Bold as Brass

Australian Muscle Car - - Stillborn Muscle -

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?

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