I’m delighted to announce that other people are successfully building their own MAXes. I’m going to stop fighting the tide and accept MAX as a generic term instead of hogging it as a name for my own personal MAX, but I’m not sure what the plural of MAX should be, so we’ll try MAXes.
And what’s a MAXine? That’s a MAX-like car with a high fuel economy gasoline engine under the hood. There are pluses and minuses with everything, and for some people and places a gasoline automobile engine has enough advantages over an industrial diesel that a gasoline MAX is better than a diesel MAX. Mind you, there are a bunch of people building (or who have built) high performance versions of this car, and I may write about that phenomenon some day, but I’d like to reserve the names MAX and MAXine to describe high mileage cars. A MAX with a Corvette engine is an oxymoron—yes, it will fit, and it will be an interesting car to many (though I wouldn’t want to own one myself) — but it won’t be a MAX any longer.
Okay, back on the subject. A privately owned and built MAX and MAXine have reached the get-in-and-drive stage, which is a big benchmark. They aren’t ready for the road by any means, but they can motivate under their own power and have vroomed around on private property. It has been my experience that people who reach this stage will finish building their cars, and previous to this stage, the builders might or might not get distracted, bogged down, or bored, or they might just like building things more than they like finishing things, and the project might stretch out forever, like Zeno’s runner who can’t ever get more than halfway to the finish line.
Here’s the first of them, a MAX being built by ... well, he prefers to remain anonymous, at least for now. He may come out of the constructor’s closet when he’s done, but he prefers his privacy while building, as do most builders who aren’t shameless egomaniacs like Yours Truly. He’s a superb craftsman, and his car is going to look a whole bunch prettier than MAX when he’s done. It’s not that I’m not a superb craftsman, and I might well be, but I don’t know because I’ve never tried — I’m more the git-’r-done sort and my cars do show it. Anyway, here’s his MAX, under its own steam.
And here’s Dave’s MAXine. You’ve seen Dave before in previous MAX updates; he got tired of making parts for other people and started building a MAX for himself. I took this photo three weeks ago and a week later, he took his first drive. I wasn’t around but I have trustworthy witnesses and I’ll post proof of its mobility as soon as I get to him with my GoPro. That’s a 660cc Suzuki engine from a Japanese domestic market car; it’s essentially a scaled down Geo Metro engine if you can imagine such a thing.
There are other MAXes under construction around the country (the one in the video is in Wisconsin, there’s another coming together on the other side of the nearest Great Lake in Minnesota, there’s one in Florida ...) and we’ll be seeing more of them, but I sure am pleased to see a couple of them get ambulatory. If this were 1900, the builders could say they were done, but in this century, there’s still a ways to go before they present them to the DMV.
It does seem impossible to resist a test drive at this stage; I know I couldn’t.
Not convincing? Here’s a blurrier photo; maybe that’s more realistic.
If you care for details on MAX’s first moves — including a few words of warning about operations of this nature — go about halfway down this page on the Kinetic Vehicles website.
Photos by Jack McCornack and Sharon Westcott
Browse previous MAX Updates.
Check out the 100-mpg Car page for all things MAX.
Discover a dazzling array of workshops and lectures designed to get you further down the path to independence and self-reliance.LEARN MORE