Monday, October 10, 2016

Unloved Genius: 1973 Leyland P76

The P76 was British Leyland’s only large Australian car, designed to challenge Holden Kingswoods, Ford Falcons, and Chrysler Valiants of the day. Unfortunately the 1970s were a grim time for British Leyland with worker strikes and poor sales leading to a lack of cash. The P76 was developed from concept to production on a shoestring budget in a mere three years. Being a new competitor in an established market was always going to be difficult for success, but the Leyland delivered, winning the Wheel’s Car of the Year in 1973. Sadly, the public didn’t take to the new car as well as the press had, with continuous quality control problems (as was typical of Leyland cars during the 1970s) and the Oil Crisis in full swing as the car was launched in 1973. Find this 1973 Leyland P76 for $17,900 AUD ($13580 USD at the time of writing) in Niddrie, Victoria, Australia, via

This P76 has been remarkably well preserved with a straight body in the original (and very 70s) Spanish Olive Green colour. Designed by Michelotti, the most significant aspect of the body was the boot size, which was claimed to be the largest in its class. It could famously fit a 44 gallon drum, although why a family car needs to fit a 44 gallon drum, we’re not entirely sure. British Leyland also made sure the frame was very stiff, to give the car better handling.

Inside, the car is even better preserved, with almost perfect brown leather and very good wood trim dash. Although the car has a five digit odometer, so it’s impossible to be sure, the 42,000km seems to be original, backed up by the seller saying the car was sitting between 1979 and 2014. Bucket seats are an appealing and rare option.

The 4.4L aluminium alloy V8 was derived from the Rover V8, and was unique to the P76. Leyland hoped that the smaller displacement and lighter aluminium block would help increase the fuel economy compared to the bigger Aussie V8s, however in the climate of the Oil Crisis it mattered little. Paired to a 4 speed manual here, the P76 could also be optioned with T-bar or column shift automatics.

The Leyland P76 ultimately failed in the marketplace, but it was an advanced sedan that was at the cutting edge, with some of its advancements including rack and pinion steering, power assisted disc brakes, and MacPherson front suspension. Unfortunately, the car was short-lived, bowing out of the market in 1975 after just 18,000 had been sold.

See another brilliant car that was a victim of its time? Email us at

Michael B is a teenager who's been obsessed with cars since he was able to talk, but has no ability in mechanics whatsoever. His daily driver is a manual transmission Nissan Maxima - the Australian Infiniti I30.


  1. Wasn't there a Mazda rotary powered version sold by Mazda in Japan? Just what a large four door sedan needs, a low torque peaky motor.

  2. Hmm, maybe it was a Holden, I can't remember.

  3. You must mean the Mazda Roadpacer (nee Holden Kingswood)! Sure, stuffing a 13B rotary in a 3,500lb luxury sedan sounds like a great idea...


    [image src=",fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/18e8hs8tvavjojpg.jpg" width="400px"/]

  4. It's a shame they never made more than a few of the proposed fastback coupé version, the Leyland Force 7. That was a great looking design:

    [image src="" width="400px"/]

    1. *sigh* try this again. I am copying and pasting the exact code under commandment VI, and copy/pasting the url, double checking for accuracy:

      [image src="" width="400px"/]

    2. I quit. Look it up if you want to see what it looks like.

      One thing I noticed on my last attempt is that when I type [image src="+url, etc" -- the url is so long it takes up more than 1 line. So it ends up like


      And I can't backspace or delete the space to make it all fit on one line. I'm guessing that's why it fumbles trying to interpret the image tag.

      Also the reCAPTCHA here is a p.i.t.a. -- not because I can't complete the CAPTCHA, but because it typically times out and I get the error "cannot contact reCAPTCHA try again," and it usually takes 6-8 attempts before it responds. Which is more than my patience normally allows. So far 20+ minutes spent trying to post.

      It's stuff like this that makes me stop trying to contribute here for a few weeks, then try again. I dk why, I don't have any of these problems on any other sites hosted by blogger or other platforms.

    3. (Zach silently roots for a modern CMS platform)

    4. Dr. D -- sorry you've been having problems with the image posting, I'm not sure what is happening. Let me see if I can get that image here:
      [image src="" width="400px"/]

      The link you were using was a link to a file on a webpage (you can see --Leyland_P76#/media/File:1974_Leyland-- in the url) so the image insertion widget didn't like that. It prefers a true image link -- so you just hit the big PLUS in the middle of the page on wikipedia and now the actual wikipedia commons image URL appears.

      With regards to the CAPTCHA, sorry that is a thing to stop the spammy spammers who flood the comments with it off. The best way to get around that is to get a google account so you can comment like Zach did above with your own little avatar.

      Strangely enough, I was recently contacted by someone at Google who reads the site and offered to help us with some of these wacky issues...stay tuned. In the mean time, please accept my apologies for any technical difficulties.

      -Editor-in-Chief and Chief-of-Chiefiness Vince

    5. THAT IS FRUSTRATING. My final bracket closed symbol keeps getting changed into a close carrot by some unknown forces and the image link doesn't work. Another day, another bug...

    6. Thanks Vince, I'm glad to know it wasn't just me.

      I didn't mean to sound too bitchy in my earlier post. I love this site and I think you are doing a great job here. And I understand about the need for the Captcha, I get that on other sites, I just don't understand why it always times out here and I have to try again and again. That I don't get on other sites.

      I'm gonna try a new method here. With any luck it will work. I just downloaded the original image I was trying to link. It was actually kind of a large image file, 3648x2432, 4.6MB. I'm going to resize it locally to a more compact size, upload to a different 3rd party image host, and see if that works.

      *fingers crossed*

      It's a lot of effort for a stupid Leyland that never saw full production, but this coupé version is really lovely. Maybe now other will be able to see it:

      [image src=""width="400px"/]

    7. I see what you mean about the unknown forces and the closed carrot.


      Well since that didn't work, I might as well also post another one that won't work, the rear view:

      [image src="" width="400px"/]


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.