Lot 217 - 1969 Austin Maxi ‘1970 World Cup London to Mexico City Rally Car’
|Odometer reading||38,757 miles|
|Estimate||£19,000 - £24,000|
In 1970, the England football squad, led by Sir Alf Ramsey, were preparing to travel to Mexico City for the Word Cup. The Daily Mirror, in conjunction with the Royal Automobile Club, sent out a press release announcing a unique motor sport event; a rally which was to be waved off by Sir Alf Ramsey from Wembley Stadium on 19th April 1970 to finish in Mexico City on 27th May to coincide with the start of the world football tournament. The rally was named the 'Daily Mirror World Cup Rally' and the route passed through Munich, Budapest, Monza, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago La Paz and Panama.
Four BLMC Austin Maxis were prepared for the event; two works supported cars and two private teams - one of which was entered by The Royal Hussars/17/21 Lancers with Capt. HRH Prince Michael of Kent and a further private entry, which is presented today, prepared by Marshalls of Cambridge which was driven by three ladies led by Tish Ozanne with Bronwyn Burrell and Tina Kerridge as co-drivers. The event was gruelling; with 4,500 miles in Europe and 11,500 miles in South America to be covered, the tight schedules demanded a high pace be maintained in order to make each timing point with the crews also requiring oxygen whilst travelling above 15,000ft in the Andes. Out of 106 starters, only 26 finished. Hannu Mikkola won the event; Rosemary Smith finished 10th in the Works Maxi taking the Ladies prize, while the other Works Maxi finished 22nd. Capt. HRH Prince Michael of Kent went off the road at Ltuporanga, 10 miles from the start at Rio, smashing his drive shafts in the process, and withdrew. The Marshalls car sadly lost time by getting stuck in mud after leaving Buenos Aires and also had to withdraw. Apparently, the ladies were understandably devastated by this turn of events.
Of these four cars, only two are known to survive today. The HRH Prince Michael car resides within the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon and the Marshall car, presented today, remains as if it had just been competing in that famous rally. BLMC were keen for all the Maxi's to do well and shared details of the works car preparation with the private teams; therefore, MCE 7G, prepared by Peter Baldwin, apprentice Ray Brand and painter, Richard Watts of Marshalls of Cambridge, is very much as the works Maxi. The modifications are too numerous to mention here, but do include glass fibre bonnet and doors (with Les Leston pins), plexiglass rear and side windows, welded tailgate with modified boot opening, bull bar and mesh, fog and spot lamps easily detachable via the rare Lucas rubber plug, works sump guard, strengthened and guarded suspension, front and rear telescopic dampers plus hydrolastic suspension with hydraulic pipes routed inside the car. A 25 gallon, foam filled (recently re-foamed) flexible fuel tank (dated March 1970) with separate gauge, alloy fuel tank support box and Irvin straps reside in the boot along with shovel, boot dust cover, temporary windscreen, double Lucas fuel pump and Monza fuel filler. The Maxi rides upon its original magnesium wheels with a further two being secured on the roof, all shod with new competition Maxsport tyres.
The engine was originally a 1500cc unit with a cable change gear box; however, Tish Ozanne later improved the car by fitting a 1750cc unit with a rod change box for events in Europe. Inside, a John Aley roll bar is fitted, standard modified seats with rear storage, under seat tool storage, Britax seat belts front and rear, braced Intertech steering wheel, rear parcel shelf mounted suspension pump with the reservoir inside the boot, Halda Twinmaster, Smiths eight day clock with pea lights, rev. counter, 240kph rebuilt Smiths odometer, oil pressure gauge and battery gauge. Due to the altitude in the Andes, a 40,000ft altimeter is fitted with oxygen supply pipes and regulator. A push button starter gets things going.
The differences between this Maxi in its battle dress and a standard car are legion and go far beyond a few rally lights and alloy wheels. Benefitting from a recent re-commission works and a tune by the original builder, Peter Baldwin, MCE 7G is one of the first 500 Maxis built and is UK registered, fully road legal and drives well with all gauges registering as they should. It comes complete with all the original rally stickers and needs to be viewed to experience what it is really all about. Two large history files accompany the car and include many period photographs, rally maps, original posters and newspaper articles and various rare out of print books about the rally. Several spares also accompany the car including original boxed BL items. We understand from the vendor that MCE 7G has also been invited into non-UK, international rally events. This is a fantastic piece of British competition motoring history, guaranteed to pull a crowd and provide a talking point wherever it goes.