1973-75 Leyland P76 Super V8 - Club Classics Under $30k

By: Mark Higgins

Presented by

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Despite winning Wheels Car of the Year in 1973, the P76 was as popular as the plague

 

1973-75 Leyland P76 Super V8

Touted as a rival for the Falcon, Kingswood and Valiant the P76 lasted for two years and a total production run of 18,000 units before being killed off. It was a financial disaster for the already cash-strapped Leyland Australia, which shut shortly after.

The timing of the P76 launch couldn’t have been worse; smack in the middle of the first oil crisis when fuel prices skyrocketed, killing demand for all large cars. Add to this poor quality and parts shortages.

Though the P76 did receive favourable press reaction it didn’t capture the buying public.

With looks only its designer could like, the P76 did have its virtues. A huge boot, said famously to be big enough for a 44-gallon drum, and acres of interior space.

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Safety-wise it was ahead of the game with power-assisted brakes, the front being discs, recessed door handles and full-length side intrusion reinforcements on all doors, before they became compulsory. It also featured rack and pinion steering, MacPherson strut front suspension, a front hinged bonnet, glued-in windscreen and concealed windscreen wipers.

Three models made up the range, the Deluxe, Super and top-line Executive. The base model got a 2.6-litre six-cylinder engine from the Austin Kimberley and Tasman, but the engine to have was the 4.4-litre alloy V8.

This engine was developed for racing by Phil Irving (legendary Australian – Repco and Vincent engineer) who had been working on the Leyland F5000 engine for Repco and resulted in South Australian McCormack winning a Gold star title in the late ’70s in his McLaren.

Not many P76s exist these days and any V8 model is the one to have, though snagging a manual would be a real bonus.

 

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