Leyland P76 Turns 40
An Unofﬁcial Account. The Truth Revealed. Nothing is Sacred or Hidden
Philip Meyer and Rob Jones
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)
|The custom ute of Troy
Green. Look at it carefully and spot the differences, there are
too many for me to list. The interior looks like a P76 but it
isn't. The dash is the same shape but made of spun black
aluminium I think with modern gauges in the same pattern holes
and the rest follows this theme. The tray has a "new style" lift
up cover, the paint is spectacular and not done justice here,
the finish overall, decals, wheels and details is superb and I
don't think I even saw the engine bay! On the rear it carries
the name Greenie within the decal artwork, as it should
belonging to Troy. But it still didn't win the modiﬁed class!
||The rarest is the
recently restored CC station wagon. The only P76 station wagon,
a fitting partner for Joe Greens Force7V and all the other P76ís
he has! A beautiful colour and a good looking wagon with a ton
of carrying capacity. Just imagine how things may have gone had
the Pom's not shut down the Zetland operation! There were a
great number of CC cars at the rally and while there are many a
bright option within the Leyland colour range this is still one
of my favourite colours for P76. This shot was taken in the car
park in front of the Rydges Lakeside Hotel where the entrants
assembled prior to the re-enactment drive.
||The special being three
Force 7V's in B as B, HOTO and B as B, belonging to Rod Warrick
from Victoria, Joe Green from NSW and David Nelson from NSW. The
cars are parked on the lawn in front of the old Parliament
buildings as part of the 70 plus contingent being judged in the
Concours. Lo and behold, there didn't appear to be a category
for the Force 7 and to date I have conﬂicting answers as to who
did win which category so I won't be going there, suffice to say
no Kiwi cars won as there weren't any there.
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)
In June 2013 it
happened. It started in March,
really. The word was that the occasion would require formal attire. Not
everyone possesses formal attire, but then some people who previously
didn't do now. Having sorted that major obstacle plans were drawn up,
discarded, re-started, discarded, re-arranged, discarded, reconsidered.
Decided. Easy eh? Now all we had to decide was which airline to fly
with, where to stay, who to take, which way to go, when to go, whence to
return, how to pay, and other minor details. So we met at Kiama Railway
Station. Thatís south of Sydney. Two hours in a train. Luckily (yes, we
are in the Lucky Country) there was a pub just around the corner.
Luckily they served Carlton Draught. lt took three to start tasting like
it did in 1973.
was not randomly chosenóit is of course the place where you canít buy
P76 parts. So the next day, after a long drive of about 38metres to the
au natural cafť for breakfast, which included wild eggs and free-range
bacon, it was off to Nowra and the Navy Museum where our browsing was
rudely interrupted by a phone call from Skippy and the Impersonator
accompanying her. And could we meet at Goulburn for lunch and to join
the P76 convoy. Of course. A couple of hours later, luckily Maccas was
open. And they were gathering. By the score. A bit later we arrived,
devoid of drama, in Canberra where Mike and Rob had been summonsed to
THE MEETING. Once that was over it was dinner time. Then it was lectures
time. Three captivating addresses from the people who were responsible
for planning and creating and marketing the P76 leading up to its launch
in 1973. The next day, the assembled cars gathered by the scores to
ultimately follow the press release route as per the 1973 event. Which
went to a couple of interesting satellite receiving sites and then
Gundaroo. Luckily the local Fire Brigade were having a BBQ so there was
plenty of food. We were then free to find our way back to Canberra, just
in time for the hairdresser, the make-up artist and the dry cleaner so
he could iron our suits, because they were crumpled from being carted
about in suitcases. Oh thats an appropriate name eh. The Dinner turned
out to be rather pleasant, luckily. Luckily, too, the guest speakers all
turned up and we got to hear three more high-flying planners from 1973.
Even more luckily an announcement confirmed that skill and ability and
the choice of the right P76 resulted in the right P76, code-named P38X2,
winning the Peking to Paris Rally. Just an hour before the Dinner
started. Let the Champaign flow !!
Next morning, luckily the
rain had stopped to be luckily replaced with bright blue skies and
sunshine, they gathered again in the grounds in front of the Australian
Federal Government. l stopped counting after reaching seven score. My
head couldnít get around the beautiful view. If we are lucky someone
will have brought a camera here, too.
Around lunchtime we had
had our fill of Leylands so we left Canberra to see how far we could go
before finding a P76 in trouble. Luckily we found it and had to tow it
only 100km (it was really 76miles) to the next servo, as they call it in
the Lucky Country. Luckily we were able to reach Wodonga just after it
turned dark. The Thai restaurant ran out of our chosen wine but luckily
he gave us one just about as good for free.
Next time we will go to
the Mexican restaurant. One of the party had stipulated that the return
route must include Bendigo, luckily it wasnít Darwin, and luckily Echuca
was on the way there and luckily the cafe there had the best coffee in
the world, just like it was lucky that Bendigo had the best pie shop in
the world and even more luckily it was open at breakfast time. And so it
came time to return the car to the kind man who had let us drive it to
Melbourne Airport for him and fly back to Auckland.
|ON Targa Florio
Given to me to drive into Canberra from Goulburn.
Neville and Adrian. Nice ride.
|The 35Oci Chev Motor as
seen in the Middys car. Besides the motor check out the other
modiﬁcation to the engine bay.
||Ed the architect
thought this old 1836 store was out of this world. The ﬁre was
going inside but I think it was warmer outside!
There had to be a drum on
display and this blue one was well presented.
|Bendigo was a nice
friendly city offering good accommodation, a superb dinner and
great pies for breakfast as Ed was determined to prove to us. We
all had one!
||And the Tram
Museum was also a big hit with us and Len our unofficial guide
is sure to visit us here in NZ.
We visited some very well
presented museum's including the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra
where we saw this Mikoyan-Gurevich MIG-15 UTI amongst many
MEMORABLE MUSEUMS: Nowra
Navy Museum, Bendigo Holden Museum, another one in the paddock at the
back of beyond, the hot rod one also countrified and the Army Base one
that didnít open until 1000 hours.
I must make mention of
the impeccable behaviour of my travelling companions: without exception
they were at all times polite, well-spoken, well-dressed, helpful to old
people, courteous to everyone and spoke nothing but the truth for a
rarest photo in my collection to date shows Mike King, Philip
Meyer, Ed Tubman and myself in our finery before the anniversary
dinner on the Saturday evening. We had various corporate
adornments, I had an original Leyland tie and tiepin but alas my
shirt was not built for the matching cufﬂinks. There were some
attractive designs in aftermarket Leyland ties being worn by
others on the night. This photo taken outside the dining room
has as a backdrop one of the original sales boards that would
have been in place at dealerships across Australia. Most of you
will recognise the scene.
This is a rare photo as when
did any of you ever see Ed or myself in a suit before? I can't
talk for Mike and Philip but I suspect it isn't something they
don every day! This backdrop would have had 100ís of photos
taken of it on the night.
The second shows more of our group in more appropriate
attire at Gundaroo, a small village that made us very welcome,
the local fire brigade supplying a great range of BBQ style
foods at very reasonable prices. A good fundraiser when you have
150+ hungry people to visit.
This place was very old by our
standards, as was much of Australia in terms of European
settlement. One shop we visited was built in 1836, a living
lesson for Ed! Check out our welcome on the local notice board
behind us. A quaint blackboard with a roof!
photo we see from L to R Ed, Mike, and Rob (me) Skippy aka
Maria, David Timms and Philip. It is about here I must explain
that Murray Hatchard was also with us but somehow escaped any
photographic record of the fact to my knowledge. He sat next to
me in the bar at the Leagues Club, and at the Saturday dinner,
we spoke at Gundaroo when he pointed out his car to me but he
obviously eluded any of our cameras. I assure you Murray was
|A car in a non
standard colour, one of two I recall, but nice all the same.
This is one of many queued down the road from the Honeysuckle
Creek tracking station reserve. It was a long line! Just to
prove we can see beyond the cars notice the bush in the
background. There were a lot of big rocks amongst the bush too.
And importantly for me (I'm the Editor
and the others can't stop me here) it was just down the road
from here that I saw my first herd of wild kangaroo's after many
trips and miles travelled in Aussie, I finally got to see some
alive in the wild. Impressive for my first time.
|The BIG M won the
modified class. This business promotional car from Victoria
sports a 350 Chev motor but all is forgiven. It to carries an
assortment of differences besides those which are very obvious.
Check out that bonnet! In a shocking pink metallic colour scheme
with white P76 interior, the seats piped in pink, the steering
wheel cut from a solid block of aluminium and many other
refinements the Middys car is spectacular to look at and listen
to, especially rumbling down a steep valley road. Owner Rick
Brain told us he wanted something Australian to advertise his
company with but felt something special was needed and here it
is! There are any number of minor and major body and trim
details that distinguish this car from the original. I may be
able to show some points later.
||No colour spread is
complete without my other favourite and this car certainly
showed off its HOTO finish to great effect. I'm not sure whose
it is but it isn't the car Reg Jones was driving which was another superb
HOTO car on show. Isn't that just lovely!
Reg Jones used to live in Tauranga New Zealand back during the
beginning of the NZ Club. He ran a smart CC S V8 with a
lot of gold paint trim on the bonnet and boot of the car.
I hadnít seen him in nearly 30 years and he walked up to me in
Canberra and said ď Hi Rob, long time no seeĒ