A Bit about the Car
The Leyland P76 is the only large family car designed and built in Australia. Just over 18,000 were built at the Leyland Zetland plant in NSW during 1973 to 1974. A further 650 were assembled in New Zealand from Completely Knocked Down kits.
The P76 was manufactured with both an alloy V8 engine (4.4 litre based on the Buick / Rover 3.5 litre engine;) and an in line 6 cylinder iron engine (2.6 litre based on the Leyland engine fitted to the Kimberley).
The car was made in three different models; the base line Deluxe, the Super and the top of the line Executive. The only difference between these models was the trim levels. Each model was available with either engine; with a 4 speed manual floor shift, 3 speed manual column shift or a 3 speed automatice gearbx (Borg Warner 35) with either column or floor mounted T bar shift.
In 1974 a Targa Florio option pack was also made available – this was based on the Super model but also included special stripes on the body work, special colours, a limited slip differential and a laminated windscreen.
P76 non metallic colours included: Corinthian Blue (turquoise), Am-I-Blu (sky blue), Oh Fudge (brown), Hairy Lime (lime green), Home on Th'Orange (orange), Plum Loco (pink), Bitter Apricot (burnt orange), Spanish Olive (olive green), Dry Red (claret red), Bold as Brass (yellow), Country Cream (cream), and Crystal White (white). Metallic colours were Omega Navy (navy blue), Peel me a Grape (purple), Nutmeg (brown), and Aspen Green (green). Oceana Green was a colour shade introduced late in 1974. Two other colour choices were introduced in the late production era, Oceana Green and Pimento (Orange) (NZ only). Vehiscle painted in these two colours are quite rare.
Interior colours included Imperial Leather (brown),Antique Parchment (cream/buff), Casino Blue (blue), and Black. White was also available but mainly used on Force 7 vehicles.
A two door hatchback version of the car called the Force 7 was manufactured but never released, with only 9 vehicles being sold at auction. This is a very rare car.
Three station wagons were manufactured at the Zetland Plant. One was destroyed during crash testing; one was destroyed by Leyland following durability testing and the last was sold to a Sydney spare parts dealer.
The P76 actually won the Wheels Car of the Year Award in 1974. Despite its treatment by Government and due to many factors outside the control of Leyland Australia, the P76 was an outstanding car for the day.
As stated in Gavin Farmer's book on the P76 “Leyland P76 – Anything but Average”. “Was the P76 a bad car? No it was not. Flawed perhaps. Technically it was regarded by many critics as superior to its competitors – General Motors' Holden HQ Kingswood; Ford's XA Falcon; and Chrysler's VJ Valiant – and had a higher local content than any of them.”
There are P76 owners Clubs in all states of Australia (except Tasmania) and the Northern Territory. There is also a very active P76 Owners Club in New Zealand.