136 – If local government was a car, what sort of car would it be? Part 2 – the Leyland P76.

Posted by Whistler                                                                                          480 words

leyland p76

Some time ago I started thinking that if a council was a car, what it would be. This is the second post in a series of five. The first review was for the Hyundai Excel Sprint council.

The second is the legendary Leyland P76. The Targa Florio, no less. They promised so much and delivered so little. Launched with much fanfare and designed for ‘Australian conditions’, the P76 didn’t live up to expectations. It could fit a 44 gallon drum in the boot and under the bonnet it sported a V8 engine.

“ … the car simply wasn’t right from the moment it was launched. Even in those gentler times when a few hours at the side of the road with a recalcitrant car was hardly the rarity it is now, the P76 was seen as unresolved in quality terms.

The big complaints included loose-fitting doors that let in air – and, of course, dust – rear windows that fell out over bumps, and even an exhaust system design that routed the piping so close to the floor that the optional carpets began smouldering.

And then there was the styling. Even by the standards of the time, the P76 is an awkward-looking product. Which begs the question: what was right with the P76?

For a start, it nailed its family-car brief by being huge inside. There was plenty of headroom even in the back seat, and the wide proportions made for lots of elbow and shoulder room. With the standard bench-style front seat, the P76 was truly a six-seater.

The car drove well, with good brakes and positive steering. In fact, the driving experience was roundly praised by contemporary road testers who compared it favourably to the establishment cars. Fuel economy was better than that of the established players, and the general view was that once Leyland got the build-quality issues sorted out, the P76s would fly out the door.” David Morley, June 2015, www.drive.com.au

Review: The Leyland P76 Council

A feature of this council is the ability to do something that no one wants it to do (who could lift the drum anyway?) The driving force is dedicated, conscientious and hard working staff. Their passion for their work without senior management and council support is commendable. They so want their services to redefine community expectations. Unfortunately the facilities they use are quickly falling to pieces and proving impossible to repair.

The other commodious community facilities are plain and poorly made. Sure everyone can fit in, but why would you want to? The town hall or civic centre (the Leyland P76 council definitely has both) will be designed in that forward looking but quickly dated architectural style so favoured by committees.

Verdict – If you are an early adopter or you are skilled at making ill-founded activities a success, this council is for you. Be prepared to actively engage in service delivery and to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty.

Competitors – Holden Kingswood, Ford Falcon, Valiant Regal.

Value proposition – Ambitious design to accommodate a wide range of uses and deliver powerful performance.