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David Hardy – Leyland Australia Designer | SHANNONS DESIGN TO DRIVEWAY | Ep 5

By Shannons - Published on 13 November 2022

“Revealed: The sabotaged Italian job on the Leyland P76!”
After 40 years, everyone seems to have a story about the Leyland P76! 

David Hardy is one of the few remaining men who were at the birth of the Leyland P76 and regrettably at the end also. We think after watching this episode, you will look differently at the Leyland P76! 
The P76 and its sports coupe-hatchback Force 7, promised to redefine what Australian new car buyers could expect in a new family car and performance motoring. However, since the 1973 Wheels Car of the Year winner was launched, it has effectively been shrouded in mystery, the butt of many jokes and remains largely misunderstood and an unknown story. Until now.

Sworn to secrecy at the time, with a promise never to share, David Hardy reveals how his boss believed the initial Australian design concept for the P76 were sabotaged by the Italian design studio responsible for tweaking the final designs of the P76.

The Italians had their own version of how Australian cars should look and a cash strapped BMC in the UK needed sales quicker than Leyland Australia could build them. The all new P76 Australian sedan was approved based on only quarter scale models not full sized clays! Leyland Australia had the Ford Falcon, Holden Kingswood and Chrysler Valiant in their sights.
Initially, demand for the P76 far exceeded supply. Leyland then rushed the assembly process as the first of the P76s to come off the assembly line,  which suffered from poor build quality and ongoing product reliability issues, which resulted in the Leyland P76 being labelled a lemon.

Fast forward and Leyland terminated the P76 and Force 7 programs. Then, not long after, Leyland left Australian soil. 
David wanted to explain what happened with this much misunderstood Australian made car and set the record straight.
Did the car kill the Company or did the Company kill the Car?
Watch and make up your own mind. 

“Shannons are proud to commission this landmark series to celebrate the rich design heritage of the cars we all know and love. While Shannons plays a key role as Australia’s leading insurer for motoring enthusiasts, we also believe it is very important to preserve our automotive history for future generations” said Mark Behr, Executive Manager, Marketing for Shannons.