Random # 137: LJ Torana S
This LJ Holden Torana S, photographed in Hobart, Tasmania, was in excellent condition. Every aspect of the car - including its paint, chrome, exterior trim, and interior - was first rate. The only things that may have departed from original were its velour-trimmed seats but it's not impossible that they were available as an option when the car was new.
Early Toranas are becoming few and far between, especially the less sporty versions, as many of the original coupe shells were used to rebuild written-off GTRs and GTR XU-1s. This can be a bit of a trap; with those sportier - and thus more desirable - performance Toranas now commanding big money, there is the potential for re-shelled cars to be sold as original versions when they are actually no more than replicas, at best, or, at worst, fakes.
Competent 're-birthers,' as those who fraudulently re-create vehicles' identities are known, will even attach original or reproduction ID plates to their faux-classics and re-stamp their chassis numbers to match those of genuine examples. Those chassis numbers may come from a written-off car or, in some cases, might be cloned from another example that's registered in another state or territory.
You might be surprised just how widespread auto fraud is; Holden Monaros, and L34 and A9/X SL/R Toranas, GT and Cobra Falcons, Lotus Cortinas and RS2000 Escorts can easily be, and have been, re-birthed. So, too, newer cars like WRX Subarus, Mitsubishi Lancer Evos, FPV Falcons and HSV Commodores are regularly given the re-birthing treatment, usually to cover up thefts.
Whilst it's less likely that a non-performance classic will have been re-birthed, that doesn't mean it can't happen. A Torana like the one shown here - in either two- or four-door configuration - may well be valued significantly above its original sticker price. Values of other classics - domestic, European and Japanese - are also climbing steadily, meaning that there is money to be made and, with that, comes the potential for theft and re-birthing.
It really does pay, therefore, to do your research before buying a high-performance classic - especially when there's a garden-variety version of the same vehicle available that can be made to look like the real deal. Your best bet is to join a car club or at least talk to someone who really knows about the type of car you're thinking of purchasing; their knowledge and understanding may make the difference between purchasing a true classic or being royally ripped-off.
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All iPhone images.