The UC series followed the LX and was the last of the Torana line. Major changes were made to the front sheet metal, grille, headlights, tail lights and interior. The big news on the mechanical front was the dropping of all V8s and sports orientated models. RTS received even further refinement and the car’s chassis was lightened in some areas to improve the power to weight ratio. This could be done because the additional strength was no longer required with the demise of the V8s.
The interior was upgrades with revised seating, resulting in increased legroom, a more modern dash and a HX type multi-function column stalk switch for windscreen wipers and washers, headlight dimmer, flasher and blinkers. Other improvements included more aerodynamic styling with improved, larger rectangular headlights, a larger fuel tank and the option of four wheel disk brakes.
The new Holden 10 bolt ‘small Salisbury’ differential made its debut in the UC series, replacing the old banjo type. The change to Salisbury differential meant the introduction of a new rear floor panel pressing to cater for the repositioned upper trailing arms (as fitted to the LX A9X).
The new optional rear disc brakes were similar in design to the A9X and HZ units, but were smaller in diameter to suit the 13 inch road wheels. Another worthwhile improvement was the new central, floor mounted handbrake fitted between the two front bucket seats. Only
the bench seated Torana six cylinder retained the underdash pedal operated park brake from the previous LH and LX series.
The attractive new dash fascia had the heater / demister (or optional air conditioner) controls in the centre, above the air outlets. The instruments were upgraded to include a temperature gauge on all models. An optional instrument cluster was made available, which included gauges for fuel, temperature, oil and volts as well as a speedo and a tacho with a small clock mounted within the arc of the tacho.
Four speed manual transmissions were standard on all models except the Torana S six cylinder which came with a three speed column shifted manual gearbox. The Torana six cylinder range consisted simply of the S sedan, the SL sedan and the SL hatchback. The Deluxe package was optional on both SLs and included a tinted band laminated windscreen, tinted side and rear glass, intermittent windscreen wiper control, AM radio / cassette tape player, cloth seat inserts, full instrument cluster and front and rear bumper over riders.
The lineup was increased to include the Sunbird sedan and hatch, Sunbird SL sedan and hatch and, later in 1978, the Sunbird SL/E sedan and hatch. In mid-1979, the Sunbird Deluxe sedan was released (no hatch was offered).
The four cylinder 1900 Opel engine and the six cylinder engine range were basically as for LX with minor improvements. However, late in 1978, the Opel power plant gave way to the GM-H designed four cylinder Starfire engine. It was released simultaneously with the Sunbird SL/E and was based on the 2.85 litre (173) six cylinder Holden Red motor with two fewer cylinders, a new shorter crankshaft, a newly designed cylinder head and a two barrel Rochester Varajet carburettor. It was the first four cylinder engine designed and built in Australia.
As the UC series was phased out, its place in the market was filled first by various versions of the Commodore and later by the JB Camira.
Column shift manual and auto available on Torana six cylinder only.
Both types of four speed manual transmissions (Australian and Filipino) were used behind six cylinder engines.
All model manual transmissions used cable operated clutch.
Factory fitted air conditioning available on six cylinder cars only.
Dealer fitted GM-H accessory air conditioning now available across the range.
HZ type steering wheels used with unique horn pads.
SL/Es used HZ GTS three spoke steering wheel design, colour coded to interior.
All cars used 13 x 5.5 inch steel wheels and steel belted radial (except SL/E, 13 x 6 alloys).
Sunbird SL/E alloy wheels same style as TD Gemini SL/E.
QH headlights standard on all SLs and SL/Es.
White parking lights (no longer inside headlights) mounted with orange front blinkers at the outer edge of the headlights.
SL/Es had velour seat trim.
Steering rack mounted solidly (as in A9X), not rubber mounted as on previous cars.
Starfire 4 engine painted silver.
Six cylinder engines renamed 2.85 litre and 3.3 litre (previously 2850 and 3300)
Production Dates and Numbers:
Mar 1978 – Apr 1980: 53,008