What The Hell Is This Thing?

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.

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!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Jasper911 Jasper911 on Dec 12, 2010

    "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"

  • Kristjan Ambroz Kristjan Ambroz on Jan 08, 2011

    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).

  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.
  • MKizzy Why else does range matter? Because in the EV advocate's dream scenario of a post-ICE future, the average multi-car household will find itself with more EVs in their garages and driveways than places to plug them in or the capacity to charge then all at once without significant electrical upgrades. Unless each vehicle has enough range to allow for multiple days without plugging in, fighting over charging access in multi-EV households will be right up there with finances for causes of domestic strife.
  • 28-Cars-Later WSJ blurb in Think or Swim:Workers at Volkswagen's Tennessee factory voted to join the United Auto Workers, marking a historic win for the 89- year-old union that is seeking to expand where it has struggled before, with foreign-owned factories in the South.The vote is a breakthrough for the UAW, whose membership has shrunk by about three-quarters since the 1970s, to less than 400,000 workers last year.UAW leaders have hitched their growth ambitions to organizing nonunion auto factories, many of which are in southern states where the Detroit-based labor group has failed several times and antiunion sentiment abounds."People are ready for change," said Kelcey Smith, 48, who has worked in the VW plant's paint shop for about a year, after leaving his job at an Amazon.com warehouse in town. "We look forward to making history and bringing change throughout the entire South."   ...Start the clock on a Chattanooga shutdown.