MAGIC MAXI RUNS AGAIN

Classics Monthly - - Contents -

An Austin Maxi rally car which took part in the 1970 World Cup Rally is to com­pete again with two of its orig­i­nal crew. Former ‘Miss Cas­trol’ Bron­wen Bur­rell, got back be­hind the wheel dur­ing a Jan­uary demon­stra­tion at the Lon­don Rally School – earn­ing a great deal of me­dia cover­age in the process.

‘Puff’ (so-called be­cause the car ‘needed the magic dragon to make it fly’) suc­cess­fully placed 35th out of 96 starters on the Euro­pean leg of the 16,179-mile Lon­don to Mex­ico Daily Mir­ror World Cup Rally; 47 years later, fol­low­ing ren­o­va­tion by Ox­ford-based restora­tion firm Project Shop, Puff will re­peat its his­toric trip on the His­toric En­durance Rally Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s (HERO) Lon­don to Lis­bon Clas­sic Rally (Satur­day, April 22 to Sun­day, April 30).

Bron, aged 72, tracked down her sur­viv­ing team­mate – 77year old Tina Ker­ridge-Reynolds – at the En­durance Rally As­so­ci­a­tion’s His­toric Marathon Rally Show in 2015; to­gether, they plan to re­live the glory days. Be­fore­hand, Puff, Bron and Tina had been putting in ap­pear­ances to cel­e­brate the team’s achieve­ments. Fresh from a star­ring role on the Austin Maxi Own­ers’ Club stand at the Lan­caster In­sur­ance Clas­sic Mo­tor Show, Puff then trav­elled to Mar­shall Group in cel­e­bra­tion of the Cam­bridge firm which pre­pared it for bat­tle in 1970, re­unit­ing with chair­man Sir Michael Mar­shall for the first time in nearly half a cen­tury.

Puff is now the only World Cup Rally spec­i­fi­ca­tion Maxi left run­ning, as Prince Michael of Kent’s car, reg­is­tered XMO 412H, now lives in the Bri­tish Mo­tor Mu­seum as a static ex­hibit. The where­abouts of the two other Maxis that took part in 1970 are cur­rently un­known.

Guest slots at the Bices­ter Her­itage Sun­day Scram­ble and His­toric Rally Car Regis­ter Day helped ce­ment Puff’s his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance; footage from the Lon­don Rally School stage test, recorded for the BBC’s One

Show, was broad­cast na­tion­ally on Mon­day, Jan­uary 16. Puff’s an­tics later went world­wide: A BBC World Ser­vice re­porter rode shot­gun with Bron as Puff prac­ticed.

Puff is soon to turn its wheels in anger again dur­ing Race Retro, held from Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 24 to Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 26. Sum­ming up Puff’s come­back, Bron said: “The ex­cit­ing new chap­ter of our be­gin­ning again in 2017 is cre­at­ing quite a stir re­gion­ally, na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

“The Lon­don To Lis­bon Clas­sic Rally will be a ‘re­play’ of the same leg of the World Cup Rally that we com­pleted in 1970 when I was just 25 and cer­tainly the youngest woman on the Rally, and maybe the youngest of all driv­ers on that mem­o­rable event.”

She con­cluded: “We be­lieve this is tes­ta­ment to be­ing able to achieve any­thing and ev­ery­thing you want to achieve if you have enough‘ want to ’.”

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