The Forgotten Ones

23. September 2014 16:57 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

There are many Aussie cars that fill the spotlight. Iconic cars that are on t-shirts, in sheds and museums and close to the hearts of motoring enthusiasts.

However on the flip side, there are Aussie cars that have been forgotten through age, lack of popularity, changing trends and the odd total flop.

The Leyland P76 was designed by Michelotti in Italy and introduced to the Australian market in 1973, against Holden, Ford and Chrysler. Despite winning ‘Wheels Car of the Year’ in 1974, the car quickly died out in Australia with fewer than 18,000 produced. Many put the failure down to strange marketing, quality control issues and the loyalty Australian consumers had toward the existing Holden and Fords models on the market. 

Even being names the 1976 'Wheels Car of the Year didn't save the Leyland P76. 

Despite the Torana having a sacred name in Australian motoring, not every Torana was a success. The TA model was a short lived four cylinder variant based on the LJ platform. Australian’s at the time still wanted the larger six cylinder and V8 engines so it never took off or retained the longevity some of the more famous models have shown.

Perhaps Holden’s most infamous sales flop was their attempt at a 1980’s sports coupe, known as the Piazza.

Buoyed by the success of the Japanese giants selling sports cars in the 80’s Holden brought in the Piazza from Japan which was produced by Isuzu.

Despite a powerful 2 litre turbocharged engine, the Australian motoring media were extremely critical of the Piazza which hurt sales prospects from the start. The criticism was in the most part warranted and the car had a horrible chassis and as a result, dangerous handling. The Star Wars style instrumentation and the technology employed was a step too far for a majority of the Australian market at that time.  The car was quickly phased out by Holden who had certainly missed the mark on the Piazza.


The Holden Piazza was not Holden's finest moment and never succeeded in Australia.

The Ford Zephyr is quite a well-known model and examples are still being restored, however the Ford Consul is a much lesser known 4 cylinder variant that never really gained popularity as the Zephyr did classic, perhaps due to its smaller engine. 

Another angle to consider is the forgotten style of cars. Panel Vans were a symbol of the Australian way of life through the 60’s and 70’s but by the late 80’s the market had changed and eventually panel vans phased out of existence. These models do however retain classic status and many are restored to their former glory.

Another dropped style is the 1 tonner. Popular for tradesman and those in farming, the first generation of 1 tonner’s were built by Holden from 1971 to 1984. A second generation was released as part of the VY and VZ range before being phased out again.

With the demise of Australian vehicle manufacturing our questions now turn to which vehicles will become future classics and which models will be all but forgotten? Only time will tell.