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Green Transportation

Moving toward a transportation system that fuels healthy people and a healthy planet.


MAX Car 108: Topping It Off With a Handmade Fiberglass Car Roof

My friend Jim* has his MAX on the road now. He has around 500 miles on the clock so far, and wrote some comments on a homebuilt car forum we both subscribe to:

I topped off the tank got on the expressway and drove 55 miles an hour North for 80 miles to visit a friend. The friend drove the car for 10 miles or so & we noticed a storm coming from the east.
Dropped my friend off and drove the car home at 65 to 75 miles an hour to avoid most of the rain 170 miles and put in 2.3 gal. OR 73.9 MPG or $0.05 per mile. Must finish the top.

Yeah, well, if you want to outrun storms in a MAX, your mileage is going to show it, so Jim needs to finish the top. Jim does aircraft fabrication for a living, he's a skilled and talented craftsman, and it's no shock that his car looks prettier than my car, and I expected his top to look nicer than mine too, but I wasn't expecting to see this photo two days later...

MU108a

...or this photo a day after that.

MU108b

Jim used 2” thick expanded styrene insulation board, cut blocks to shape, glued them together in place on his car, and sanded them smooth. He then covered it with fiberglass and carbon fiber cloth, laminated together with epoxy resin. This description does diminish the skill involved (it's a bit like saying, “Michelangelo took a large rock and knocked off all the pieces that didn't look like David”) but that's how it's done.

MU108c

I particularly like the double-bubble look, which was common enough in sports cars of The Day, and the windshield is pretty neat too, it's a mid-50s GMC pickup truck windshield made into a split windshield by taking 14” of glass out of the middle, and flipping it upside down to make it lower and more acute.

MU108d

I'm looking forward to copying this top for myself, it sure looks a lot nicer than my current ragtop. You'll be reading more about this reader-built MAX soon, right here on this blog.

*I'll be meeting Jim in person for the first time in about a month, I'm driving the MPX truck to the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs and Jim's on my route. Much like Will Rogers, I have many friends I haven't met yet.

Photo by Jack McCornack

Check out KineticVehicles.com to make your own MAX.

robertafparrish
10/14/2014 1:37:49 PM

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jackm
10/2/2014 2:37:11 PM

Re the Elio, I look forward to seeing that vehicle reach production. Regarding compressed air power, for DIY I think it'll be most useful as a neighborhood vehicle than a long hauler. Re renewable compressed air, a windmill powered air compressor is a cheap and practical project--we had a guy near the airport who ran his whole shop (well, excluding the lights, duh) off of air power, windmill-charged. He had a heck of a big tank, though.


daves
8/15/2014 1:22:17 PM

Care to comment on the Elio? One advantage , it can use the HOV lanes. www.eliomotors.com


rictheturtleryan
8/9/2014 11:16:57 AM

My goal is an air powered car with the compressor run on renewable energy. I want to break the fossil bone. They already exist in France, runs 70 MPH and goes 120 miles on a tank of air.