The British Motor Company (BMC) of Australia, formed in 1954 with the merger of Austin Motor Company of Australia and Nuffield Australia, played a significant part in the country’s post-war automobile scene. Apart from pioneering cutting edge manufacturing processes, the company produced many important cars including the iconic Mini. However, when BMC of UK merged with the Leyland Corporation to form the British Leyland
in the late Sixties, the Australian division also got renamed.
It was the time when America’s Big Three had started pulling in Australian motorists by the hordes with cars like the Ford Falcon, the Holden Kingswood, and the Chrysler Valiant. Seeing that the large car market was a highly lucrative one, Leyland Australia wanted a piece of that pie. A case was built for a new model projecting it as the key to the brand’s survival in Australia. The project was approved and a budget of 20 million Australian dollars was earmarked for it.
However, eager to make the most of market demand, Leyland rushed the assembly process, leading to the production car, called P76, plagued by poor build quality and reliability issues. It was so haphazardly put together that air, and water when it rained, seeped into the cabin. Furthermore, strikes and union problems as were common at British Leyland at the time, affected availability of parts. Making things even more difficult for the new model was the fuel crisis that coincided with its launch. This was a shame as the car had many features that were advanced for the time.
With losses mounting, it became impossible for British Leyland to keep the model going, and in 1975, barely three years after it was introduced, the P76 was discontinued.