Concepts and Prototypes : Leyland P82 (1970-1974)

The Leyland P82 would have supplemented the P76 and Force 7, and would have provided an up-to-date replacement for the Leyland Marina.

Industry expert Jack Yan fills in the blanks to reveal the cruel end to a promising Antipodean project…

Leyland P82: Compact future lost

Leyland P82

In the mid-1960s, BMC Australia, keen to get a bigger slice of the six-cylinder market in Australia, had decided that the advanced Issigonis front-wheel-drive methods would not wash Down Under. Buyers were flocking to the Ford Falcon and Holden EH/HD/HR, while Chrysler had made its foray with the Valiant. Sophistication was out in this rugged market: mechanical simplicity was in.

BMC proposed its Model A–Model B plan, which would see two complementary models. Model A would eventually become the Leyland Marina, while Model B became the Leyland P76. Designer Mark Cassarchis, who had tidied up the P76 after Michelotti in 1970, was one of the parties charged with styling the smaller car as the successor to the Marina in 1972. Bertone, Michelotti, Giugiaro, David Bache and Roman Rodhberg, Cassarchis’ predecessor, were the other candidates.

Choosing a stylist for P82

Leyland P82

Eventually, Giugiaro’s proposal was chosen by a Leyland Australia committee, but the decision was apparently overruled by David Beech — referred by some as ‘the father of the P76’ — who deemed Giugiaro too expensive and awarded the job to Michelotti (compact scheme pictured above). Wheels reported that Cassarchis did not formally know of his rejection until the 1980s.

The car was designed around Engineers’ parameters, particularly of accommodation, which had been the P76 story. It would have similar interior room to the larger car, but with a significantly smaller exterior. Project Engineer Merve Sheather recalled to Wheels: ‘The P82 would have made maximum use of parts already made in Australia and would have paid for itself out of its sales in this country alone. There were to have been four models including a fastback (range detailed below).

‘The design was commissioned by Leyland shortly before it stopped manufacturing.’ The project did benefit from the company’s investigations into what rival manufacturers were up to. John Mackesy recalled in the same title, ‘… the P82 existed as a Marina shell on a different platform. My recollection is that the rear suspension was similar to Cortina, the front I don’t recall. I do recall that Leyland had an NSU Ro80 to study, and the P82 used the same ‘single-ended’ rack as the Ro80.’

With the Holden Torana bridging four-, six- and eight-cylinder markets, the P82’s attempt to begin with the E-Series 1748cc engine rising to a new 3310cc V6 based on the P76’s V8 did not seem particularly extreme in the Australian context. By 1973, Ford had released its Cortina Six with the 3.3-litre engine from the Falcon. The 2622cc six-cylinder would have bridged the two engines.

Leyland P82

Status report …

Leyland P82
Michelotti styling treatments for short- and long-nose versions of the P82…

While the P82 Status Report only outlined these engine options, there was talk of the P76’s 4·4-litre alloy V8 being put into a range-topping two-door, two-seat ‘commuter coupé’ built on a shortened platform. Wheels reported that the under-bonnet space would be cramped and a new electric cooling fan would have been needed. The ‘Special Coupé’ would have required wider 6½ inch rims.

Other engines mooted were a fuel-injected version of the A-Series (1.3 litres) and the E-Series (1.5 litres).

The range would have seemed quite advanced for the anticipated 1977 launch, with rack and pinion steering, four-speed gearbox and a three-link rear suspension. Safety, too, would have been class-leading, the Engineers dictating that the car could survive a 64km/h crash. Productionisation would have allowed for a car ‘insensitive to build inaccuracies’.

Refining the Leyland P82 range

Leyland P82
Long-nose saloon shoot-out: Australian stylist, Mark Cassarchis’ scheme on the left, and Michelotti’s rival design on the right…

The range would have begun with a two-door ‘compact’ with a short wheelbase and a short nose, rivalling the Ford Escort and Toyota Corolla. While this hatchback, in the mould of the later BMW 3 Series Compact, would never have been a true Honda Civic rival, being 400mm longer and over 200kg heavier, it had greater headroom and was utilitarian — one of the tenets of the original rear-wheel-drive programme. Australian model choices were more limited in the 1970s and the compact hatchback would not have been unwelcome, particularly as Chrysler, Ford and Holden had no direct equivalent in 1977 (Chrysler did have the Chrysler Valiant Lancer Celeste, née Mitsubishi).

Leyland had planned for a sporty model of the compact, joining a stripped-down model and an intermediate ‘good quality throughout’ hatchback. There would been two four-door sedans on the long wheelbase platform, with a ‘basic nose’ and a ‘super nose’ with quad headlamps. The coupé would have had the latter, and a two-door van the former.

The sedan would have been 4343mm in length, the same length as the Renault 12, and 47mm shorter than the Holden Torana Six. In 1977, the closest car size-wise was the Fiat 132 (wheelbase 2553mm, compared with P82’s 2540mm; height 1384mm versus 1383). Width-wise, P82 would have been among the leaders: 1670mm compared with the Fiat’s 1645 and the Cortina’s 1702mm. Trim levels would have been the equivalent of the P76’s Deluxe, Super and Executive.

Leyland P82

To be built in large numbers

Leyland P82
Study for the Coupe model. (Pictures: Darren Lamb)

The coupé (above) was influenced by the Fiat 124 Coupé: both were 1670 mm wide and 1340 mm high. The P82 would have been shorter: 4086 mm compared with 4172mm. The shorter wheelbase measured 2410mm (the Fiat was at 2419mm). Wheels puts the P82 as considerably heavier, at 1077kg over the Fiat’s 996kg.

The P82 Status Report estimated that an annual volume of 25,000 would be needed for the project to be profitable, which necessitated the ‘modular’ approach to additional models.

Looking at the models in nowadays, Michelotti’s are probably the most pleasing. They are well proportioned and have an air of the Triumph Dolomite reskin once planned for 1980. The compact resembles the 1980 Opel Kadett and Vauxhall Astra, while the sedan has some hints of the Fiat 132. Cassarchis’ offerings included a very svelte coupé, but the other variants translated slightly more poorly. The sedan has shades of the Holden Torana and Opel Ascona, while the hatchback appears somewhat like a Chrysler Sunbeam on steroids.

The programme continued apace, though it met some resistance at British Leyland, which could not understand why Australia could not accept the British models.

A sad end to a promising concept

Leyland P82
Mark Cassarchis’ compact alternative – derivative with shades of all manner of Euro-hatchbacks, but pleasing nonetheless…

Leyland P82

When Leyland Australia collapsed and local manufacturing ceased, the quarter-scale models were built, and a prototype running a new V6 engine had been built. It was October 1974 and the project had been canned. According to Merve Sheather, Barry Anderson had this to say about the fate of the P82 in Wheels: ‘When the Plant closed in October 1974, the V6 engine was put into the boot of the P82 prototype, and both were flown to England. I delivered the V6 to Rover – they thought it might be suitable for the Land Rover – and the P82 was taken to Longbridge. I did have one demonstration drive with Charles Griffin and some others but, in the chaos of time, it made no impact.’

Like so many cars during those dark days, the P82 remains a ‘what could have been’. It probably would have sold reasonably well, giving Leyland Australia a strong, domestically developed range in 1977. The Mini would probably have led the range, followed by P82, and a refreshed, revised P76. The coupé would have been without peers, fighting outgoing versions of the Torana Hatch. Buyers of mid-sized P82s could have graduated to P76s in time; or indeed, the reverse could have happened, with the Fuel Crisis turning people away from the larger models.

It may have made life easier for the Holden Commodore that débuted in 1978, making the larger Ford Falcon of 1979 seem out of place. While this is all a moot discussion, developments back in the UK may have seen the end of P82 and P76 anyway. Cost-cutting in the UK could have seen to Leyland Australia’s demise in any case.

Leyland P82
Michelotti’s quarter-scale model P82 De Luxe saloon (short nose). Picture: ‘P82 Status report’, by Barry Anderson and Reg Fulford, Sep 1974, and supplied by Merve Sheather

Leyland P82

As it happened, the Triumph Dolomite appeared in Australian showrooms in 1975, in a sector where premium P82s would have resided. British management, who felt Australia should not have its own models, got its way in the lean days. By the early 1980s, Jaguar and Land Rover aside, British Leyland was present in Australia with the Rover SD1 and the Honda-based Rover Quintet.

The model line-up was to comprise:

Leyland P82

Two-door compact – SWB
Four-door sedan – basic nose treatment – LWB
Four-door sedan – super nose treatment – LWB
Two-door coupe – super nose treatment – SWB
Two-door Van – basic nose treatment – LWB

The engine line up was to be:

1748cc 4-cylinder E-Series
2622cc 6-cylinder E-Series
3300cc V6-based on P76, V8

(Although he does not mention the slant 2.2-litre four, half a V8 block that was produced and hot-run by Kjel Erikson.)

Leyland P82
Cassarchis’ coupe mock-up. Picture: ‘P82 Status report’, by Barry Anderson and Reg Fulford, Sep 1974, and supplied by Merve Sheather.

Jack Yan, LL B, BCA (Hons.), MCA,, CEO, Jack Yan & Associates,, and Lucire LLC,
His sites: Beyond-branding, his book, Typography and Branding,

Uncredited pictures taken from Wheels magazine, March 1983.

Leyland P82 and other plans

Back in 1973/74 Leyland Australia were on the cusp of some exciting new developments. Wheels magazine managed to get wind of them (from an insider?) and printed its summary of upcoming events.

Leyland P82
Model A coupé is being developed in two forms: Inset: the cabin of the version in which the roll bar is integrated with the styling of the B-pillar and roof. Main picture: the alternative Model A coupé design had the roll bar integrated with the C-pillar and features an unusual wrap-over side window. [The above design appears to have inspired the Designers of the 1976 Ford Mustang-based Phaeton Wild Deuces sports coupé]
Article reproduced from Wheels, November 1973

INFORMATION on Leyland’s Model A is marked Top Secret. Its very existence is barely acknowledged and it is mentioned only in quiet whispers as the great hope for the compact six market. But Wheels has penetrated the security barriers surrounding Model A to bring you a comprehensive and accurate report on this totally new model, which is due for release in 1975.

Model A began as a twin project with P76 back in 1968. When Leyland Australia discovered the parent company planned to build a conventional car of the approximate size and specification it wanted, this car – the Marina – was substituted as a relatively short-term model to enable work to progress on the bigger, and at that time, more important P76. But work never really stopped on the Australian Model A. And now that advanced engineering on the P76 has concluded the design team is working on Model A.

In size and concept Model A is closely related to the Cortina TC. And it will come with a wide range of engines to make it fully competitive with both the Cortina and the all-new LH Torana. Already the styling mock-ups have been approved and engineering prototype testing is about to begin. Projected size of Model A – and these figures come from sources within the heart of Leyland – is for an overall length of 13ft 10in. with a wheelbase of 100in.

Front track is going to be 54.5in. and rear track 56.5in. Overall height is only 49in. on the Coupé – it will probably be about 52in. on the four-door sedans – and ground clearance has been set at 7in. Shoulder room is 52in. with a minimum of 35in. headroom. We weren’t able to obtain a figure for width but, taking shoulder room and the tracks into account, it should be around 68in.

The overall weight target on Model A has been set at 2,700lb. These are the dimensions which have been approved by British Leyland for Australia’s Model A but, if the current trend to slightly bigger compact sixes continues, Leyland has conceived the car so that the wheelbase can be extended as far as 106in. if necessary. In this regard the actual wheelbase, length and width of the LH Torana are vitally important because it is this car, which is going to set the size pattern for the entire compact six market.

If the new Torana has a wheelbase of more than 102in. it seems likely Leyland will lengthen Model A to maintain a competitive size. As a comparative guide the present Torana Six has a 100in. wheelbase and the Cortina 101.5in, while the current Marina – a slightly smaller car overall – has a wheelbase of 96in. Base engine on the Model A project is the 1750 OHC four from the present Marina, then comes a 3.0-litre V6 and, if necessary – in other words, if the 253 V8 version of the new LH Torana really goes on the marketplace – the 4.4-litre alloy V8 from P76 will be slotted in.

The new V6 is simply the alloy V8 with two cylinders lopped off and the stroke shortened slightly to give the 3.0-litre capacity. The idea for the V6 comes from GM, who did an identical engine fiddle in late 1961 when it introduced a V6 for its intermediate-sized Buick Special. The Buick V6 was literally a cast iron version of the Buick alloy V8 with two less cylinders. And remember, it’s this Buick V8 which formed the basis for the Leyland V8.

In fact, Leyland Australia has been using the Buick V6 for its development testing for Model A. The company bought an old Buick Special V6 and now has three additional engines undergoing proving in prototypes of Model A. If you keep an eagle eye open around Leyland’s manufacturing plant at Zetland, NSW, you will occasionally see the old Buick running around the factory perimeter on a small test track.

The big difference between Leyland’s V6 and the old Buick V6 engine, which was dropped in 1967 (but was also used for a time in American Jeeps), is that the local unit will use an alloy block so the V8 and V6 engines can be built on the same manufacturing line, using the same piston bore. A different crankshaft has to be fitted, of course, so there is no problem in shortening the stroke. Rumours suggesting the new V6 engine will appear in the P76 and in the current Marina have been discounted. The Marina is due to get the present Leyland straight six in late November this year and will use this engine – together with the 1750 four – until the end of its model cycle.

P76, in a heavily face-lifted form, will ultimately get the V6 but not before 1975. It will make do with the straight six and alloy V8 until then. It’s not only the V6 engine that will be new on Model A. Leyland is developing a highly modified version of the P76’s suspension for the new car. No more torsion bars and leaf springs, as on Marina, but MacPherson struts up front and a four-link coil system at the rear. Rack and pinion steering will be retained. Braking is expected to be a disc/drum combination. But it is the styling and body layout which is revolutionary.

Leyland plans to introduce a four-door sedan with a fifth, hatchback door at the rear, rather like the Renault 16. This will be a first among local sedans although the P76 Coupé, which is going to have a similar third door design, will precede it on a Coupé. It’s the Coupé which is really going to set the styling pace.

The concept of the Coupé, which has been approved by British Leyland, features a two-door body with a third rear door which lifts out two inches and then up, taking the rear window, part of the B-pillar and the rear side window with it, to reveal a large boot and the rear seat. An integral roll-bar is incorporated in the roofline. The roll bar, as our illustrations show, is used in the styling and begins as a sweeping line at the front of the car and runs to the B-pillar where it rises up over the roof.

Forward of the cabin the general styling treatment is a development of the P76 theme with a wide bonnet sweeping away from four headlights and a small grille. But instead of being virtually flat, as on P76, the Model A bonnet has a lower centre section with a raised area on either side for the headlights. Windscreen wipers are hidden from view under the rear of the bonnet as on P76.

Leyland Australia styling chief, Mark Cassarchis, is pushing for a development of this coupé theme – and it is even more extreme. This car still features the sweeping roll-bar but instead of running up and over on the B-pillar it is part of the C-pillar. A unique side window is the major difference. On Cassarchis’ design the rear window runs from below the waist line of the door and sweeps up and over into the roof.

As a styling feature the rear side window is quite separate to the other sections of the upper cabin. The hatchback rear door theme is continued, although it is more conventional and restricted to the tail without taking the C-pillar as part of the door. Inside, the dashboard is a modern-day version of the Holden FJ’s, with a large circular speedometer in front of the driver and small dials set around the speedo and recessed into heavy padding.

Leyland is experimenting with a fibre-optics system which works rather like a mini-TV screen in projecting the information from the actual instruments onto the instrument lenses in front. Model A does create one problem for Leyland. It leaves the bottom end of the market to the Japanese cars. Model A is definitely a larger car and out of the small car bracket. So Leyland is considering assembling the new Allegro – which replaces the old 1100/1300 range in England – in Australia.

The Allegro is one size smaller than Model A and slots neatly between the Mini and Model A. But it is a front-wheel-drive design and uses a sophisticated suspension set-up, and we can only wonder at the wisdom of Leyland Australia becoming involved in a technically complicated car again.

The long-term answer would appear to be the totally new Mini which is in the British Leyland pipeline. This new car, which isn’t expected to he seen on the roads until at least 1975, will follow the current international trend to the three-door concept as on Honda Civic, Renault 6 and the Fiat 127. It will be about 11ft long with more room, new engines and even greater versatility.

This would give Leyland a three-model line by the end of 1975; the larger Mini replacement, Model A and P76 with variations on each and employing a wide variety of common components which is the secret to a profitable operation in Australia.

Article supplied by Michael Hickey

Jack Yan


  1. Hi – I actually have and are starting to restore a 1/5 scale clay model of the one of the Leyland Australia P82 variants that you seem to not have any information on. The model was initially rescued from a dumpmaster by a young apprentice in the cleanup of Leyland Australia in 1975 and then sat under his mothers house for 35 years before I purchased it from him. The model I have is clearly from the studio of Mark Cassarchis and it clearly displays its links to the other models from his studio as shown on your website. The model is a short front / short rear – 4 door sedan. The model is based on a form cut center wooden spine that has “sedan” written on the internals of it. From the center – wooden ribs move out to create the basic structure and shape of the car and then the finer details are filled and molded with sulfur based clay which was typical of 1975 clay models.
    I am yet to contact Mark Cassarchis in an attempt to gain more information about this apparently unknown model (it is not shown in any books either)

    Below is a link to my Facebook photo album of the model, its structure and its current state. You have my permission to use all photos of the My P82 model if you wish to do so.

    • Some of the pictures that you are showing are simply Micholttis early designs first the P76. I really don’t believe that your information is valid

  2. Interestingly enough – the structure of my model clearly shows a distinct and clear difference to any of the rear or frontal treatments shown on any other model from the Cassarchis studio. The scalloped front panels give more of an aggressive feel to the front yet the short cropped rear is more in the vain of the Marina type approach. The presence of this model in 1975 suggests that the Cassarchis studio may not have given up on the P82 project and may have been restyling it. The apprentice that finally rescued it from total destruction – had been actively working on it before the plant closure and was quite miffed that it was simply thrown out at the end – hence he “stole” it from the bin and took it home (with a box of clay , the oven Leyland used and his clay working tools). The same apprentice also took the hand drawn constructions diagrams of the Force 7 coupe doors which he sold to someone else (no idea who).

  3. Rick,

    Amazing. Brilliant. Wonderful. Thank you…

    I’ve sent you a friend request, and will gladly use your images. Would you be up to running your model restoration on this website as a blog? I think the readers would love this.


    • Dear Keith,

      It has been some while since our last contact.Having since retired from the NSW Paliament,having held the positions of Committee Manager (both Select & Joint) & Serjeant-at-Arms.
      I left Leyland Motor late February 1976. Recently I have been going through my now very few old Leyland files,when I held positions and also as Senior Buyer- Body Section; where I was responsible for the purchasing of all paint,tyres,interior trim, seat belts,body sealants, and other Aust.Design Rule components,e.g.all Safety equipment etc. I found a note from Kjel Ericksen, Senior Engineering, to myself & Peter Fairburn, Senior Tech.- Paint Lab.,in brief, the first production run P76 Force 7V, to be in paint colour ‘Rave Red’ with White interior trim. This car was displayed briefly to a select group of senior people,near to the main administration block, which was then locate adjacent to the South Dowling St.,Main Admin.Block entrance.

      Amazing is the only word, for these scant memos surviving all this time.
      Additionally, ‘The Group’sent from Leyland UK,to rationalize and dispose,of the Zetland/ Waterloo site were Messrs. Abel,Andrews,Ransom,Showen, maybe better acknowledged as ‘A ARS’. They negotiated with the then Whitlam Federal Labor Government,and reached agreement for a package for the workers (Zetland/Waterloo approx. 4,509 in Nov. 1974),in addition to buy the Zetland/Waterloo site for $10 million,later to be handed over to the Australian Defence Force.

      I was later advised that the P.76,& Marina were both produced in South Africa from Aust. components. The Mini,Land Rover,etc production continued at Cosgrove Road, Enfield,into the 80’s.,a smaller facility that had previously produced CKD Triumph 2500, and other small run production of well known French branded vehicles.

      • I don’t believe the P76 was ever produced in SA in the end. CKD assembly continued in NZ into 1975 so the last units were made there, not Australia.

        SA did get the Australian tooling for the Marina E series four cylinder engine and made those for locally made Marinas. Their later Series 2 Marina was an odd combination of UK CKD parts and locally made engines – local content was measured by weight which is why so many engines were made there (most KD markets imported the powertrain).

  4. Australian Alfa Romeo!

    That said, such a pity that these handsome designs were not built b BL, if not in Britain, in Landaben, Lambrate or Seneffe. Probably would be much more easy to sold that Marina asnd Allegro were back then.

  5. Does anyone know where I can find out more about the Kjel Erikson produced 2.2 Slant-Four that was developed from the Rover V8?

  6. In regards to the slant 4 . someone told me or was it in one of David Hardcastle’s books that the slant 4 was sent to England and was “running around in a Land rover over there somewhere” as they were interested in it as a replacement for the 4cl petrol LR motor in the 88 series.
    Regards Nick

    • Whilst I can’t confirm the slant four was fitted in a Land Rover, as a Solihull apprentice from 1990-94, I do know there were a couple of slant four engines on pallets in the block 9 prototype engine build workshop. They had been dug out of storage, along with some other old prototype engines including Iceberg. It was said at the time that the V8 designers & development engineers were having a look at them with regards their work on the V8 for P38 and Tempest. I was fascinated by the slant four due to how crude it was, with one ‘half’ of the donor V8 lopped off and a big slab of aluminum welded in place! Would be interesting to know if these were engines from Australia or something else entirely? I was told at the time they were eventually destined for the Heritage museum at Gaydon, so maybe they still exist?

  7. Dear Keith, Further Reflections;

    I have located a fragmented memo,of very limited circulation, advising that Graham Pierce,Production Planning Section, will be arranging for the gathering and shipment, of all remaining components for P76 & Marina.
    P76 & Marina production was intended to continued in South Africa. I remember Graham Peirce, Production Planning, gathering up all components for Marina & P76.These were put into metal stillages, for easy shipment to SA.

    Reflections on a P76 slant 3.3 litre 6 cyl.
    There was an experimental slant 6 alloy block cast, for Kjel Ericksen, Senior Engine Engineer,(as Kjel has passed),only Duncan Todd, Engine Engineer, & maybe Chris Rodgers, Body Engineer,as both would have been closely involved.

    These were halcyon days. The dying days the then The Rt. Hon. E. Gough Whitlam,MHR,then the Prime Minister (passed away last week) Labor Government,and the Petroleum Crisis which forced both GM & Ford Australia to radically rethink their large cars.
    Funny when we think that the Mini was born as a result of the then fuel crisis, that gave in 1958 BMC, a massive relaunch, by a very forward thinking Alec.

    A South African car magazine had mention of the P76 test, this was a 6 cyl. fitted with a 2 inch, SU. This was verified years ago by a former SA work colleague.
    Continue your great work.


  8. Dear Keith,

    Just a short addition to my previous, the P76 V8 engine machining transfer line was supplied ex-U.S.A. by Cincinati Miling Machine Co.

    Absolutely magnificent to watch,in operation machining raw to finished engine block. Cost although not openly quoted in 1972, was said to have been C. $1M U.S.A.

    Maybe this transfer line, ended up in Rover/Land Rover U.K.?.


    Dear Keith,

    Can I please draw your attention to the current 2014″Australian Muscele Car” magazine issue 76., (no pun) Sydney Metro. (02)9901 6111 – Article 1974 Leyland Force 7V, at Pages 74 to 84.
    This car is in colour ‘Bold as Brass’with Chestnut trim interior.
    Mention is made here of the then original in-house stylist, Romand Rodbergh and Giovanni Michelotti.Later Markus Cassarchis (ex Ford Australia).

    Very much worth a read !

  10. The Michelotti styling looks rather similar to the recently found styling for the Triumph SD2 he proposed (the Alfa looking one)

    It’s not really the first time that something Britain didn’t want ended up in Australia,see the P76 which was rather inspired from the Rover P8

    • Forgive me John but why do people persist in the claim that there was shared design between P8, SD1 and the P76. I can say qualifiably having been on all three programs that there was zero interaction or sharing. Design philosophies were also very diverse.

      • I think Robert, this is like many comments made here…..they’re often based on conjecture, miss-information, lack of knowledge of the industry, rose-tinted glasses, and press nonsense. A good example is the notion that SD1 was a resounding success – it wasn’t! The product was poorly engineered, badly built, had no place in the market, sold poorly, and was a financial disaster! Another example is that unions destroyed the company…..nonsense……they played a part to be sure, but the biggest issue was hopeless senior management – poor decisions, ego, not-invented-here syndrome, lack of technical knowledge, and petty politics ruled the place. Solihull couldn’t care less about Ford, so long as they could shove it up Canley……Longbridge was only happy when they could shaft Cowley, and so forth. There was never a cohesive overall plan that was pushed through……Canley, Solihull, and Browns Lane all survived when they should have been closed in the late 70’s. That was intended at one point, but Edwards caved in to Mr Callaghan and his party. That was the final chance for the company.

        In truth, there aren’t many of us left that saw the company in those days.

        • Hi Kev,

          I wrote a piece about why I thought the Rover SD1 helped kill BL, which I hope overturns a lot of the nonsense spoken about the car. Actually, it was inspired by many of your comments over the years. Let me know if my view is anywhere near the reality.

          We really, really need to catch-up and capture all of your knowledge about the company from your position of expertise. Can we do that sometime please?


  11. A good looking car that could have become a Marina replacement in both Australia and Europe, but the arrogant BL management of the time were annoyed that Down Under could develop better looking cars than Britain and had the P82 canned. Also the closure of the Australian Leyland factory meant no new models from Australia after 1974.
    Again a lost opportunity for Leyland as the P82 was ideal for the fuel crisis and 1974-75 recession, when Aussies were flocking to Japanese imports over V8s and big sixes, and Ford and Holden had been caught out.

    • Ideally, all post-Marina BL RWD cars (P78/SD1, TR7/8/Lynx, P82/SD2/ADO77) would have been spun off a single platform or RWD component set: common floorpans, suspensions, engines, gearboxes, brakes, steering and so on…

  12. Part of the bizarre entity of British Leyland that despite the limited money, they invested in these cars in Australia along with the Nomad, and in other markets we have the Apache and Innocenti Mini while back in the domestic and European market they proceeded with the Maxi, Marina, Allegro, Princess, TR7,SD1, SD2, TM etc etc failing in the process to replace the successful Mini and ADO16 and so losing BMC European sales network whilst at the same time missing the UK Fleet market and with it half the domestic market. Noting that their products suffered from underdevelopment compared with their rivals.

    It seems simply trying to do too many things with too little.

    • Don’t forget the Austin Kimberley, a good looking Southern Hemisphere update of the ADO16, while in Britain, the 1962 ADO 16 remained mostly unchanged during its 12 year life. Surely British Leyland in the UK could have introduced this update over here and possibly avoided introducing the Allegro by constantly updating the ADO 16. Remember this was Britain’s best selling car for eight years and the basics of brilliant handling, a good ride, a model to suit every pocket and decent powertrains were so good. All it needed was a proper update every 5 years.

      • The Kimberley (and Tasman) were based on the 1800. You might be thinking of the Nomad? Appearances are subjective but good-looking might be a generous description, I guess you could say they had more contemporary styling for the early 1970s.

      • My view is that the ADO16 Apache update could and should have been worked with E Series as it was done with the ADO16 Nomad / 1500 update in Auz, imagine Pininfarina doing something like a baby 504 by top tailing the ADO16 and lifting up a price point in the market inline with Mk2 Cortina.

        Would have made more sense to do than launch the Maxi and given time to reskin the Maxi into a more compact better looking car. Imagine a 102″ wheelbase version of a Peugeot 104 like styling (just like the Peug 205 sized up to the 306), would have put the cat among the pigeons in the European family car market in 1971.

        The 1800 update into Kimberley would have made sense as a basis for the move to the E6 powered 2200 again helping lift the cars price point and profile in the market.

  13. So interested to read about P82. Thank you everyone. I watched as the rear floor of the prototype was being fabricated in the experimental shop during mid 74. Noteworthy was the intended large diameter of the rear coil springs. The development capabilities at Zetland had been well honed on P76 and to this day I would say they did some things much better than we do now. The dept was ripe for doing a good job on P82. Shame there was zero credible styling ability. Still no realisation that P76 and the S2 were a mess. Just look at how good Torana was by comparison.

  14. What a ridiculous state of affairs back in the early 70s to have separate parts of the empire developing THREE completely separate mid range RWD cars at the same time – ADO77, SD2, P82 – yet end up with all of them coming to nothing

    • I guess you’re correct in your observation. They just did not have a consciousness of the importance of platform engineering. Although Americans did. It has to do with territorialism and influence of course. It also has something to do with it costing much less then (non-recurring investment) to design and tool a car. And production systems and automation were relatively under-developed and were not at the core of shared platform profitability as they are now.

  15. A couple of points…The P76 V8 engine was/is visually similar to the Rover V8 but it’s a very different engine. The front timing case is about the only exchangable part. The heads use pressed steel rockers like Holdens and are only ten bolts, The manifold is patterned on an edelbrock Buick 215 two barrel manifold while the carb is the same as fitted to 4.2L Holden V8 and some Holden sixes which also share the lifters The block is visibly taller while the crank is not interchangable with the Rover block because the mains are bigger and the flywheel is shared with the E series engines so has a different bolt pattern to the Rover engines. Also there were two sets of blocks cast. One set in Bimingham and the second set in Adelaide. The Latter set were used to assemble Engines for the Terrier truck, as crate engines for replacement purposes and for marine use. The water pump is also completely different with the pickup pipe pointing to the right instead of the left – though I recall you can fit the Rover pump. There are actually minor differences in the timing case too; the longer oil pump gears seen on Sd1and the rubber type front seal mounts from the outside.

    With both P76 and P82 commonality was much bigger than just across the leyland range. They used the same gearboxes and differentials as Ford and Crysler, significantly reducing costs P82 also had mcpherson strut front suspension borrowed from other locally produced cars and was/is far far simpler than the arrangement on Marina. Oddley the 2.6L engine was only produced here in single carb form. In SA they used the twin carb manifold and split exhaust of the Kimberley although the power figures always seem to be the same? Does anyone know why they never put it in the Land Rover over here? (Aus)

    I was born in 1961 so saw the whole leyland saga. Everyone seems to concentrate on the engineering and design areas but the real problems were upper management, specifically the treasury. I can’t think of a single design development that was ever actually funded properly. The program would ask for what they new would be the costs and treasury would not fully fund it, then they’d cancel it when it went over budget….P76 is a prime example of only providing two thirds of the requested funding causing all manner of cut backs and cost cutting that affected the product on launch and did enormous damage to the profitability of the car in the marketplace. P82 is the other big example. It was shaping up to be a cheap to make, simple car that could be sold all over the world in competition with the Japanese makes all it needed was proper funding. That’s not the job of the design team or the Engineers its the task of the executive to go and find the funds. One just have to look at Land Rover to see what happens when the executive does their job. Running off to the Govt doesn’t work.

    Right at the top there is a comment that P76/ P8 and SD1 were all designed seperately. Which is probably quite true from the insiders perspective and the programs were indeed seperate. However the part suppliers, and all the ancilliary work such as the panel pressing design were all carried out by largely the same teams and as the author above states shared personnel. For example if the press guys have just been working on P8 and along comes P76 they won’t throw away their P8 work and start afresh. There will be all sorts of lessons learned in the P8 program which will be utilised in the new design and on something expensive like a platform its going to turn out very similar. Likewise there will be all sorts of components where you really don’t get a choice, your going to use the same piece. Door locks are a good example here. My point is while the cars may be intellectually different, they have sufficent commonality to be linked as a family and such linkage doesn’t detract from each cars individuality its a natural product of the engineering profession.

  16. With the benefit of hindsight the P82 should have been given priority over the P76 when it was known as Model A back in 1968 and would have opened up the possibility of it being built in the UK from the early-1970s, however it was believed the P76 then known as Model B would quickly generate more profit resulting in the Marina being foisted upon the Australians as a de-facto Model A alternative.

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