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 – 77- year 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 turned its wheels in anger again during Race Retro 2017. 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’.”