Friday 1 February 2013

Rally - Maxi-mum desire

Sorely tempted to spend money this morning. Within the Brooklands Museum in Surrey there is a rather specialist auction house called ‘Historics at Brooklands’. It was established in 2010 and since then has hosted eleven auctions all full of desirable, exotic and unusual stuff.
One item in their next sale planned for Saturday the 7th of March caught my eye, and fulfils all of the above criteria, although some of you may not agree!

I know it’s not the most beautiful or soul-stirring ex-competition machine in the world, but it most certainly sugars my porridge. It’s a 1750cc Austin Maxi which first saw service on the1970 Daily Mirror London to Mexico World Cup Rally and was driven by three ladies Tish Ozanne, Bronwyn Burrell and Tina Kerridge.

The girls were in 35th place (out of 106 starters) when they retired the car in Argentina bogged down in Pampas grass in the middle of nowhere after a rainstorm which dumped 4 inches of water on them in an hour.

With 38,000 miles on the clock the car is now up for sale.

Way back in the 70s, I had two Maxis, one after the other. Both were company cars, the first a 1500cc job and the second one a 1750. Both were used for autotests and navigational rallies (unbeknownst to my employers) and also used for spectating on big events. One of the Maxi’s most desirable attributes was a pair of front seats and a rear bench which folded flat to create a sumptuous double bed. So no need for B&B when following the Scottish and the RAC - the real ones!

The trick in those days was to fit ‘World Cup’ bump-stops. This had the effect of limiting the travel of the Hydrolastic suspension and resulted in an over-steering front wheel drive car. Magic. Hence my interest in this auction.

There’s just one wee problem, or perhaps 20,000 wee problems. The auctioneers have estimated a guide price in the region of £19,000 - £24,000.

I know the wife will be impressed with the five door hatchback description, but the car has a roll cage, competition seats and all the period gubbins inside. That will be more difficult to explain.

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