Of the four World Cup Rally prepared Maxis, only two are know to survive today. Puff the Magic Wagon, and the HRH Prince Michael of Kent’s Maxi, car no. 72, which now resides within the British Motor Museum, Gaydon and is certainly undriveable.
The Marshall car, No 20, 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 car was prepared with the help of the British Leyland Special Tuning Department based in Abingdon. Many visits were made by the Marshall of Cambridge chief mechanic, Peter Baldwin who was in charge of the rebuild, and all special strengthening and tuning work was done to the BL remit. It took 7 months to prep the little car, but in the end she was as identical as possible to the 2 works cars.
The modifications are numerous but include a 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, and additional hydrolastic hand pump on the rear parcel shelf.
In the boot resides, along with shovel, boot dust cover, temporary windscreen, double Lucas fuel pump and Monza fuel filler 29 gallon bag-tank, the box of spares, fuel can and drive shaft. The Maxi rides upon its original magnesium wheels (all crack tested) with a further two being secured on the roof, all shod with new competition Maxsport tyres.
The car was very underpowered with a 1450cc engine, two tyres on the roof, twin 1 1/2 inch SUs with altitude compensating device for adjustment on the move, a 2-hoop roll cage, a very heavy sump shield and boxes of oil and spare parts. On one occasion during testing, Tish found it impossible to get the car to jump over a ditch, as there was not enough power. It was here that the Maxi earnt the name “Puff”. Because of the popular song of the day “Puff the Magic Dragon”, the car was called ‘Puff’ because the girls believed she needed a magic dragon to make her fly.
The original 1450 cc engine and gearbox were changed to the 1750 cc engine with a rod-change gearbox for the 1970 Sherry Rally which improved performance dramatically.