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Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The Leyland P76 Force 7V Coupe

Jim Brennan October 31, 2014 Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage 61 Comments

Flickriver Most interesting photos tagged with p76 - Google Chrome 10292014 72610 AM.bmp

Welcome to the Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Post, where I uncover vehicles that you probably never knew about, and try to convince you that they are undiscovered Musclecars. This will be my first post featuring a car from the land down under, and it’s long overdue. However, since this is the Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage, I thought I would zero in on something that is more, shall we say, left of center… No, I will not be highlighting an Australian Falcon, or a Holden Commodore, or even a Chrysler with a Hemi Six under the hood… How about something with a very British Nameplate that is so rare that only ten examples exist today. Introducing the Leyland P76 Force 7V Coupe from 1974.

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The Leyland P76 was launched in 1973 in a four-door saloon body style, with what was termed as the standard Australian Wheelbase of 111 inches, to compete with the other home grown Aussie cars such as the Ford Falcon, the Holden Kingswood, and the Chrysler Valiant. One of the more unusual aspects of the vehicle was it’s large trunk (or boot if you prefer) that had the ability of housing a 44 gallon steel drum, which was thought of as a feature for some reason. Power was a choice of two engines… A 2.6L Straight Six that was used in the smaller Austin Kimberley (think redesigned and boxier Morris 1800) that produced 121HP and 165 lb·ft of torque, and the more interesting of the two engines, a 4.4L version of the Buick Aluminum V-8 that produced 200 HP and 280 lb·ft of torque. The 4.4L configuration was unique to the Leyland P76.


All was not well with Leyland Australia during this time period, and to launch a rather large Saloon right at the moment that fuel supplies started to become tight was unfortunate. Factor in the expected labor problems during this time period (assorted work stoppages by suppliers), and assembly line problems at Leyland Australia’s plant in Zetland, the production of these vehicles were somewhat limited. Adding to these problems was a general lack of build quality associated with the brand, along with reliability issues, and you can see why Leyland Australia shut down the plant in October of 1974 after a little over 18,000 P76 vehicles were produced.

img_0470.jpg (640×480) - Google Chrome 10292014 73957 AM.bmp

However, this is not the end to this story. There was suppose to be two more body styles produced; A Station Wagon version of the Saloon, and the Force 7 Coupe, and this is the model we will zero in on. The P76 Force 7 Coupe shared very little with the saloon model, and was unique during this time period because it was offered with a large hatchback. There was suppose to be four distinct series offered to the public, and included:
– Base Force 7 Coupe, equipped with the standard six cylinder engine and manual transmission.
– *** Options would have been offered including automatic, uplevel trim, and air conditioning.
– Sporty Force 7V, equipped with the 4.4L V-8, 4 on the floor, sporty wheels, tape stripes, and more
– Luxury Tour de Force, with the V-8, automatic gearbox, luxury trim and the usual bric-a-brac.
– The Force 7R, which was suppose to be a Bathurst Contender, but was stillborn.

All sizes  1974 Leyland Force 7  Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Google Chrome 10292014 74857 AM.bmp

The differences between the Force 7 Coupe and the P76 Saloon is telling. The coupe is 50MM Shorter (almost 2 inches) than the Saloon, but is was also 15MM wider (big deal, almost 1/2 inch), and weighed in at 30kg more (which is just over 66 pounds). The styling of the Force 7 coupe was special, with a raised center section of the hood (bonnet) with a dummy hood scoop, and and aggressive grill opening. The look was decidedly different from the Saloon model. The interior furnishings were shared between the models, with the expected loss of headroom for the rear passengers due to the fastback styling.

IMG_1407.jpg photo by lx5008 - Google Chrome 10292014 74302 AM.bmp

Performance of the Force 7V was pretty good for such a large car packing a relatively small V-8. With the Borg-Warner 4-speed floor shifted manual, a 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) sprint was achieved in around 11.5 seconds. Top speed was said to be around 170 kph (a little over 105 mph). Leyland had planned to offer a sports package for the Force 7, that would have upped the kW by around 40 (or a little over 53HP) to about 185 kW (or around 250 HP). This boost would have given the Force 7 a real point of difference mechanically from the P76 sedan and could have improved its sporty street cred.

Flickriver Most interesting photos tagged with p76 - Google Chrome 10292014 72750 AM.bmp

Now here is where the story gets weird. At the time of the Zetland plant closing, there were some 86 P76 Force 7 Coupes produced and waiting to be shipped to Australian Dealers. So it was the management of Leyland who decided to auction the cars and a suggestion was made that if they only auctioned a small number of the finished coupes, then these would bring a much higher return than putting all 86 under the hammer. So, all but eight were stripped and crushed. The survivors are as follows:

All sizes  Leyland P76 Force 7  Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Google Chrome 10292014 74437 AM.bmp

– Yellow Coupe, White Interior, Manual Transmission
– Yellow Coupe, Brown Interior, Automatic Transmission
– Green Coupe, White Interior, Manual Transmission
– Green Coupe, White Interior, Automatic Transmission
– Orange Coupe, Black Interior, Manual Transmission
– Orange Coupe, Brown Inerior, Manual Transmission
– Orange Coupe, White Interior, Automatic Transmission
– White Coupe, Black Interior, Automatic Transmission
– Brown Coupe, White Interior, Manual Transmission, Retained by Leyland, Now at Birdwood Motor Museum.
– Blue Coupe, White Interior, Automatic Transmission, Ex-Lord Stokes, originally shipped to UK, now in NZ.

Flickriver Most interesting photos tagged with p76 - Google Chrome 10292014 72851 AM.bmp

As a footnote, the development budget for the entire P76 program was pegged an a minuscule A$21 million. Yes, these cars may have carried engines that were already developed, and used off the shelf Borg Warner Transmissions (both the manuals and the Automatic) so it was astonishing that this car ever saw the light of day, in three different body styles no less. So, here is the question of the week. Would you consider the Leyland P76 Force 7V an Obscure Muscle Car, and should it be granted entry into the Obscure Muscle Car Garage, or should it be crushed, just like the other 74 cars produced in 1975? I’m sure that debate will rage on this one, and while you’re at it, why not suggest other Obscure Muscle Cars that I can profile for this series…

IMG_1385.jpg photo by lx5008 - Google Chrome 10292014 74214 AM.bmp

Would you consider admitting the Leyland P76 Force 7V into the Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage?

View Results

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All sizes  1974 Leyland Force 7  Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Google Chrome 10292014 74954 AM.bmp

Please Note: All Images are screen grabs from around the web. If you want credit for any image, please let me know in the comments section. Thank You!

All sizes  1974 Leyland Force 7V  Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Google Chrome 10292014 75057 AM.bmp

  • 7FIAT's Later

    I can't make up my mind on which way to vote on this one.

  • Number_Six

    Bad ass.

  • Sjalabais

    Never seen one.

    • Rover_1

      And with only ten, you remain unlikely to.

      Specially when nine are in Australasia.

      • Sjalabais

        You're indisputably right. What I meant, didn't say, too: Not even on a screen. A unicorn, more than a certain Subaru Justy. 🙂

        • Rover_1

          I am lucky(?) enough to have seen the NZ one, (and sat in it ).

          And I have one of those 4.4 litre V8s, when I have all the extra bits it will be a 6.0 litre torque-monster, of the same weight as a BMC B-series and set to go in my next P6 🙂 (Buick 350 crank, Chev pistons, Bosch EFI, etc)
          <img src=";

          • Sjalabais

            Wow, cool (x2)! What's the timeline on that one?

            • Rover_1

              A little longer now that I have a new Project House,( and existing Project House, Project Lancia, Project Citroen, and of course Project Work Career ). At the stockpiling parts stage. I have had the bare block machined.

    • dr zero

      I've never even heard of it before, I live down here!

    • spotty

      i've seen one, a long time ago. we were at Birdwood Mill Car Museum in Hahndorf, in the hills above Adelaide and fortuitously the P76 Club were having their annual national Run there that day. a fine turnout of all variants of the marque including a Force 7V.and many targa's

      on a seperate P76 related topic, when my dad died my mother gave me his car (early Suzuki Swift with 330,000 km on the clock), this car was not my cup of tea, either tastewise or sizewise (i'm 6'5") so i decided to trade it for something more interesting, trade being the operative word as i had no cash to trade 'up' , we spent a day driving round half the second hand yards in melbourne and eventually found the car of my dreams….a nipple pink P76 in spotless condition with a white vinyl interior with embossed spots,it had apparently belonged to the president of the local P76 club but never said why they'd ended up with it
      i was smitten to say the least. unfortunately the caryard took one look at the odomoter reading on the suzuki and said no…but intimated that if i was to come back the next day with the odomoter reading something below 200k they'd be happy to do the deal.
      ended up finding a 77 falcon that a yard was willing to swap on the spot (XC with a 3.3 motor and C4 auto, lasted for years and took me far and wide, eventually passed on with a terminal lack of water out on the freeway)
      still regret not getting that P76 though

      • Sjalabais

        Nipple pink is an irresistible colour. I get that. The used car lot suggested you tamper with the odometer? Just a wee bit outrageous.

  • skitter

    It's so alternate-universe weird, it looks like a fake car invented for a bad TV show.
    A most excellent addition to the garage.

    • Maymar

      It's fitting that Force 7V sounds like a bad TV show, too.

      I think Richard Dean Anderson got his start in it.

      • NotJustDucky

        <img src="; width=350>

  • Prince Halibrand

    That's the ugliest car I ever got a hard on over.

  • Prince Halibrand

    OT: I think I need this but is the price seems way high. Opinions?

    • Manic_King

      For only a little bit more you could have 1:1 size real thing. Just kidding, looks nice but that price seems high.

  • Van_Sarockin

    I like the car a great deal. But it never really went into production, these are more prototypes, sadly. But it does sure nail the obscure part.

  • "…the ability of housing a 44 gallon steel drum, which was thought of as a feature for some reason."

    Imperial gallons. Makes perfect sense that way.

    • NotJustDucky

      Also, carrying large drums will be a very popular feature in the Australia of the near future:

      <img src="; width=450>

    • Rover_1

      <img src=";

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    The Force 7R was a victim of industrial disease.

    Shame, that.

  • They had 86 cars they could have auctioned for, say, A$10,000 each. But instead they banked on there being 8 victims out there willing to pony up over A$100,000 each?

    And you say Leyland was having management problems in the mid-'70s, hmm.

    • Prince Halibrand

      Don't you see….the other 74 had to be crushed because FUCK YOU.

    • Vairship

      "Adding to these problems was a general lack of build quality associated with the brand, along with reliability issues"
      Note that Leyland actually NOTICED the reliability issues, i.e. they were worse than on their other cars. Perhaps only eight were able to run?

  • Erik the Awful

    "A 2.6L Straight Six that was used in the smaller Austin Kimberley (think redesigned and boxier Morris 1800)"
    Sure, I can try and think of a Morris 1800… Fail.

    • Rover_1

      Austin 1800.Mk1
      <img src="; width="400">
      <img src="; width="600">
      <img src="; width="600">

      Austin 1800 MkII
      <img src="; width="600">
      <img src="; width="600">

      Austin 1800 Utility (Inexplicably, MD Harrell does not have one of these)
      <img src="; width="600">

      Austin Tasman & upmarket Kimberley, note: doors & centre structure.
      <img src="; width="600">

      • nanoop

        I was looking into land crabs as a project car once, but they were all too rusty to trust. That ute-up there would have come with me, if we'd met three years ago…

      • I would love to own a landcrab someday, but it would just HAVE to have that Wolseley grille.

        <img src=";

        • Rover_1

          The (one-off, prototype only ), Vanden Plas version combined both Australia and Britain in the one car. A re-grilled , re-interiored Kimberley/Tasman/1800 mash-up.
          <img src=";
          <img src=";
          <img src=";

    • Ate Up WIth Motor

      I think it was a unique variant of the E-series six with the longer 95.7-inch stroke of the 1,748cc E4 from the Allegro and Maxi, not used on British cars (which did use the short-stroke 2,226cc E6).

      • Rover_1

        Indeed it was, and the tooling ended up in South Africa where the last of these sixes were installed, north-south in the S.A. version of the Rover SD1 six cylinder version instead of the OHC Rover inline six that had actually designed for it

        Rover Six for SD1 for UK, Europe,Australia,NZ.
        <img src="; width="500">

        Rover SD1 South African brochure
        <img src="; width="400">

  • Marshall Loveday

    This one's too obscure to be on the 'Obscure List', UDMan………
    – AMC Hornet SC/360 (1971)
    – Chevy Malibu SS station wagon (1973 ONLY)
    – Pontiac Ventura SD 4-door sedan (limited prod. for So Cal only, 1972) (C&D (?) did a short article on it back then)
    – Rover (P6) 3500 (early 70's)
    – Rover (SD) 3400 (late 70's)
    – Chevy Impala SS427 ('67-'69 I think)
    – Pontiac Tempest LeMans with the 326 in it – 1963
    – Oldsmobile Jetfire ('62/'63 – turbocharged Cutlass)
    – Pontiac 'Sprints' – Firebirds/Tempests with the OHC 6 and a 4-barrel)
    – Doddge Dart GTS (thinking '68/'69….)

    That should keep you busy…….

  • bluehillsmike

    Puts a Pacer's styling in a new light. Apparenty Aussie beer stronger than WI beer is the only conclusion I can come up with, mate.

  • Will_Power

    Boy, the definition of "muscle car" has sure gotten sloppy. V8 and 4-speed are enough to qualify? :-\ Sheesh.

    • udman

      You are free to disagree if you want… just vote in the poll for answer #2…

      • Will_Power

        Thank you so much for your assistance.

        • Van_Sarockin

          I can't believe I mistakenly upvoted that comment. Apologies to all.

    • LJSearles

      Makes up for it in obscurity

  • marmer01

    Oh, so it's not a Mustang II?

    • I was thinking flashy Mercury Capri (or Ford Capri in Europe)

      • Ate Up With Motor

        I think it was a good big larger than the Capri, though. Not to mention notably less tasteful.

  • Slow_Joe_Crow

    I never even knew there was a P76 coupe so this is certainly obscure and by BL standards that's a huge engine so give it the yes

  • mac350

    Kinda looks like a Bizarro World malaise Mustang.

    • mac350

      <img src="; width="400">

  • Rover_1

    Also worthy of note: The P76 Targa Florio named after it's lap record on the island during the 1974 World Rally. Manual V8 only
    <img src="; width="650">

    • V8Pnut

      The Targa Florio was available only as a Tbar auto but the 1974 World Cup Rally car was a 4 speed manual

      • Rover_1

        I stand corrected sir. The one I drove must have been converted. 🙂

        • cosme

          The Targa florio had the same 250 hp motor as the force 7? Or it was just cosmetic?

          • Rover_1

            Pretty much cosmetic. The engines are pretty easy to uprate, and indeed were an option on early Australian Range Rovers. 3.3 Holden XU1 pistons yield a 5.0 litre capacity. These engines which were in production after the P76 production ended, (For the Leyland Terrier truck). They are basically a sandcast Buick V8 with a taller deck height to allow the longer stroke, 3.5 in bore X 3.5 in stroke and share a lot with the iron Buick 350 V8 and 3.8 Buick V6 families. …

  • LJSearles

    And in the background we have a Mini, a 1964ish Valiant Safari wagon, dunno, a HKish Holden Wagon, A Cortina perhaps, another HKish Holden…

  • david42

    Obscure muscle car? Nailed it.

  • V8Pnut

    "One of the more unusual aspects of the vehicle was it’s large trunk (or boot if you prefer) that had the ability of housing a 44 gallon steel drum, which was thought of as a feature for some reason"
    The 44 gal drum thing was only to give prospective buyers a way to visualise the capacity of the boot. No one ever expected that some one would actually need to carry one. The boot capacity is 36 cu ft.

  • Pee nut

    0 – 62 mph was closer to 8.7 – 9 seconds not 11, and the handling advantage the car possesses would leave many a bigger powered car in its wake, in a real race, you know, one with corners in it

  • Rube Gold

    THE SUX6000 LIVES !!! Be still my throbbing loins !!!

  • cosme

    Here is the auction's poster from 1975.

    <img src="; width="600">
    <img src="; width="600">

    And an interesting reviews of australians coupes.

  • Watto

    I was fortunate to drive one of the remaining Force 7V coupes at the 40th anniversary event for the P76 last year in Canberra. My impressions of the Force 7V were mainly that it was not production ready – a few small issues to be sorted with suspension and wind noise (taking into account this was a 40-year-old car), but the driving of the car was fabulous. It felt much smaller from behind the wheel than it looked – or even from how it felt from the front passenger seats. The steering – very positive rack & pinion – was superb and the car felt quite nimble, despite its overall size. It certainly had no lack of power – the light weight of the car, especially thanks to the aluminium V8 that weighed no more than the iron 6-cyl, meant that although it doesn't have the power of, say a Falcon GT, it would have been very close to it in performance and far superior in handling (that will stat the arguments, but I have driven Falcon GT as well – good in a straight line but a real handful on the bends). By biggest gripe with the styling is that it looks so under-tyred with those big wheel arch flares and the comparatively narrow wheels. The factory was experimenting with wider wheels and spacers, which helped, but a wider axle would have been much better to fill the arches. That would not have happened, though, because they had to retain mechanical commonalty with the P76 sedan in order to be financially viable. FYI – the car is much bigger than a Capri, and a little bigger than a Mustang of the same period. My vote is that the Force 7V would certainly have qualified for Muscle Car status had they been produced, and the remaining 10 vehicles (check the list) qualify it within the realms of Obscure Muscle Car.

    • Rover_1

      9 or even 10 inch wide wheels fit easily.

      This one has 15 x 9s
      <img src=";

  • Garry

    Hey just saw a Force 7 today in Chatswood NSW …

    Green with White interior …

    Whilst I am not a fan of P76's this is quite a car .

    So rare and in such great condition .

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