By on December 8, 2010

When it comes to cars, I much prefer discussing the deeply flawed and/or obscure to, say, getting into a debate over the relative merits of the E36 versus the E46. Give me a Sofia B or ZIL 112 any day! 24 Hours of LeMons racers who wish to bribe the judges and ensure fair treatment know that diecast replicas of weird/obscure vehicles make me very, very happy. Here’s one of the best yet— can you identify it?


This, for those of you who aren’t from Australia and/or scarily obsessed car anoraks, is a 1:43 scale 1976 Leyland P76. The P76 was one of the greatest motor vehicles of all time, in the same sense that Richard Nixon was one of the greatest American presidents of all time. Sort of a British/Australian response to the ’71 Oldsmobile Delta 88, the P76 featured Buick/Rover V8 power, Lucas electrics, and a trunk designed to fit a 44-gallon drum with the lid closed. What comes in 44-gallon drums, and why are such drums so important to Australians? That, my friends, is like asking why Richard Nixon couldn’t make money shipping frozen— but not concentrated— lemon juice by train; you’ll be happier not knowing.
Photo by David Moore
The diecast P76 bribe came from Team Porcubimmer aka Prickstine, seen here lowering Las Vegas’ collective property values with their street-legal LeMons car during SEMA. Thanks, Porcubimmers! Photograph by David Moore.

We might as well check out some of the other fine toy-car bribes I’ve received from LeMons teams during my tenure on the LeMons Supreme Court bench. Here’s a 1:43 Live And Let Die Mini Moke.

It’s hard to beat a P76, but an Evel Knievel commemorative-edition 1:64 scale Aston Martin Lagonda comes close.

It’s not really a car, but the infamous Long Brothers’ Junkyard Wars hovercraft still warrants a place on my bribe-display shelf in the office.

This Citroën DS Chapron Convertible in 1:18 scale doesn’t make the quite the ironic statement issued by, say, the Moke or the Lagonda, but it makes up for it in straight-up beauty.

Likewise, you don’t have to be a complete weirdo to want a 1:24 scale Dan Gurney ’69 Cyclone Spoiler on your desk. Well, maybe you need to be a bit of a weirdo, but as a former Cyclone owner I was ecstatic to get this one at the Mutually Assured Destruction Of Omaha race.

Finally, there’s one guaranteed to make a Dodge A100 owner happy!

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35 Comments on “What The Hell Is This Thing?...”


  • avatar
    Stingray

    You need 1 Isuzu Piazza and a Geo Storm demo on that collection.
     
    I got a nice Fiat 131 Abarth last time I bought something

  • avatar
    findude

    Apart from the headlights, that Leyland bears a strange resemblance to the De Tomaso Deauville which came out in 1970.
     
     

  • avatar
    tonyola

    I always thought the Leyland P76 looked like a 1971 Dodge Coronet. The car was a huge flop because it was introduced right before Fuel Crisis I and it now has the reputation of being Australia’s Edsel. British Leyland gave up on Australia after this final disaster.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I thought they were a huge flop because they were built so badly that they weren’t remotely water proof.

    • 0 avatar
      d002

      They weren’t really a flop : BL went bankrupt and was nationalised during the development and the new owners were reluctant to invest in a foreign car plant.

      There was a bit of public resistance to a “big Moggy”, but the main problem was a lack of supply because of a strike at the factory.
      Initial orders were strong, but customers had to wait up to 18 months for delivery because of the strike and the penny-pinching management and suppliers refusing to supply components as they were worried the UK government would withdraw support (which in fact, is what they eventually did in 1973).

      The main engline was the E-series six (3.3L) – the engine that was supposed to have gone in  the SD1, but didn’t, because :
      1.  Rover management refused to accept a “Morris engine in a Rover”.
      2.  The 3.3L E-series six actually put out more power than the (much more expensive) 3.5 L V8 !

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      AROnline says the P76 was offered with two engines:
      2.6 liter straight six with 121 hp
      4.4 liter V8 with 192 hp
      Looks like there is a model of the super-rare Leyland Force 7 coupe based on the P76. Murilee would love this.
      http://www.topgear.com.au/product.php?product_id=553

    • 0 avatar
      Nicodemus

      “The main engline was the E-series six (3.3L) – the engine that was supposed to have gone in  the SD1, but didn’t, because :
      1.  Rover management refused to accept a “Morris engine in a Rover”.
      2.  The 3.3L E-series six actually put out more power than the (much more expensive) 3.5 L V8 !”

      The E6 was never 3.3 litres, it was 2.6. It put out 110 hp, which is way less than any version of the Rover V8. The E6 DID go in the SD1 – South African ones!

      If they refused to fit a Morris engine, how do you explain the O-Series that was fitted to the SD1? – never was there a more Morris influenced motor! More’s the point if they had a problem with Morris engines, surely they would be aghast at fitting one from there arch enemy – Triumph. However this is exactly what they did with the Six cylinder 2600.

    • 0 avatar
      d002

      Really ?  How did they fit it ?

      Cos you’d have to slant over the E series to fit it under the bay of the SD1.
      The Standard engine in the Triumph (not really a Triumph engine) was quite low, so it would fit.

      It wasn’t until 1982 that the O series was used, they resisted it all the way.
      And in 1981 production was moved to the Morris factory in Cowley – deep in enemy territory – after the Ryder report.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Richard Nixon was a great president.  It’s just that he got caught.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      It wasn’t the crime, it was the cover-up that did Dick in.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Yes, Richard Nixon certainly was a great president! He had guts to spare. He sure made all the hippies mad, which was worth it! I was in the USAF back then, and with him being president, the military got everything it wanted. The Vietnam war era was the best time to be in the military, at least the Air Force if you weren’t being shot at! I’m serious about that, too, speaking strictly for myself.

      Is this site becoming “TTAT” (The Truth About Toys), now? Oh well, why not, everything else is discussed here. When I see foreign cars from the 1960s – 1970s, it makes me laugh – the foreign auto makers tried real hard to emulate American design, but it didn’t work on any level. Kind of like the U.S. automakers trying to emulate foreign cars. That didn’t work, either. Some truth to the phrase “East is east and west is west and the two will never meet.” That goes for America vs. Europe, too. Nowadays? Not so much.

      By the way, the P76 looks like they ripped off the AMC Ambassador/Rebel as far as styling goes. I see no Buick lines in it, unless Buick copied them sometime in the eighties!

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      You guys can’t be serious….Nixon took us off the gold standard.  For that ALONE he should be cast into the 7th circle of hell…..

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Mark, that was the doing of the NWO & the Illuminati! Toss in Bilderbergers, Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and any other “invisible hand” conspiracy theories you can come up with. Shape-shifters, maybe? Ha ha!

      The car toys are still ugly, though.

  • avatar
    Kelster

    I’m kind of wondering if this P76 wasn’t actually a rebodied Triumph 2000-series….

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Didn’t Mazda have a rebadged version of the P76?

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    “the P76 featured Buick/Rover V8 power”

    Not quite. The V8 in the P76, was related to the Rover V8 of course but was quite a different beast. There is very little commonality between the two although parts can be adapted from one t’other with a little machining and inguinuity.

  • avatar
    Styles79

    Man, I love seeing P76′s, I still see them on the road (VERY occasionally). I like the shape, and I guess that part of the appeal is the fact that they are rare. The engines are still in wide use these days powering boats and repowers for various vehicles. I went on a 4×4 trip a few years ago and one of the guys had a Mitsubishi Pajero repowered with a P76 V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicodemus

      Yeah with the right colour and wheel (Targo Floria version) they look very seventies cool. The V8 was an awesome motor.

      Oh and the names for the P76 colours were very amusing. Here they are with Dulux automotive codes should you wish to replicate them….

      Home On Th’Orange – 15416

      Crystal White – 11572

      Nutmeg (Metallic) – 15641

      Am Eye Blue – 15572

      Bitter Apricot – 15695

      Hairy Lime – 15571

      Dry Red – 15088

      N. V. Green – 15696

      Bold As Brass – 15089

      Aspen Green (Metallic) – 15694

      Oh Fudge – 15575

      Peel Me A Grape (Metallic) – 15600

      Omega Navy (Metallic) – 15693

      Country Cream – 15086

      Corinthian Blue – 15697

  • avatar
    namstrap

    I saw Nissan all over this thing. Looked like it came from the Prince side of the company, sort of like the 610 and the 710.

  • avatar
    racecarshots

    what an amazing photo of Prickstine!  wait, i took it! lol
     

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Was thinking it was Japanese, but then the mirrors are in the wrong location for that era, so then given the seeming interpretation of American styling, I did think Aussie, but could go no further.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Any conveyance driven by Rat Fink or as seen in Cartoons.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    As a former Citroën DS and SM owner, I love that Chapron convertible. That’s a lovely model, and a vehicle I’d love to own. (Alas, I have no money and even less sense!)

  • avatar
    snoproblem

    Junkyard Wars?
     
    Wow, I loved that program. I now have the show theme running in my head – it will likely remain there for the forseeable future, sigh.
     
    So scale models were made of  the team ‘creations’… anybody have photo’s of other JW vehicles/machine models?

  • avatar
    FTGDWolverineEdition'10

    Apparently, a 44 gallon drum is the same as our std. U.S. 55 gal drum. The 44 gallons figure represents the imperial gallon units.This is according to Wiki. Though, if you actually convert 55 U.S gallons it comes out to 45 something imp.gallons. I need more coffee…

    • 0 avatar
      TR4

      The popular notion is that Imperial and US gallons are a 5:4 ratio and hence the belief that an Imperial gallon “has five US quarts”.  In fact this is almost 4% wrong.  Far more accurate is a 6:5 ratio which is less than 1/10% wrong.

  • avatar
    obbop

    How many furlongs per tun does it get?

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    Leyland P76, designed to take on the Falcon, Valiant and Kingswood. On paper, it was a big improvement the traditional ”big sixes”. On execution they must have brought the British Leyland work ethic to Australia. The design was done on the cheap and in some cases it was downright amateur. An example is the station wagon variant. The rear side window frames were HAND-CUT from brass plate!. The other unusual aspect of the car was that it was said that with the six cylinder engine, a mechanic could put a chair and his tool box inside the engine bay to work on it. The oil crisis didn’t kill it, lackluster build quality and no money from the mother-ship to exploit it were the killers. It was rallied quite successfully. The Force 7 coupe was 7″ longer than the sedan and I think only three survive. One in Australia and two in the UK. I think that one of the UK cars was registered as a Jaguar prototype.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      According to AROnline, only three complete wagons were built – all prototypes. None were sold to the public, but one survives. Ten of the Force 7 coupes survive.

  • avatar
    Jasper911

    “Bought a Hemi Pacer built in ’74
    It’s got bananas in the gearbox
    rust in every door
    Reconditioned automission
    drinks a gallon every mile”

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    I first found out about it in the UK (Autocar used to have a back page feature on rare and interesting cars one of their staff dug out but never bought) but considered my chances of ever seeing one in the flesh to be between slim and remote. Then I saw three in perfect working order during my recent trip to New Zealand. Unfortunately always while driving, so no pics – but they do look pretty cool in real life – certainly something I would consider (if I was madder and lived where they drive on the wrong side of the road).


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