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The Leyland Eight


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#1 Pullman99

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 11:24

I replied to a post in the "Blood Pressure" thread where I had made a remark about British Leyland absorbing the individual marque names of which it was composed. I mentioned that the Leyland name was eventually restricted to trucks and buses. My previous remark had been intended to be in context with the Michael Edwardes era.

I was with the Standard Triumph bit of BL (at Canley mainly) in the 1970s and we did have a Leyland P76 saloon around at one stage - a sort of modern Leyland (vee) Eight that I drove briefly. BL were fairly seriously looking to import this latter day Leyland Eight from Australia and sell it through the Specialist Car Division (Jaguar, Rover, Triumph) but whether it would have been rebadged other than Leyland I could not say.

Parry Thomas is a great hero and was certainly held in high esteem at the old works in Leyland. In 1974, I arranged for the "real" Leyland Eight - the ex-Henry Spurrier "bitsa" car - to appear at a Lex Garages dealer day at Oulton Park. Drove that one briefly too. Great sound. A bit like an F5000 car of the time!

Someone was reported in the motoring press in the 1980s as building up another Leyland Eight in recent years. Is that now complete?

Any stories and information on the individual chassis produced (18 ??) would be appreciated. I had the Proifile Publication by Hugh Tours but now cannot find it.

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#2 f1steveuk

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 11:51

Hi Ian,

I did my apprenticeship with Caffyns, as Leyland became Austin Morris, then Austin Rover, etc etc. I recall a "family tree" of Austin Rover in the Unipart magazine that came around every month, and it was staggering how many "small" manufacturers were absorbed into Austin Rover/JRT.

Thomas was a genius, without doubt, and the Eight was hughly impressive. Am I correct in thinking this is the engine that had leaf springs for the valves???

I have been wondering how much input Railton had in the design as well, so if I can piggy back that question on to yours!!!

I do remember talking to a chap at Brooklands, while helping with the track clearing for one of the 1980s reunions, and he casually dropped in that he had seen Thomas in the Eight, in it's race guise, and commented that it was "very strange, very very fast, but so quiet, and with the suspension it had, it sort of glided around, at great speed, but with what seemed like so little effort". I had to do a double take, to me, a mere 19/20 year old, he seemed so young to have seen it, then he let slip he was in his nineties!

#3 fuzzi

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 12:19

There was this replica of Leyland Thomas No 1 at the Brooklands Centenary:
http://farm3.static...._0cacfff6d7.jpg

The car contained a high proportion of original Leyland parts

#4 Pullman99

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 12:47

Thomas was a genius, without doubt, and the Eight was hughly impressive. Am I correct in thinking this is the engine that had leaf springs for the valves??? I have been wondering how much input Railton had in the design as well, so if I can piggy back that question on to yours!!!


Greetings! What a busy day for Forum posts.

Yes, the valves are operated by leaf springs. Presumably as an alternative solution to avoid valve bounce. Like Bugatti, Parry Thomas produced a truly elegant chassis and engine. No wonder they called it "The Lion of Olympia" when it made its debut.

I am pretty sure that Reid Railton did have some input into the Leyland Eight and that this has previously been menytioned in various articles although this would have been right at the start of Railton's career. I'll need to get up to speed (!) on the rest of this story. I remember the lat Andrew Whyte showing me some excellent photographs, made from original glass negatives, of two cars that were bodied by Vanden Plas at Kingsbury. And, of course, there's a Leyland Eight front axle on Babs!

I also remember Caffyns. When I was with Unipart in its early days (flitting between Canley and Cowley) I went around most of the Jaguar and Rover Triumph (JRT as it was generally known in factory circles) dealerships. Good days, but it was clear that it wouldn't last.

I have also replied to your comments on the Ferrari 1512 in Bahrain adding a couple of snippets that might help!

Once again, LSR matters (sort of) head to the top of the Forum! :)

Edited by Pullman99, 17 March 2010 - 12:49.


#5 Dutchy

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 12:55

David Heywood is the chap who has built up the copy of the Leyland-Thomas. As far as I'm aware the engine and back axle are the original parts.

It's very sad that not a single original example exists.

#6 BritishV8

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 17:52

I thought by now someone would have mentioned this "Leyland Eight"...
Original press release for the "Leyland Eight GE," circa 1968 (includes 10 photos)

Posted Image

As I recall, this prototype was unveiled at the very same New York auto show where Rover first introduced their 3500 to the U.S. market. By taking this Rover project and branding it a Leyland, the company diluted the positive PR effect they might have achieved for the Rover brand. The Leyland name has a bad reputation here. I think we mostly associate it with Sir Donald Stokes and his dim-witted cronies - the same people who strangled MG - the British brand we loved most.

#7 f1steveuk

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 17:57

I thought by now someone would have mentioned this "Leyland Eight"...
Original press release for the "Leyland Eight GE," circa 1968 (includes 10 photos)

Posted Image

As I recall, this prototype was unveiled at the very same New York auto show where Rover first introduced their 3500 to the U.S. market. By taking this Rover project and branding it a Leyland, the company diluted the positive PR effect they might have achieved for the Rover brand. The Leyland name has a bad reputation here. I think we mostly associate it with Sir Donald Stokes and his dim-witted cronies - the same people who strangled MG - the British brand we loved most.



I remember seeing this in Syon Park (so it's probably at Gaydon now?), I was all of 18/19, and would have quite happily walked out with it!!

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 20:23

Here's a brief overview of the P76:

http://www.uniquecar...leyland_p76.htm

#9 Roger Clark

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 20:46

Greetings! What a busy day for Forum posts.

Yes, the valves are operated by leaf springs. Presumably as an alternative solution to avoid valve bounce. Like Bugatti, Parry Thomas produced a truly elegant chassis and engine. No wonder they called it "The Lion of Olympia" when it made its debut.

I am pretty sure that Reid Railton did have some input into the Leyland Eight and that this has previously been menytioned in various articles although this would have been right at the start of Railton's career. I'll need to get up to speed (!) on the rest of this story. I remember the lat Andrew Whyte showing me some excellent photographs, made from original glass negatives, of two cars that were bodied by Vanden Plas at Kingsbury. And, of course, there's a Leyland Eight front axle on Babs!

I also remember Caffyns. When I was with Unipart in its early days (flitting between Canley and Cowley) I went around most of the Jaguar and Rover Triumph (JRT as it was generally known in factory circles) dealerships. Good days, but it was clear that it wouldn't last.

I have also replied to your comments on the Ferrari 1512 in Bahrain adding a couple of snippets that might help!

Once again, LSR matters (sort of) head to the top of the Forum! :)

Railton was Thomas's assistant at Leyland. Railton said that Thomas taught him how to think and was responsible for "such ability as I have as an engineer".


#10 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 20:46

Aah the Leyland P76 better known as the P38.[only half a car] Leylands answer to the Edsel. Butt ugly, poorly finished and underpowered.It did have some modern points , was quite roomy and was fairly rugged. The alloy Buick V8 was not a bad engine but was a cooking engine with small bores and longish stroke so would never be a big performer, and really chasing big power was wrong as the blocks flexed too much anyway. But Ford, Holden and Chrysler had better engine ranges and for the most part better build quality.
Probably the car that sunk Leyland Australia, though the rest of their range at the time was no better.

#11 Vitesse2

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 20:48

I remember seeing this in Syon Park (so it's probably at Gaydon now?), I was all of 18/19, and would have quite happily walked out with it!!

Yes, it is at Gaydon, Steve. I saw it last time I was there - about 3 years ago. It looked a bit sad, as I recall. I wasn't aware of (or had maybe forgotten) the Leyland rebranding, but as soon as I saw it I realised it's the animal more often (unfortunately) referred to as the Rover BS. We did discuss it some years ago ...

http://forums.autosp...amp;hl=Rover BS


#12 Allan Lupton

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 21:04

Yes, it is at Gaydon, Steve. I saw it last time I was there - about 3 years ago. It looked a bit sad, as I recall. I wasn't aware of (or had maybe forgotten) the Leyland rebranding, but as soon as I saw it I realised it's the animal more often (unfortunately) referred to as the Rover BS. We did discuss it some years ago ...

http://forums.autosp...amp;hl=Rover BS


Actually its name was P6BS, although it didn't have a lot in common with the normal P6 or P6B. (B for "Buick" and S for "Sports" I think)

#13 Tim Murray

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 21:08

I remember seeing this in Syon Park (so it's probably at Gaydon now?), I was all of 18/19, and would have quite happily walked out with it!!

Yes, it is at Gaydon, Steve.


Posted Image

As photographed in January last year.

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 21:52

Originally posted by Lee Nicolle
Probably the car that sunk Leyland Australia, though the rest of their range at the time was no better.


Lee... that is so wrong!

British Leyland, the parent company, was in financial trouble. Selling off the property at Zetland, worth huge money so close to the centre of Sydney, was their decision, egged on by the Australian Government at the time. The Government wanted to reduce the number of manufacturers in Australia for some reason I've forgotten.

Anyway, the P76 wasn't any part of the cause of the closure.

Aah the Leyland P76 better known as the P38.[only half a car] Leylands answer to the Edsel. Butt ugly, poorly finished and underpowered. It did have some modern points, was quite roomy and was fairly rugged. The alloy Buick V8 was not a bad engine but was a cooking engine with small bores and longish stroke so would never be a big performer, and really chasing big power was wrong as the blocks flexed too much anyway. But Ford, Holden and Chrysler had better engine ranges and for the most part better build quality.


It was hardly 'underpowered' in V8 form, partly because of its lightness...

It underweighed all its competitors by a substantial amount, so was more nippy, handled better and braked better than the others. Have you read A Boot Full of Right Arms? If not, and if you promise to return it, I will send you a copy

Sure there were build quality problems. I met a man once who had been working in the factory at the time and was in a team going around checking these things. For instance, he told me there were water leaking problems with rear doors... and what did they find?

The specs for the build required five or seven clamps to hold the stampings together as they were welded, the people doing the job were using just three, the doors were distorting. When they put that right, the foreman took it upon himself to tell the men to ignore the Quality Control guys and go back to three clamps!

His words were, "If the people who assembled the Austin 1800s had done the P76, and the 1800 was a difficult car to assemble, then the P76 would have had no problems at all."

Yes, the engine was stroked to get the 4.4-litre capacity. And it had an inherent restriction in the end exhaust ports being quite small. But it has been shown that more than adequate performance could be had from it in both modified and unmodified forms.

I'm told, though I've never experienced it, that the 2.6 OHC six wasn't a bad performer either. The rest of the car was componentry from Australian suppliers as used in Valiants and Falcons, so no problems there.

Those people who liked cars and got to own a P76 always swore by them... is there a better gauge?

And as for 'butt ugly'... leave that for the Force 7!

#15 VAR1016

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 22:00

Actually its name was P6BS, although it didn't have a lot in common with the normal P6 or P6B. (B for "Buick" and S for "Sports" I think)



I have read that the BS Rover prototype was built not at Solihull, but at the Alvis works at Coventry; there was a suggestion that had the car been launched, then it might have been sold as an Alvis; production of Alvis cars ended in 1967/8, though there was some talk of the lovely Graber-designed saloon perhaps being continued with the Buick-derived V8.

I'm sure that the BS was a good car and probably killed by Stokes worried that it might steal sales of his beloved Triumph Snag.

I'm happier to remember Alvis at is was.

Edited by VAR1016, 17 March 2010 - 22:01.


#16 Option1

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 22:11

I must admit that I never found the Leyland P76 "butt ugly" - quite the opposite. I thought, and still think, that for the time the P76 had strikingly modern looks.

Neil

#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 01:19

Posted Image

As photographed in January last year.

That's a lot tidier than I remember it Tim! Somebody's given it a lot of TLC: as I recall, the driver's door didn't fit and it was white rather than cream. It also looked like it hadn't been polished since about 1978! :lol:


#18 Terry Walker

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 03:13

And this one:

The Force 7 Coupe version of the Australian Leyland P76. This one lives in my hometown of Perth Western Australia, and this pic was taken at a rally last year. I believe there's one in the UK too. Only a handful were built, they were never put on the market. Intended to compete with the Monaro Coupe, Chrysler Charger coupe, and Falcon hardtop.

Posted Image

Posted Image

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 03:41

I believe seven shells were assembled when the plant closed down, Terry...

The complete cars were auctioned, bringing quite reasonable money.

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#20 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 04:04

Lee... that is so wrong!

British Leyland, the parent company, was in financial trouble. Selling off the property at Zetland, worth huge money so close to the centre of Sydney, was their decision, egged on by the Australian Government at the time. The Government wanted to reduce the number of manufacturers in Australia for some reason I've forgotten.

Anyway, the P76 wasn't any part of the cause of the closure.



It was hardly 'underpowered' in V8 form, partly because of its lightness...

It underweighed all its competitors by a substantial amount, so was more nippy, handled better and braked better than the others. Have you read A Boot Full of Right Arms? If not, and if you promise to return it, I will send you a copy

Sure there were build quality problems. I met a man once who had been working in the factory at the time and was in a team going around checking these things. For instance, he told me there were water leaking problems with rear doors... and what did they find?

The specs for the build required five or seven clamps to hold the stampings together as they were welded, the people doing the job were using just three, the doors were distorting. When they put that right, the foreman took it upon himself to tell the men to ignore the Quality Control guys and go back to three clamps!

His words were, "If the people who assembled the Austin 1800s had done the P76, and the 1800 was a difficult car to assemble, then the P76 would have had no problems at all."

Yes, the engine was stroked to get the 4.4-litre capacity. And it had an inherent restriction in the end exhaust ports being quite small. But it has been shown that more than adequate performance could be had from it in both modified and unmodified forms.

I'm told, though I've never experienced it, that the 2.6 OHC six wasn't a bad performer either. The rest of the car was componentry from Australian suppliers as used in Valiants and Falcons, so no problems there.

Those people who liked cars and got to own a P76 always swore by them... is there a better gauge?

And as for 'butt ugly'... leave that for the Force 7!

Ray, they could not sell the things,and too make it worse at 12 months old they were worth less than half new price. Leyland Australia was not profitable at the time and the P76 did not help. The dirt was worth more than the business.
I know more people swore at them and by them though yes they still do have lovers.
I have driven a few, they drove better than a Val but did not have the grunt. And the 2.6 was a very torqueless thing even with 3.9 or 4.1 diff ratios. Auto was hatefull.They made a 173 Holden look good. The 4.4 was really only in competition power wise against 4.2 Holdens and 245 Vals. Even a good 250 falcon was near as quick and that had a taller diff ratio

#21 Ian G

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 04:39

I believe seven shells were assembled when the plant closed down, Terry...

The complete cars were auctioned, bringing quite reasonable money.


Yes,i remember that,they were sold with the proviso that they could never be registered for road use yet a few Years later one was advertised for sale with NSW Rego. The bargain was the complete V-8
Motors,i think they went for $100 each(or less). Bruce McPhee purchased most of the Zetland Plant's Paint,only time i ever met Max Stahl, i went up to Bruce's Wyong Shed to buy a drum and he and Max were having a real chin wag.

Earlier in the thread i see mention of selling the P76 in the UK,Evan Green thought that overseas(instead of the UK) production may have saved the parent Co. and given them bargaining power with the Unions as in the Dunlop case but obviously Oz. was too far away.



#22 Pullman99

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 06:06

I have read that the BS Rover prototype was built not at Solihull, but at the Alvis works at Coventry; there was a suggestion that had the car been launched, then it might have been sold as an Alvis; I'm sure that the BS was a good car and probably killed by Stokes worried that it might steal sales of his beloved Triumph Snag.I'm happier to remember Alvis at is was.


If I remember correctly, the P6BS was being looked at quite seriously as a potential Alvis. The car's construction was completed when Rover had been acquired by Leyland but before British Leyland was formed in 1968. I have seen the P6BS press release for the New York Motor Show when the company was attempting to launch the P6B into North America so the Leyland moniker may have seeemed appropriate at the time. At Solihull, I don't think that it was never acknowledged as being anything much to do with Leyland. It's also 4-wheel drive and was developed by Spen King and his team although I am not sure if it was built up at Alvis or not. Alvis did later produce the V8 engine as a way of increasing volume production due to high demand including those for the MGB V8. I too have a soft spot for Alvis. I had a couple of drives in the BS (as it was usually referred to) and thought it was thoroughly entertaining and a total delight. Very much a prototype and with the kind of noise that made it feel and sound like a competition car on the road.

On the (actual) Leyland Eight front, this website has much to offer as a starting point for further research on Parry Thomas and Leyland Eight.

Parry Thomas website


#23 JimBradshaw

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 06:07

It was WB who suggested the Rover SD1 should be called the Leyland 8, circa 1976 ...was it not?

He was/is a huge Parry Thomas fan as I recall and he thought Leyland was no longer Rover.

I am sorry this thread has been highjacked by Australians..yet again.

However, I would be interested to be informed in what way the Leyland range of 1973 was so bad...

Was it the Jaguar XJ6 ?,the V12 E Type?, was it the Rover P6B?, maybe the Triumph Stag? or pehaps the TR6?, the Triumph 2.5, even the Miini, the Range Rover?...which of these cars were worse than the local stuff served up? - I would be obliged to be informed

I will not even venture to mention McCormack's Leyland-engined Mclaren which wiped the floor with the other chev-engined BRITISH chassised F5000's - no lack of performance there

It is this type of redneck heehaw mentality, which still insists on calling the Rover perfected alloy V8, a Buick, when even GM admitted they couldnt make the thing hold water and oil, that makes us Aussies realise just how much dumbing down has gone on since the onset of Beecheymania.

Finally, what does "Butt Ugly' mean? .... I assume it is cheap American slang..hmmmmmmm

JB

#24 flightlessbird

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 08:01

As further note of interest, the Zetland site of Leyland P38 production is now home to Audi Centre Sydney and the Audi Australia Corporate HQ

#25 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 08:02

It was WB who suggested the Rover SD1 should be called the Leyland 8, circa 1976 ...was it not?

He was/is a huge Parry Thomas fan as I recall and he thought Leyland was no longer Rover.

I am sorry this thread has been highjacked by Australians..yet again.

However, I would be interested to be informed in what way the Leyland range of 1973 was so bad...

Was it the Jaguar XJ6 ?,the V12 E Type?, was it the Rover P6B?, maybe the Triumph Stag? or pehaps the TR6?, the Triumph 2.5, even the Miini, the Range Rover?...which of these cars were worse than the local stuff served up? - I would be obliged to be informed

I will not even venture to mention McCormack's Leyland-engined Mclaren which wiped the floor with the other chev-engined BRITISH chassised F5000's - no lack of performance there

It is this type of redneck heehaw mentality, which still insists on calling the Rover perfected alloy V8, a Buick, when even GM admitted they couldnt make the thing hold water and oil, that makes us Aussies realise just how much dumbing down has gone on since the onset of Beecheymania.

Finally, what does "Butt Ugly' mean? .... I assume it is cheap American slang..hmmmmmmm

JB

Stan, the volume sellers from leyland in 73 74 were Minis, Marinas and P38s.And the occasional Triumph.Apart from the Mini all were doubtful profit makers. The rest were imports sold in small volume.
Mac,s Leyland 5000 engine never really was succesfull, had potential but was hard on the tub and the engine with the viabration level. And it never had much power in comparison to the opposition. Good chassis and a light engine. From memory he went back to Holden.

The Buick is a Buick, made under liscence by Leyland. The 3500 was never much of an engine. The 4.4 was an adequate family hack engine, nothing else. Not a very good engine in trucks.

As for butt ugly look at a P38!!

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 18 March 2010 - 08:02.


#26 Allan Lupton

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 08:17

If I remember correctly, the P6BS was being looked at quite seriously as a potential Alvis. The car's construction was completed when Rover had been acquired by Leyland but before British Leyland was formed in 1968. I have seen the P6BS press release for the New York Motor Show when the company was attempting to launch the P6B into North America so the Leyland moniker may have seeemed appropriate at the time. At Solihull, I don't think that it was never acknowledged as being anything much to do with Leyland. It's also 4-wheel drive and was developed by Spen King and his team although I am not sure if it was built up at Alvis or not. Alvis did later produce the V8 engine as a way of increasing volume production due to high demand including those for the MGB V8. I too have a soft spot for Alvis. I had a couple of drives in the BS (as it was usually referred to) and thought it was thoroughly entertaining and a total delight. Very much a prototype and with the kind of noise that made it feel and sound like a competition car on the road.

Graham Robson ("The Rover Story" 1977) agrees that P6BS was to be an Alvis, and that the Alvis machine shop was where the V8 engine production was based. The prototype was built at the Alvis, GR says. Interesting that you say it was/is 4WD as I didn't know that, nor can I find any reference to it. T3 (a broadly similar-looking turbine-powered coupé) was 4WD of course, so has there been some conflation of unusual projects?

#27 Pullman99

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 09:30

Graham Robson ("The Rover Story" 1977) agrees that P6BS was to be an Alvis, and that the Alvis machine shop was where the V8 engine production was based. The prototype was built at the Alvis, GR says. Interesting that you say it was/is 4WD as I didn't know that, nor can I find any reference to it. T3 (a broadly similar-looking turbine-powered coupé) was 4WD of course, so has there been some conflation of unusual projects?


Sorry Allan. Memory failure set in there (and it was early this morning)! Yes, you are quite correct and I should have taken the opportunity to recheck this (I last drove this car in 1974). I also briefly drove the T3 - that IS 4WD - but I think that the P6BS has the engine driving forwards to a transfer gearbox and then back to the rear axle. Actually, I recall that on one outing, the clutch master cylinder lost all its fluid and a couple of in-gear starts were necessary to get it home. I also remeber the choke control cable being mounted on the rear bulkhead!

The P6BS "Leyland Eight" sort of crept into this thread from an earlier post but it's amazing how the histories of what are often quite obscure vehicles continue to interest and delight enthusiasts over a considerable period of time. Making public the prototypes, and their development stories, seems to have been something of a regular occurrence for the BL companies (Rover and Triumph especially). Doing so, and being able to study them today, adds tremendously to the Britain's rich and varied transport heritage and we have much to thank the museums and private owners for ensuring their ongoing preservation.


#28 Wirra

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 12:09

... The Force 7 Coupe version of the Australian Leyland P76. ...

If you thought a Force 7 was rare wait 'til you read this. I dropped into a local brake specialist yesterday for some bits and there in the workshop was a P76 Ute!


#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 13:33

Originally posted by Lee Nicolle
.....Mac's Leyland 5000 engine never really was succesful, had potential but was hard on the tub and the engine with the vibration level. And it never had much power in comparison to the opposition. Good chassis and a light engine. From memory he went back to Holden.....


Well, if winning the Gold Star isn't successful, I guess you're right...

McCormack did that with a win at Surfers, a second at Calder and a third at Phillip Island. Along the way he had been no lower than fourth on the grid at three of the races, including pole at Phillip Island, while the other round saw him faltering with a cooling system bleeding problem that kept him from qualifying well and actually prevented him starting the race.

He was blitzing the field at Phillip Island too, before problems set in with the cooling system again. But he pressed on and finished third to prevent Hamilton winning the title.

This was before he set about getting the IMC heads made. They came fully a year later and never really blossomed, so he was getting sufficient power out of the original heads to make the McLaren one of the fastest F5000s in the country. The Chevs were allowed to run aftermarket heads too, so he was playing catch-up.

He never went back to the Holden engine. He had done in the ML6 in the earlier development stages of the Leyland engine, but as can be seen by his commitment to the Leyland engine and the McLaren, which wouldn't have worked with an iron V8, he was confident the alloy V8 would do the job.

Now Stan...

Do you think you can crawl back under your rock before you make a fool of yourself again? Your sensible posts on many issues show you can do it, but then you get carried away and make posts like the one in this thread.

Though your mention of 'Buick' brings to mind the fact that McCormack really did with the P76 engine exactly what Jack Brabham did with the other engine in the family, the Olds engine that gave him 'enough' to win a couple of titles back in the sixties.

#30 Pullman99

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 15:27

This subject has been raised before in the Brooklands Centeray thread of 2007.

Originally posted by Mick Walsh Did any TNFs go to Brooklands this weekend? ...highlights included a mystery Leyland 8 replica (anyone know more about this) and the Aston Razorblade. The newly restored Mercedes W125 also looked and sounded fantastic.

Roadmap: The Leyland eight belongs to the brave David Haywood who has spent some years bringing the car to its current condition and what a fabulous job he has done. It is a genuine eight and I look forward to David getting it out in the not to distant future. I dont know of another other than the one in the National museum which I believe is a non runner.


Thanks 'Roadmap' Went back to the Leyland 8 several times to find the owner but no luck. I noted the body was by Western Coachworks of Derby. Can't wait to see it run. Where did the engine come from?

I got in touch with David Haywood about his Leyland-Thomas rep last year. He bought the engine together with a mounting frame incorporating an original chassis cross member from a steam enthusiast. Over a long period he then traced an original back axle complete with torque tube and brake drums, a "biscuit tin"(!) full of chassis fittings, and other small items like an oil gauge.
He had a further stroke of luck to find a set of original chassis drawings and used these together with the surviving member (with I understand a lot of help from Julian Ghosh of the VSCC) to have a new frame made. The gearbox is a Rolls Royce unit. It will look superb when finished!

It looked pretty good then! (Mick Walsh photograph transferred from Brooklands Centenary thread)

Posted Image

Edited by Pullman99, 18 March 2010 - 15:32.


#31 f1steveuk

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 15:40

As an aside, but during my time with Caffyns, we were taken to various factories/warehouses/storage/ test facilities by Austin Rover, and shown all sorts of prototypes, there are certain ones I recall, and wondered if anyones else does, or has pictures, such as

The MG Marina, Marina Coupe but with an MG badge and octagonal instruments

TR7 Estate/coupe, a TR7 with a sort of Volvo P1800 tail with a tailgate

Triumph GT6 estate/coupe, much as above, so a more vertical tailgate than the standard version

Rover P6 estate (in house, not a coachbuilders one)

None of these were one offs, I remember sven of the TR7s, being driven, and I heard the complaints that the shells were twisting!!!!

#32 BritishV8

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 16:38

It is this type of redneck heehaw mentality, which still insists on calling the Rover perfected alloy V8, a Buick, when even GM admitted they couldnt make the thing hold water and oil, that makes us Aussies realise just how much dumbing down has gone on since the onset of Beecheymania.


Just how wrong can one sentence be? I know it's another distracting digression, but to set the record straight:

General Motors sold about three quarters of a million of these little jewels in just three years! Apparently it's hard for some people in remote districts to appreciate the scale of that success. Try thinking of it this way: General Motors sold more alloy V8's in just three years than Rover did in over 25 years. Then they moved on, but not because there was something fundamentally wrong with GM's version of the alloy V8.

Here's what actually happened: GM decided there was enough demand to justify replacing the aluminum V8 with two derivative and more specialized designs. A new iron-block 90-degree V6 based on the alloy V8 design would be cheaper to produce and would package more compactly into small cars like the Buick Special. A new iron-block, alloy cylinder head 300cid engine would better suit the Buick LeSabre. The LeSabre needed more displacement to be competitive in the market, and would hardly notice the (~80#) weight increase. Both the V6 and the 300cid V8 share a lot of parts with the alloy V8. Some people assume that there was something fundamentally wrong with GM's casting processes, but that's wrong. If it were true, why did they continue with aluminum cylinder heads for the Buick 300?

Unfortunately, there's a lot of ridiculous misinformation in the literature. For example, chapter 2 of Doug Nye's "History of the Grand Prix Car 1966-91" contains this absurd passage:

Their answer was a V8 using an existing General Motors-made Oldsmobile F85 all-aluminum block. This represented the debris of an enormously costly and unsuccessful attempt by GM to produce a linerless aluminum engine for a 3-litre Buick compact. The linerless idea had failed in production so a few were completed with cast-in ferrous liners...


Obviously using the word "few" when the actual number was three quarters of a million is a mistake... but the "linerless" part is outrageous too. Liners were part of the alloy V8 development program from about 1954. (Perhaps Doug was thinking of the Chevy Vega engine.) You can read more about Buick's design straight from the Buick engineers in this SAE paper.

I think some of you are inclined to thing Jack Brabham was really clever to "discover" the Buick/Olds 215. (After all... GM only made a few of them, right?) How hard could it be to notice that the same engine had already been used by Mickey Thompson (with driver Dan Gurney) in the 1962 Indy 500? How many Coopers and McLarens had already been raced with the Buick/Olds engine? It was an obvious choice.

I put a '62 Buick alloy V8 in my MGB twenty years ago. In just one month last year (June) I drove it over 5000 miles. It's a very reliable engine that was perfectly suited for all sorts of small automobiles. It holds water and oil just fine.


(note: edited because when I originally entered this I typed "LeMans" when I meant "LeSabre". The 215 had been used in Pontiac's "Tempest LeMans" model, but the 300 was only used by Buick.)

Edited by BritishV8, 21 March 2010 - 16:41.


#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 20:26

Originally posted by BritishV8
Just how wrong can one sentence be? I know it's another distracting digression, but to set the record straight:

General Motors sold about three quarters of a million of these little jewels in just three years! Apparently it's hard for some people in remote districts to appreciate the scale of that success. Try thinking of it this way: General Motors sold more alloy V8's in just three years than Rover did in over 25 years.....


Your posts are way too infrequent...

I have to ask you, however, to please not confuse Stan with the majority of Australian posters. Sure, there is another one who puts in utterly ridiculous comments at times, in particular with relation to British cars, but the majority of us here have got (I believe) a reasonable grip on things. At times, I'm told, Stan's grip is on the bottle.

I know he will be rattled by that statistic you quote here.

.....I think some of you are inclined to thing Jack Brabham was really clever to "discover" the Buick/Olds 215. (After all... GM only made a few of them, right?) How hard could it be to notice that the same engine had already been used by Mickey Thompson (with driver Dan Gurney) in the 1962 Indy 500? How many Coopers and McLarens had already been raced with the Buick/Olds engine? It was an obvious choice.....


A look at other aspects of that engine shows that they had cast their net wide... it also had rods from the low-volume Daimler. And in Australia there was a BRM running with a Scarab-modified Buick in 1962, the Scarab had run here in the February of that year, the progenitor of all serious competition use of this engine.

#34 D-Type

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 21:24

Did Rover purchase all rights to the Buick engine design along with the tooling? Or did they merely manufacture it under licence?

Does anyone remember DSJ's rave review of the P6BS after he road tested it?

At the time that they produced this car did BLMH (or whatever they were called at the time) own Jaguar? If so, as well as competing with the Stag the P6BS would have been in competition with the E-Type. Under the cicumstances it seems a sound commercial decision not to go ahead. Shame though.

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 22:03

Rover were with Jaguar before the BMC merger...

I'm pretty sure that's correct.

#36 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 22:13

Rover were with Jaguar before the BMC merger...

I'm pretty sure that's correct.

No, it's not.

Jaguar and BMC merged in 1966, forming BMH (British Motor Holdings). Rover were absorbed by Leyland Motors in 1967 and then Leyland Motors merged with BMH to form BLMC in 1968. So Jaguar and Rover came from opposite sides of the fence as it were - Standard Triumph was also part of the Leyland empire before the BLMC merger.

#37 BritishV8

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 23:18

Did Rover purchase all rights to the Buick engine design along with the tooling? Or did they merely manufacture it under licence?


It was a licensing deal with basically no tooling involved, and in fact Rover's manufacturing processes were quite different. For example, Rover blocks/heads were sand cast and then sleeves were press fit into them. GM used a die-casting machine they'd previously developed for transmission casings, except for the engine block they modified the machine so they could also use cast-in iron sleeves (from day one) and sand cores for the water jacket, etc.

That's elaborated on in these two articles:
"There's Soupability in GM's Aluminum V8's" Speed Magazine, August 1961
"History of the Aluminium Alloy V8" Autocar Magazine, November 20, 1976


#38 Pullman99

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 07:16

Does anyone remember DSJ's rave review of the P6BS after he road tested it? At the time that they produced this car did BLMH (or whatever they were called at the time) own Jaguar? If so, as well as competing with the Stag the P6BS would have been in competition with the E-Type. Under the cicumstances it seems a sound commercial decision not to go ahead. Shame though.


If nothing else, the DSJ road test should have convinced BLMC's management to produce the car immediately - Alvis, Rover, Leyland, whatever!

At the time the car was built, Rover had been part of Leyland for a couple of years. Jaguar had merged with BMC to form British Motor Holdings in late 1966 and the British Leyland Motor Corporation was formed out of the further merger between Leyland Motors and BMH in 1968 so by the time it could have been made production ready, the P6BS would have been up against the E-Type in terms of performance but I think there would have been a definite positioning of such a car to allow it to develop its own niche. Its specification was, afgter all, quite unlike anything then on offer or planned. All of this is of course pure conjecture!

Edited by Pullman99, 19 March 2010 - 07:17.


#39 JimBradshaw

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 08:13

Food for thought

What is more remarkable, beyond numbers (after all, how many million pushrod 350s did they make versus, say, V12, XK, alfa twin cam, benz 6.3 etc)
Even more remarkable is that GM gave up on it

No company tools up for an engine to last only three years

GM could not make it work


Rover, made it work and made it meet the tough ridiculous self centred US "regulations", well into the 21st century.


Many thanks for your for you contribution BritishV8

I love my P5B

JB

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 09:33

But Stan, he explained why GM gave up on it, and it had nothing to do with not making it work...

After all, at the same time they were turbocharging an air cooled horizontally opposed six, weren't they? And they kept on doing that until Ralph Nader damaged the car's image, right?

So it's reasonable to conclude that BritishV8 (or Curtis, is that right?) has his facts somewhere near spot on with regard to it all. Undoubtedly there was an enconomy aspect to going back to the iron V6 and V8, so the GM dalliance in an all-alloy engine fell foul of America's continuing desire for more power. The alloy engine had limitations the iron ones would avoid.

So instead of being a total Anglophile (and it's clear that Curtis is of the same genre, just more reasonable), accept that the Yanks can do something right and stick to the facts.

#41 Monaro

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 11:40

Aah the Leyland P76 better known as the P38.[only half a car] Leylands answer to the Edsel. Butt ugly, poorly finished and underpowered.It did have some modern points , was quite roomy and was fairly rugged. The alloy Buick V8 was not a bad engine but was a cooking engine with small bores and longish stroke so would never be a big performer, and really chasing big power was wrong as the blocks flexed too much anyway. But Ford, Holden and Chrysler had better engine ranges and for the most part better build quality.
Probably the car that sunk Leyland Australia, though the rest of their range at the time was no better.

As for being underpowered my car won Australian titles and state titles and had a 90% win rate all with a under powered Leyland P76 V8. :rotfl: :rotfl:

#42 Pullman99

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 06:18

Our Australian friends may be interested in the following website. This currently has a feature on the Leyland P76.

Austin Rover website P76 feature

Back to the "real" Leyland Eight; it was 90 years ago this year that the car made its debut - and dubbed "The Lion of Olympia" by the press - at the London Motor Show.

Edited by Pullman99, 20 March 2010 - 11:18.


#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 10:06

A shame it hasn't been edited by someone who knows a bit more about BMC Australia's history...

It is interesting, however, to read a British opinion of the car.

#44 Ian G

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 00:29

Our Australian friends may be interested in the following website. This currently has a feature on the Leyland P76.

Austin Rover website P76 feature

Back to the "real" Leyland Eight; it was 90 years ago this year that the car made its debut - and dubbed "The Lion of Olympia" by the press - at the London Motor Show.




Yes,nice well written article,conspiracy theories were real at the time with claims the other Oz Car makers were putting pressure on local suppliers to be given first option on parts that they may(or may not) need,also rumours of 'incentives' to Union leaders and Motoring Journo.'s to make things difficult for the P76,at the end of the day however i think it was just the wrong car at the wrong time particulary when their Dealer network was in a state of collapse after years of declining sales.
I didn't know NZ production continued to 1976.


#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 04:04

Only Chrysler and Ford could have put pressure on suppliers of anything really significant to slow down supply...

Borg-Warner was the supplier who made the key elements for the three makes. They had been supplying automatic transmissions to BMC since about 1962, while Ford and Chrysler had only come in during the very late part of the sixties. Except for Cortinas (since 1964 or so) and Hillmans, the lesser volume models (after all, most were sold as manuals and they didn't have the sheer volume of production of the 6-cylinder sedans).

GM-H used their own gearboxes and rear axles, Ford and Chrysler took to using Borg-Warner's salisbury style unit in about 1967 or 1968. The Marina used it too from whenever they came into being here, and the P76 had it. So it was only Ford and Chrysler who could put on pressure.

But I remember well one night talking to former ex-Niel Allen Elan racer, Patrick Hogan. He was a Chrysler and Leyland dealer on the north coast of NSW and was telling us that he was having a ball. "Ford and GM can't keep up supply, so we're selling Valiants and P76s like hot cakes," he said.

This was during the early part of the Whitlam era, don't forget. 'Wage push inflation' was biting in and the massive increase in unemployment was yet to hit the country. People were spending and unions were striking (so much so that Ford were occasionally fitting C4s and Chrysler their 727s in place of the upgraded version of the 35 that Borg-Warner couldn't get down the production lines because of staff issues) and the turmoil was building.

You just cannot compare that period of Australian history with any other, it was uniquely dramatic on so many fronts.

And looking again at the 'success' or otherwise of McCormack's P76-powered McLaren, I omitted to mention that it won the 1977 Rose City 10,000 at Winton with ease.

Stan, you should have been there!

#46 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 08:04

Only Chrysler and Ford could have put pressure on suppliers of anything really significant to slow down supply...

Borg-Warner was the supplier who made the key elements for the three makes. They had been supplying automatic transmissions to BMC since about 1962, while Ford and Chrysler had only come in during the very late part of the sixties. Except for Cortinas (since 1964 or so) and Hillmans, the lesser volume models (after all, most were sold as manuals and they didn't have the sheer volume of production of the 6-cylinder sedans).

GM-H used their own gearboxes and rear axles, Ford and Chrysler took to using Borg-Warner's salisbury style unit in about 1967 or 1968. The Marina used it too from whenever they came into being here, and the P76 had it. So it was only Ford and Chrysler who could put on pressure.

But I remember well one night talking to former ex-Niel Allen Elan racer, Patrick Hogan. He was a Chrysler and Leyland dealer on the north coast of NSW and was telling us that he was having a ball. "Ford and GM can't keep up supply, so we're selling Valiants and P76s like hot cakes," he said.

This was during the early part of the Whitlam era, don't forget. 'Wage push inflation' was biting in and the massive increase in unemployment was yet to hit the country. People were spending and unions were striking (so much so that Ford were occasionally fitting C4s and Chrysler their 727s in place of the upgraded version of the 35 that Borg-Warner couldn't get down the production lines because of staff issues) and the turmoil was building.

You just cannot compare that period of Australian history with any other, it was uniquely dramatic on so many fronts.

And looking again at the 'success' or otherwise of McCormack's P76-powered McLaren, I omitted to mention that it won the 1977 Rose City 10,000 at Winton with ease.

Stan, you should have been there!

Ford and Chrysler used B/W salisbury diffs of various models from about 60 on XK and S series used them.
Ford had the C4 as an option on the 6 from XY on. The taxi fleets liked them as the early 35s were a bit suss. As did Chrysler using the 727 behind 265s. Interestingly enough there is HG Holdens with powerglides too to keep the fleet buyers happy.
Though you are right about industrial problems and I am sure quite a few cars got optional trannys to keep the line going.
Leyland 35s [and single rails] are different spec to Ford and Chysler and that may have played into the scenario.
I think that all manufacturers were affected, Ford and Chrysler probably had a bit more pull though as they bought more transmissions.


#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 09:42

Were the early Falcon rear ends from Borg-Warner?

Certainly the Chrysler ones weren't. They were known in the field as the Chrysler 7¼, quite different to the units that replaced them some time during the VC model run.

And the 35s were getting a bit of a bake. I remember now that it was in the XM or XP Falcon series, so as early as possibly 1964, that the Falcon auto got badged 'Fordomatic 3S' or something similar as the 35 was introduced to replace the old 2-speed. Chrysler didn't use the 35 until the Hemi came out, no slants ever ran them.

A bit of irony is that, while B-W would later toughen up the 35 to cope with those 4-litre engines, BMC had destroyed a bunch of them in '63 or '64 or so fitting them up behind the 2912cc Austin engines in Wolseleys, Princess 3-litres and the A110. They weren't nearly as strong as the DG they replaced in those cars.

And with this in view, Chrysler did offer the 727 (or 904) behind a Hemi 6 if you ordered a 'tow pack', but it required a different cylinder block casting to provide for the small block V8 bellhousing dowel and bolt pattern.

#48 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:58

Were the early Falcon rear ends from Borg-Warner?

Certainly the Chrysler ones weren't. They were known in the field as the Chrysler 7¼, quite different to the units that replaced them some time during the VC model run.

And the 35s were getting a bit of a bake. I remember now that it was in the XM or XP Falcon series, so as early as possibly 1964, that the Falcon auto got badged 'Fordomatic 3S' or something similar as the 35 was introduced to replace the old 2-speed. Chrysler didn't use the 35 until the Hemi came out, no slants ever ran them.

A bit of irony is that, while B-W would later toughen up the 35 to cope with those 4-litre engines, BMC had destroyed a bunch of them in '63 or '64 or so fitting them up behind the 2912cc Austin engines in Wolseleys, Princess 3-litres and the A110. They weren't nearly as strong as the DG they replaced in those cars.

And with this in view, Chrysler did offer the 727 (or 904) behind a Hemi 6 if you ordered a 'tow pack', but it required a different cylinder block casting to provide for the small block V8 bellhousing dowel and bolt pattern.

Early Vals are B/W. A differrent model to 66 on but still B/W.
Early Falcons all had early style B/W too. I think similar too the later 4 cyl diff in Sigmas etc.
Hemis had Torqueflites up until VJ when the HD trans was specified [265 only] Chrysler Chrysler on VH at least all had them plus special orders, towing, fleets, cops, cabs etc. the Bell is only a couple of bolts different, most blocks can be redrilled to the V8, Q, slant pattern.
The B/W diff has evolved a lot over 50 years!!!. They are a lot stronger in the gears, the differential action and axles.


#49 Ivan Saxton

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:29

[quote I had the Proifile Publication by Hugh Tours but now cannot find it.
I have a copy of that little Profile if you have not been able to access content. Thomas was certainly more determined to be different than the makers of the other two contemporary straight 8's, ie Tipo 8 Isotta Fraschini, and A model Duesenberg. You have to digest Anselmi's book of IF to understand a bit about the cultural/social background of the people who it was built for and those who built it. The Duesenberg was built for lightness, strength, rigidity, and reliability; and it was built to the concept of their racing cars. (I have enough to rebuild a Tipo 8 and a mid 1922 A Duesenberg, the 30th car made.) They produced the same 90hp from 4 1/4 litres as Isotta did from 6 litres, and were about 3/4 ton less mass. Alan Powall from Melbourne bought his A from the factory when he was 23 in 1923he ordered the highest compression ratio and the highest axle ratio they would supply; and when he took delivery he was given a certificate that it had been timed on the Indianapolis Speedway at 106 mph, --(new). Manuel Yglesias Davalos and his brother turned the one I have into a racing car, and with sedan gearing it was timed over a flying Kilometre at 106mph. The last ossasion a modified A Duesenberg finished with a paid placing at Indianapolis was 1934, from memory. Of all the cars of the early 1920's that I have, or have been involved with when owned and restored by friends, I hold the A in highest regard. In the 1960's I was able to access monthly lists of registration recods for about 1922-4 which showed owner, registration number, and car make. There was one Leyland listed among the cars, though this could have been a truck mistaken. However, there were some very unexpected cars that came here. For instance, in 1917 in NSW there were three Sheffield Simplexes, three Thomas Flyers, , eighteen Hispano Suizas and 32 Delaunay Bellevilles registered. You wonder what might be buried in outback areas still.

#50 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:57

Originally posted by Lee Nicolle
Early Vals are B-W. A differrent model to 66 on but still B/W.
Early Falcons all had early style B-W too. I think similar too the later 4 cyl diff in Sigmas etc.....


Sigmas, Datsun 200Bs, Marinas etc had the same type 87 B-W rear as the Falcons and Valiants and P76s, but with smaller axle shafts, sun gears etc.

I'm still not convinced about the early Valiants. They are referred to as a Chrysler 7¼ as I mentioned, and some of the build details are starkly different in areas you wouldn't expect them to be.

.....Hemis had Torqueflites up until VJ when the HD trans was specified [265 only] Chrysler Chrysler on VH at least all had them plus special orders, towing, fleets, cops, cabs etc. the Bell is only a couple of bolts different, most blocks can be redrilled to the V8, Q, slant pattern.


Hemis cannot be redrilled to the slant pattern, nor the 'Kew' (which only applies to British built engines) or any of the other flathead engines. I can assure you of that, I have them here by the truckload.

The small block pattern can be drilled into a small number of blocks. I have seven regular Hemi blocks in my shed, yesterday I was checking them over and found there was one I could drill the dowel and bolt location for the small block into. Only one. And even then you'd have to grind away the strengthening rib on the left to make way for the starter location.

The blocks made for fitment to some trucks and Torqueflite boxes were different castings.