Fate brought John Colebourne and his Torana together. after a few years of getting to know each other, they are now an unbeatable team
What a horny-looking car. Check out the interior, it’s like the inside of a V8 Supercar!” That’s what the editor of Australian Muscle Car magazine, Mark Oastler, said to me at the 2007 Australian Muscle Car Masters event at Eastern Creek, as he bubbled with enthusiasm over John Colebourne’s wicked-looking Torana SS hatchback. I’d been writing for ‘MarkO’ for several years as a freelancer, since his magazine was new, but this was the first time the two of us had met in person. Twenty-six cars had been shipped from New Zealand to Australia for this event, and MarkO was wandering around the Kiwi pit area when I introduced myself. His enthusiasm at finally meeting me was soon overwhelmed by his first sight of the Torana, which sat sparkling in the warm Sydney sun.
MarkO has spent a lifetime around some of Australasia’s top muscle cars. Before starting AMC he was editor of Street Machine. But John Colebourne’s Torana stopped him in his tracks. And rightly so, it is an impressive beast.
The Man Sure Can Build
Dave Sturrock was the original builder of this car, a genuine 1977 Torana SS hatchback. Dave had begun another project before this one, a Group C-style Commodore, but abandoned that in favour of the hatch. The plan was to run the Torana in the Auckland-based Modified Muscle Car series (now renamed Northern Muscle Cars). The Torana had been imported into New Zealand in the mid ’80s, and fitted with an alloy roll cage for a bit of gentle classic racing before Sturrock purchased it in 2001.