Marlboro’s bulging coffers means many HDT promotional Torana was built.
One is shown here in typical use, parked inside Melbourne’s Swanston Street station promoting the Marlboro 200 race meeting to be held that Sunday at Sandown.
This is the Colin Bond/John Walker car, well, you know what we mean. Note the skinny wheels, tiny exhaust pipes and numberplates – dead giveaways to any regular race fan. That said, full marks for going to the trouble of installing a rollcage.
The sister car to this one, with the names of John Harvey and Charlie O’Brien on the side, did, however, have a brief race career.
It was bought by John Spencer, a GM-H engineer who worked at the Lang Lang proving grounds, who picked up his promo car when the HDT updated to A9X models.
It helped to have connections with the team and Spencer got to know Harry Firth and Peter Brock when they tested at Lang Lang.
He remembers chatting with Brock shortly after he had rejoined HDT and mentioned that he planned to do some lap dashes in the promotional car he’d just bought. Naturally, he asked Brock for some driving tips.
“Just pump the tyres up to 40psi and flatten it,” was Brock’s response.
Spencer also drove the Torana on the road and still remembers the impact it had. When he was driving home after picking it up from the factory he was stuck behind a school bus. The kids went crazy as soon as they noticed a HDT car behind them.
“They looked really disappointed though when they realised it wasn’t Brock or Harvey driving,” says John.
Naturally there are many people these days who wouldn’t mind owing one of these promotional cars, especially if it’s still in the original paint scheme. John doesn’t know what happened to his one but he’s heard that there are plenty out there looking for it. There were a couple of Marlboro HDT A9X-lookalike promo cars too, probably even more desirable.