive vehicle that doesn't exist in today's General Motors portfolio. It could be designed and produced off a number of GM platforms, taking advantage of the virtual maths-based processes and component sharing which enabled us to build this working concept in a very short space of time."
Holden and Cadillac are easily the best parts of General Motors. Promoting the Australians to global design is a great move. I can't wait to see this turbo mill showing up in a new generation of Buicks and Saabs.
Yes, it's RWD. It's also very small, about BMW 3-Series sized. Kappa is GM's newest RWD platform, and was originally concieved to produce the Pontiac Solstice. That car is being designed to compete with the Miata.