MAX Update No. 19: A Roof over Our Heads

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-transportation/100-mpg-car-roof.aspx

We interrupt this science project for something practical. We'll get back to the subject of drag soon enough.

I have a speaking engagement next week, at The EG, down in Monterey, Calif. They're paying my expenses to get there from my home here in Oregon, which, since I'm taking MAX, should be about $18 of fuel. That, and lots of cough syrup.

It is, after all, the middle of December, and I whimsically refer to MAX as “an all-weather car,” meaning when you go anywhere in MAX, all the weather gets right in the car with you. That's fine for Berkeley-to-Vegas in October, but not so great for Cave-Junction-to-Monterey next Wednesday.

MAX roofStill, this is a great gig — they put out a call for Progressive Automotive X Prize registered competitors to show our cars and talk about our progress — and I sure wasn't going to turn it down over a mere question of comfort. “I'm tough,” I said to myself, going to my laptop for a long range weather forecast. “Good thing I'm tough,” I muttered when I saw the forecast.

Yes, roadster season is over. The trip down will be cold; the trip back will be damp, or at least, that's the way to bet. It's time for MAX to become a convertible. Besides, the final competition rules are predicted to require a top, and I don't think we can achieve 100 mpg with an open car. So I might as well get some experience.

So here's the plan. I've made some fiberglass braces to bridge between the windshield and the roll bar, and I'm covering the gap between them with awning material. The process involves (among other things) learning how to sew.

Here's my progress so far, I think it will keep the raindrops from getting a straight shot at me. And though it's going to look a bit crude close up, it should match the excellence of the paint job at 50 mph from 50 feet away.