Bold as Brass
Our Leyland Force 7V feature car is a truly unique machine – the only survivor registered for the road by Leyland Australia. It was a hand-built prototype used for the purposes of final testing. It was also driven by senior company executives.
The stunning yellow – Leyland’s ‘Bold As Brass’ hue to be precise – machine has been owned by Sydneysider David Nelson since 1990. Unsurprisingly, he upgraded from a P76 sedan.
Dave is just the car’s second private owner. He bought it 24 years ago from the successful 1975 auction bidder, Warren Wright of Consolidated Wires, the company that supplied handbrake cables for Leyland Australia.
The auction cars were delivered to their new owners with an assortment of panels and other spare parts. Thankfully, neither owner has needed to tap into the stock of spares, so the car remains in original condition. In fact, it’s really a time warp, as the only non-original items on the car today are its tyres and numberplates.
Dave has the original, and now rock-hard, Uniroyals at home. AMC was blown away by the original documentation in the cavernous glove box. This included the car’s engineering department logbook, the owner’s manual, company car pass to the Zetland facility (in its original plastic case) and instructions to Leyland employees of what to do in the event of an accident or breakdown.
“It also came with a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ letter, stemming from its days as product development car,” Dave explains. “It didn’t have any badging on it when it was being tested, so if pulled over the driver was under instructions from Leyland Australia not to answer any questions.” Presumably this was from authorities... and motoring journalists.
Dave also has sveral items of memorabilia from the auction day, as displayed on this page.
Incredibly, all 10 Force 7s that escaped the crusher live on today – eight in Australia, one in New Zealand and another in Greece! Force 7 enthusiasts can’t recall more than four being in the one spot together since the 1975 auction.
“It’s also the only Force 7 fitted with dual exhausts,” Dave continues. “It has factory airconditioning, power-steering, a radio and an electric aerial.”
At which point he hits a switch that sends the aerial skyward with a noise not unlike a jet airliner’s landing gear retracting!
Our photo shoot, undertaken in Leyland Grove, Zetland, was the first time since the 1975 auction the car had returned to where it was built. The distinctive styling of the very 1970s-looking Force 7 made for a nice contrast with the newlyconstructed high-density housing on the site of the old factory today.
Wonder how many residents are aware that their neighbourhood once hosted an important chapter of Australia’s car making past?