1 Mar 1978
The same changes to the UC Torana apply here, except that the well-specified Sunbird SL/E joined the base, SL and (later) Deluxe models from September ‘78.
The SL/E brought with it the “new” Australian-designed Starfire 1.9-litre four-cylinder motor – actually it was a development of the 1963 EH-vintage 2.85 “red” motor, cut down to four cylinders.
And it proved a monumental disappointment – developing just 72kW/157Nm.
That may have been an improvement over the earlier Opel 1900’s 60kW/140Nm that it replaced in all Sunbird models, but it barely bettered the German engine’s pre-‘76’s ‘dirty’ state of tune.
Critics howled “Misfire!” yet the maligned motor went on to even greater infamy in the misguided VC and VH Commodore Four, as well as the awful 1980/81 Toyota Corona.
So the Torana era ended in a whimper.
Still, 53,008 UC Torana/Sunbird models were made when the series ceased in September ‘80, to make room for that four-cylinder Commodore Starfire and, eventually, the equally derided 1982 front-wheel drive Holden JB Camira.