Leyland P76 : The estate that never was
The station wagon was a good looking addition to the Leyland P76 range, and one that didn’t see the light of day thanks to the closure of the Zetland plant in 1974.
Here’s its story, along with some new pictures taken during its development.
The Leyland P76 station wagon is another missed opportunity that shows just how much potential this large saloon from Australia actually had. Just like the Force 7V Coupe, it was a victim of both a severely limited development, and the ultimate closure of the Zetland factory.
Its development was well underway in 1973, when the decision was taken to curtail the programme in favour of the Force 7 coupes. The end result is that a mere three were built, of which only one is left – the white example in the picture above. According to the Leyland Club of Victoria, of the the three cars, plus a glass fibre mock-up (below), the first two were made by the ‘experimental’ department and undertook much testing before being destroyed.
The station wagon differed from the saloon by its unique rear doors and window frames. But it wasn’t a perfect estate conversion by any means – the rear tumblehome was considerable, while the standard wheelbase meant there was no more interior room than the saloon version. Although the definitive car had a split tailgate, it’s suggested that Leyland Australia also experimented with a single piece item.
Missed opprtunity or close escape?
- Thanks to Norman Julian for image permission.