87-year-old Aussie wins Peking to Paris rally in Leyland P76

By: Unique Cars magazine

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leyland p76 peking to paris leyland p76 peking to paris

After 13,687 kilometres and 36 days, eighty-seven-year-old Australian Gerry Crown and co-driver Matt Bryson driving a 1974 Leyland P76, have won their third Peking To Paris rally

Crown and Bryson narrowly won the Classic Car class from a 1973 Porsche 911 driven by Americans David and Susan Danglard with another American pair, Chris and Tjerk Bury, third in a 1972 Datsun 240Z.

It was the second win for Crown/Bryson Leyland P76 combo, built by Bryson who won in 2013, their first win in 2010 coming in an EH Holden.

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Crown reckoned it was the toughest rally yet but also highly enjoyable and he was hoping there would be more 87-year-olds competing to keep him company. The field of more than 100 classic and vintage cars in this year’s event wound their way through China, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Belgium and then into France.

| Watch next: Shed-find Leyland P76 kickstart - video

Matt Bryson is the son of rally legend and rallying Hall of Famer John Bryson, who was co-driver to Evan Green in the 1974 London to Munich World Cup Rally in a P76.

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Bryson senior was an accomplished competitor as both driver and co-driver; his CV includes three victories in the Southern Cross Rally and major placings in the 1968 and 1977 London-to-Sydney marathons.

The P76 was a locally-made rival to the Kingswood, Falcon and Valiant and despite winning Wheels Car of the Year award, it was hugely unpopular with buyers despite its many innovative features, most notably that the boot could fit a 44-gallon drum and its powerful and smooth 4.4lt alloy V8.

From its birth in 1973 to its passing in 1975 only 18,000 P76s were built, as the first oil crisis and subsequent rocketing fuel prices dampened demand for big cars.

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Today not many survive and the P76 has a strong cult following and collectability factor.

In total nine Aussies were among the 20 crew in the top 10 cars that tackled the toughest rally for historic cars with Paul Hickman and Sebastian Grose, who we interviewed in UC issue 427 finishing ninth in a Bristol 403.

 

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