HATCH-ET JOB
Street Machine Magazine|April 2020
DAN SZABOLICS’ BLOWN SMALL-BLOCK TORANA COMBINES GROUP C HERITAGE WITH STREET-CAR ATTITUDE
IAIN KELLY

THE image of Peter Brock laying waste to the 1979 Bathurst 1000 in his Marlboro HDT A9X Torana is etched into Aussie history, with the six-lap victory just one dot point in his utter domination of that race weekend. It spawned a generation of Torana fans and surely helped the A9X become one of the most collectible Aussie-made cars of all time.

Having done their time as cheap second-hand transport, LX Torana hatchbacks are now one of the most prized finds among Aussie car enthusiasts, so it takes guts to modify something worth a good chunk of house. But Daniel Szabolics thumbs his nose at the purist concours scene; he builds his cars how he likes, thanks very much.

Dan’s seven-second, 200mph small-tyre HQ Monaro (SM, Dec ’19) set the internet on fire when it debuted last year, but this blown small-block LX streeter was actually done in between starting and finishing the HQ. Both carry his trademark cues: killer stance, tough drivetrain, fat tyres on drag wheels, clean and simple interior, all topped off with a classic colour scheme on a stock-looking body. And when the finished product looks this good, you can see why this style has taken off all over Australia.

“I actually built the hatch about seven years ago,” Dan says. “I started building the HQ, which was going to be a slick car originally, and that was dragging on. I’d been looking for a Torana hatch for a while and I found one in Melbourne that seemed promising, so I drove down to look at it, but it was rusty and had been bodged-up.

“I went back to the motel and decided to not buy it, but I had a feeling, so I jumped on the internet and this one popped up in Gippsland. I drove straight there to check it out. It was orange, being sold as a roller and was in pretty good nick, as it had been sitting in a shed. The trim was pretty ugly and the paint wasn’t the best, but I knew it would be an easy project.”

Buying a solid, straight base to build upon proved to be a masterstroke by Dan, who saved bulk time and work normally needed to get Torana hatchbacks free of rust and in shape.

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