Holden GTR-X Concept
While its knife-edged surfaces and aerodynamic form were largely inspired by the experimental Hurricane, the GTR-X represented a serious attempt to build a low volume, high visibility sports model using inexpensive tooling and stock mechanical parts.
At its announcement in August 1970, a month after the launch of the redoubtable Torana GTR XU-1,
GMH said it was “breaking with tradition by giving the public an opportunity to see in advance a car
which could be the basis of a limited production vehicle in the future...the GTR-X has been built
specifically to test design concepts and help assess the Australian market for a locally designed and
manufactured two-seater sports car.”
Designers began the project in mid-1969, taking full advantage of the freedom afforded by fibreglass to
create several styling proposals before finalising a full-sized clay model. The three prototypes that eventuated (only one complete vehicle survives today) were strikingly avant-garde.
As a promotional handout noted, ‘The GTR-X is aerodynamically designed. Its long, sleek hood is accentuated by a low wedge-shaped grille. The body line sweeps up at the rear to an elevated tail light assembly. Simplicity is the keynote. It is achieved by concealed headlights, sharp windshield rake, recessed parking and turning lights, and flush petrol filler access and door handles. Front and rear bumpers assume the contour of the body. To identify the car the GTR-X identification is contained within a crisp black and orange stripe running parallel to the rocker panel.’
Interior styling, ‘restrained and designed for maximum comfort and full driver efficiency’ was highlighted by a machined aluminium instrument panel, high-backed seats and a small diameter leather-covered steering wheel.
Beneath its elongated, forward-opening hood was the high-performance 186S six-cylinder engine developed for the Torana XU-1, mated to the M21 four-speed manual transmission later released with the HQ series. The 1043kg GTR-X reportedly posted a top speed of 210 kmh in testing and was fitted with four-wheel disc brakes. It would have been the first Australian car to boast this feature had the project not been shelved, after several projected launch date announcements, due to concerns about financial viability.