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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - P76 V8

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vem myers

Yes, why? I guess this is an Aussie car (Holden?) but it does nothing for me. Sorry to all the good US guys on here, but to me it is all that is bad in American-style cars. A hefty great barge with Waft-o-Matic suspension and no body control at all to speak of. Tons of grunt but precious little else to recommend it.
Mike Howlett

Thanks Mike, I guess that is why I don't care to go to scotland and meet the people there.

Hi Mike,

I do care to go to Scotland, in fact I lived in Edinburgh for some time. A great place to live.

That said, I think that this thread needs some mediation. The P76 was actually a British Leyland car. It used a 4.4 litre version of the Rover V8. I have never driven one, so I cannot comment on the handling, but I beleive that it was far better than American cars of the period.

Regarding the 'Holden', I would not be so quick to judge Mike. May be our cars are a little larger than VW Golfs, but they do go around corners very well. Just ask the presenters of Top Gear or 5th Gear about the Holden/Vauxhall Monaro or the HSV ( see ).

A recent episode of Top Gear compared the Vauxhall (Holden) Monaro with a Chrysler 300C and Jaguar S Type R. Although the Chrysler was thought to be a bit of a joke, the Monaro was voted number 1 by 2 out of 3 journalists and all agreed that the brakes and the handling were excellent.

I believe that Tiff Needell and the lovely Vicky B-H both considered the HSV Clubsport equal in performace to the ubiquitous BMW M5.

I have an MG midget Mk3 and MGB V8 Roadster and a ZB Magnette, I love British sports cars. My day to day car is an HSV Clubsport and I love it as well. The performace is huge, the handing is amazing, the brakes are incredible. Every time I get in this car, it puts a smile on my face, it has the performance of a Porsche 911, but seats the wife, 3 children and all the luggage for a summer holiday.

My previous cars were and Audi A6 2.8 Quattro and a BMW 540. Both of these were very nice cars, the BMW certainly had better steering than the Audi, however, neither were nearly as much fun to drive as the HSV.


MG David

Even though 'American' is probably just a troll, I would like to apologize for his ignorance.
Not all Americans are ar*e wholes.
Lets have a drink some time.
Dana Wilson

To add a little to the information provided by MG David above:
the P76 did manage to take the honours in the Targa Florio so handling and performnace were perhaps better than a quick first glance might lead one to surmise.

The car was built by Leyland Australia to compete directly with the offerings from Ford and Holden (a GM subsididary) but sadly the marketing was not handled well and the quality control was effectively non existent.

Incidently Leyland Australia was directly managed by Leyland UK and for the most part totally ignored the feedback and information given them by customers , car magazines and their own local managers.

The result is history.

Cheers , Pete.

Peter Thomas

So is the entire clip, just the car spinning circles in the gravel? I'm still on dail-up, so it was down loading real slow. So I gave up. I've seen cars spin around in gravel before, or am I missing something?
bill jacobson

You didn't miss much if you did not see it all. Basically the same thing through out.
Dana Wilson

Spinning the tires in the dirt. You can do that with a Pinto. I think they have been watching way too much Dukes of Hazzard. :)
Carl Floyd

Woah, Mr American (pity you don't feel able to give your name)you've taken my comments wrongly. I'm not anti-American - I've been to several parts of your amazing country and have always enjoyed the experience. I have American friends who are MGB owners. I just don't like large floaty American cars such as were common in the sixties and seventies. Over here on our narrow twisty roads they are completely useless, and I prefer to have a car where the suspension has been constructed in such a way as to give the car some sporting ability, such as flat cornering and quick steering response. Am I not allowed an opinion? I could just as easily say I prefer a burger to a pizza. Incidently, you should come to Scotland - the mountains may not be big, but they're certainly pretty.

And David, I agree that the Holden/Vauxhall Monaro is an excellent car - amazing value for money. I am not familiar with the HSV, but having looked it up, it looks a fine modern car. I THOUGHT the P76 was a Holden - I was wrong. I still stick to my opinion that the clip shows a powerful car with really soft uncontrolled suspension - not my type of car at all. I can only assume the competition P76 was modified.

I was watching a movie the other day called A Perfect World with Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner. It is set in the year President Kennedy was killed and the cars were amazing to watch, cornering on the door handles and rocking back and forth once they had stopped. That's what I don't like - my opinion, OK?

Mike Howlett

Further info. The Holden Monaro, designed & built in Australia, was badged Vauxhall for the UK & Pontiac GTO for the US. Barrie E
Barrie Egerton

check this out to read up on HSV clubsport

It will open your eyes
Sandy Sanders

Hehehe you Aussies! Burnouts in the garage...
We still have a few P76s over here too, but most of them rusted away years ago... I went on a holiday in one once, it was BIG compared to a Holden Kingswood, and the boot was enormous - I read somewhere that it was designed so you could fit a 44 gallon drum in it! In my naivete I thought since it was British Leyland that the Poms must have been cruising up and down the M1 in them, but I guess they were a down-under phenomenon!
James Finlayson

You read correctly about the 44 gal drum capacity of the boot / trunk.

Possibly the sadest part about the whole P76 saga was a clear demostation of how totally out of touch Leyland had become by that time.
The car was designed by committees and "styling clinics" with little if any reference to the real world.

On paper the specs suggested a decent enough car ; certainly one which was no worse than contemporary offerings from Ford and Holden.

The actual product was shambles. The marketing missed the point completely. A suggestion here: Do not under any circumstances take your potential customers for granted.
The attitude of "we know what's best for you ignorant colonials" killed the car before it went into the showrooms.
The quality control was joke : complete dashboards falling onto the drivers knees in demonstrators.
The rust problem James has already mentioned.
The panel fit and finish was laughable.

There was also a version planned having two doors and a hatchback. Called the Force Seven , Leyland struggled to get anything beyond a lukewarm response from the potential buyers due to their almost total alienation after the P76 debacle.

Perhaps the one thing which really stood out was the Britsh car makers had seem this exact same thing happen over about twenty years to the British motorbike industry and learned exactly nothing from it.

Personally it was a comprehensive leson in how NOT to do it I have always thought.

Cheers , Pete.
Peter Thomas

I recently saw a picture of several Force Sevens at a meet not too long ago, I gather only 10 were made and one is in the UK in private hands after it was sent to BL for evaluation.

What hasn't been mentioned is that the V8 in these is a 4.4L, and not 3.5. I did read up recently but forget exactly how that size came about, something to do with the CR and bore/stroke? Wasn't this V8 also used in other unique vehicles

Didn't the P76 designation come from the fact it was a follow on to the P6, as opposed to the SD1 that came about in the UK. It was only built from 1973 to 1974, and assembled in New Zealand until 1975.

Leyland Australia has had it's fair share of unique British cars, including the 11/1300 as a 1500 Nomad, the Morris Marina as a 6cyl, and various other re-named/re-styled models.
Martin ZT

OK , I'm with Carl here [how you been ?] "pushrod still workin" . Anyway when I was 17 [wow!] how long ago was that ? I had a Opel coupe & look the way that guy drives in the dirt , I AM positive I could clean him with the Opel [in the dirt]. I really miss that car , we jumped it , made that guy look like Daisey was drivin it , took it on jeep trails [on a regular basis] & once even let 1/2 the air out the tires & & put it on the RxR tracks then went approx. 30 miles ! Yes we "were" young and under the influence of Many questionable things . Ahhh those days ,,, how did? we survive them ? I & my friends abused that $ 450. car for 3 years [a miracle] in the end it used 1qt. of oil a day , ran on 3 cylinders [its good power ] had been sucked dry , by a bunch of questionable young idiots , there were hose clamps / duct tape & wire coat hangers holdin the dam thing together , the headliner ripped out , 2 real trick front seats[just dump the clutch & instant fold down seats][note this was very fun when I wasent driven & told the guy who was to smash it & I did this all the time] The lights worked only on a very smooth road [again very fun in the mountains at full speed in the dark] Anyway I took it in for inspection [really I knew better] but thought they would cut me 10 or 20? breaks? and an hour later they called & gave me HELL!!! And after drivin it almost 2 more months [with an expired inspection ] I was pulled over & fined [thank god I wasent drunk] & the next day I drove it in a fog of "BLUE" sputtering & backfiring to the junkyard , it drew a crowd of [3 or 4] greasy , ugly , guys with 9 or 10 teeth between em ? they all shook their heads ruefully at me & the one guy gave me $10.00 dollars ? as I got in my buddy's car I said "LOOK"! ten bucks ! lets go get a case of "Mickey's" wide mouths & a pack of cigs.

The 4.4 V8 was basically version of the 3.5 with a different crank and I think larger bore. It still ran carburettors , a distributor and pushrods.
So far as I know it made an appearance in the Terrier light truck as well but no other cars.

I have no idea if it was ever used for stationary duties like electricity generation.

Not certain about the designations but your suggestions seem sound given the naming connections.
P6 -> P76 -> Force 7.

There was a 2.6 litre in line six option for both the P76 and the Australian Marina. Not really anything noteworthy about the 2.6 either as I recall.

The other engine ( standard in the Marina here ) was an in line four with OHC of about 1750 cc and had no connection with the B series used in the 1800 sedans and MGB's.

The 1100 / 1300 later was enlarged into a 1500 OHC model based on the 4 door sedan used for the 1100 / 1300 series.
The body was a five door hatch and the last had a five speed box. All had hydrolastic suspension,

The 1100 used the standard 1098 cc engine and the 1300 used the 1275 engine. There was an S model too with twin carbs.

Cheers , Pete.
Peter Thomas

The P76 block is taller than the 3.5/3.9/4.0/4.2/4.6 engines. The bore is the same as the 3.5 at 3.5 inches and the stroke is also 3.5 inches. The crank has 2.55 inch mains and 2.0 inch big ends. The heads have 10 bolts, the rockers are pressed steel and there are no rocker shafts.

Geoff King

Can the 3.5" crank from the P76 be used with the 3.5 (or BOP) block? Does it have the same flywheel flange? Thanks,

Jim Blackwood

Jim, Yes, the P76 crank can be cut down to fit the 3.5 block but the flywheel flange bolt pattern is different.


The P76 motor was stroked to get the 4.4. The block was a bit taller as a result. People sometimes use the crank and flywheel in 3.5's.
A friends father had one. He used it to tow his giant caravan. This incidently was what most P76's ended up being used for, as tractors for big caravans and boats. Also farmers liked them. They could be bought very cheaply with few miles on them The reason why so cheap was as Peter T. says, the astoudingly awful finish. In the three occasions I rode in one, two of the side windows fell down (a common fault), bits of trim would spontainiously fall off and the gear lever knob came off. The interior roof also had to be pushed back in place after bumps. Super lemon.
However the motor was good, its only fault being that the block could flex a little.


Is it a different flange altogether, or just drilled differently? And does it protrude from the block the same distance? Reason I ask, I've gone to the trouble to obtain a billet steel flywheel for the 215 and have it cut down to 20lbs. If it can be used with the 4.4 with some modification that would be a good thing but if not that would be another expense associated with that buildup, similar to the use of a 300 crank.

Jim Blackwood

More info on that here:

I actually have a P76 flywheel in my storage unit but it's a far piece away from me right now.


So then the real question is how hard it would be for me to acquire a P76 crank here in the US. Since the Buick 300 crank (3.4" stroke) does require a different flywheel but I have a 300 crank on hand, and the P76 can use the re-drilled flywheel that I have, some trading may be in order. That is, assuming the BOP and 3.5 used the same crank flange.

Jim Blackwood

This thread was discussed between 19/11/2006 and 14/12/2006

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