Never made the show­room

Australian Muscle Car - - Stillborn Muscle -

Sadly for Ley­land Aus­tralia it was not to be, how­ever. The car that gen­er­ated un­heard-of lev­els of pub­lic­ity for the company never saw the

inside of a show­room. Dis­ap­point­ing no doubt for the en­thu­si­as­tic mem­bers of the Ad­vanced Model Group team that had de­voted years of their pro­fes­sional lives bring­ing the P76 pro­gram to mar­ket.

The Force 7V was an idio­syn­cratic car in many ways, par­tic­u­larly its styling which was a mix­ture of the spec­tac­u­lar and overtly ag­gres­sive that did not gel in the way that per­haps it could and should have, given the stylist’s ex­pe­ri­ence and rep­u­ta­tion. Its nose cone was dis­tinc­tive and pro­jected a sense of power and pur­pose, but it ex­tended to the edge of the bumper(!) and so was not pro­tected.

The rear, by con­trast, was se­verely plain and had a ‘jacked up’ look about it.

The over­hang of the very wide body over the wheels gave the Force 7 an am­a­teur­ish ap­pear­ance even though it ran on 6” wheel rims. Viewed from be­hind, it looks grossly un­der-tyred. Wider wheels or, bet­ter, wider tracks front and rear to fill the wheel arches, would have made a huge dif­fer­ence to the coupe’s ap­pear­ance and no doubt road hold­ing.

The Ley­land P76 and its sib­ling Force 7 did pi­o­neer in Aus­tralia a cou­ple of in­ter­est­ing de­sign fea­tures that would later ap­pear on most other makes – the lo­cat­ing of the wipers and heater fan in the val­ley at the base of the wind­screen; and the rear hatch with fold-down rear seat ver­sa­til­ity.

And what about the coupe’s name? Mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor John Kay claims au­thor­ship of that. He was driv­ing back to the fac­tory in a pro­to­type dur­ing one of Syd­ney’s vi­o­lent sum­mer storms with winds that reached force 7 on the Beau­fort scale of wind speed mea­sure­ment. It seemed like an ideal name for a coupe that was go­ing to take Aus­tralia by storm and Kay suc­cess­fully sold the con­cept to Ley­land man­age­ment.

That storm dis­si­pated when the Force 7 was be­ing read­ied for the press and dealer re­lease. The whole Bri­tish Ley­land thing im­ploded and the plant was forced to close.

Some 58 Force 7V (V for V8 model) had been built – some com­plete, many not – and eight of the 10 that es­caped the crusher were later sold through pub­lic auc­tion (see break­out).

Above: The 4.4-litre OHV V8 en­gine pro­duced 144kW. It was also the start­ing point for a com­pe­ti­tion ver­sion that should have seen Ley­land line-up on the grid at Bathurst against the V8 Fal­cons and To­ranas.

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