1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII: Reader ride

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John Giatras' 1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII John Giatras' 1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII John Giatras' 1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII
John Giatras' 1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII John Giatras' 1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII John Giatras' 1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII

John Giatras' 1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII...

1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII: Reader ride
John Giatras' 1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII...

 

1973 Austin Kimberley X6 MKII

I have a gentlemen’s barber business in Adelaide and get to meet a lot of clients who know I’m a real car nut. I’ve had a lot of great classic cars offered to me over the years – like a genuine Pacer for $2000 or a ’63 Impala for $1200 – but I’ve been a dickhead and knocked them all back!

One day an elderly man asked me if I wanted to buy his Kimberley, which he’d had from new, because he was too old to drive it. I said, "What the hell’s a Kimberely?" I went to his house, he rolled it out of the garage and it was immaculate with only 64,000 miles on it so I grabbed it and a whole heap of new parts including a spare engine. I’d never seen one before but turns out it’s interesting and rare. I take it to the All-British Day in Adelaide and mine has been the only Kimberley there for the last three years.

Apparently 7-8000 were made for Australia/New Zealand but how many still survive, who knows?

Kimberleys were built in NSW and were supposed to be British Leyland’s answer to Holden, Valiant and Ford family cars but their introduction was bad timing because the HQ Holden came out in 1973. The Kimberley was replaced by the P76.

It’s got a transverse 2.2-litre six with a four-speed manual ‘box. It originally had twin SU carbies but the old man changed to a single carburettor for better fuel efficiency. It’s a really nice car to drive, very comfortable, and doesn’t roll in corners because it has self-levelling ‘Hydrolastic’ suspension. The old advertising slogan was ‘Floats on Fluid’. They were labelled as ‘land crabs’ but I’ve had it up to 65mph and it still wanted to go! Although its engine was smaller than the Holden, Valiant and Ford sixes of the day, the car was lighter so its performance probably wasn’t much different to them.

The Kimberley was the top of the range Austin and one of its selling points was interior space for six. I’ve got a Statesman and I reckon there is more room in the back seat of the Kimberley.

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