Raff Pironti’s Torana is certainly one of those race cars that is more famously entrenched in the minds of fans and racers alike, and now the iconic blown machine is back on track.
The Torana has popped back up at Sydney Dragway in the hands of Brad Sullivan who has revived his own racing career along with the Torana’s
“Over the years I’ve owned a few Super Street and Super Sedan cars, but being based in Adelaide I was never able to get them to the track due to the AIR track closing down,” he said.
“After moving to Canberra in 2012, I saw an opportunity to get back into drag racing seriously. I saw that the Torana was for sale and I immediately identified it as Raff Pironti’s old Torana, so I made an offer.”
Sullivan picked up the car pretty much ready to race mechanically but the years had take somewhat of a toll on the rest of the car.
“The car came with a JP1 526 ex-top fuel engine, AFT clutch and 3 speed Lenco already installed, so I haven’t had to do much to the running gear other than to freshen it up,” said Sullivan.
“The rest of the car was showing its age, and it needed quite a bit of work. Mods included rebuilding the heads, paintwork, suspension, electronics, windows, fire system, safety gear, wheels and tyres.
Running a blown car is also a new challenge for the Kryptonite Racing team – the car’s new livery.
“This is our first clutch car, so it’s been a steep learning curve. We’re by no means experts in this field and we’re learning new things every day. As for testing, it has gone well so far and we’re hoping to have our licensing completed by September,” he said.
“We’re also thinking of changing to a simpler clutch setup and we may need to sort out the rear suspension as it’s moving about a bit on the initial hit.”
“As for racing, the chassis has run high sixes when Raff Pironti owned it, but we’d be happy with high sevens to preserve the running gear – Sydney will be our home track and we may consider a few trips interstate to regional SA and VIC.”
There has been a little conjecture over the car’s true history.
“It causes some confusion as it’s actually two cars in one. The chassis was one of the first Doorslammers to be built by Murray Anderson, while the rear shell is from the ex-McCurdy 1985-86 championship winning car,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan has chased up the car’s full history with the Torana originally known as “The Grot”. The original chassis was built and raced by John Taverna who sold it to it to Ian McCurdy and he won the 85-86 Super Stock national championship as well as setting numerous national records. Ian then sold it to Raff Pironti in the late 80’s. Raff squeezed a blown combo into it and raced it with Maurice Fabietti before it flipped onto its roof after completing a burnout at Calder, and the car was a write off.
Raff took the remains of the car to Anderson Race Cars and they built a new chassis. They fitted the body from the old car which has the distinctive rear window design – this is why it causes confusion for some people.
Raff raced the new chassis in the early 90’s for a few seasons before selling it to the Di Palma Brothers in the mid 90’s. The Di Palma brothers put the ex-top fuel JP1 engine into it and played with it for many years but they never really raced it, other than a few regional meetings in country Victoria.
Sullivan purchased it from them in late 2012.
With the Torana rightfully back on the track and making noise, Sullivan said he could not done it without the help of Matty Evans, Canberra Torana Club, Repco Tuggeranong and Queanbeyan Engine Service.