MAX Update No. 23: Art Class and Watch Brink Tomorrow


It's too darn cold to go in the shop, and I have a lot of work to do. To hit our goal of 100 miles per gallon, we have to get MAX's drag down by about a third, and the only way to get there is streamlining. And to hit my personal budget goal (I want MAX to be a car you can reproduce at home for less than $10,000), MAX needs a simple body.


MAX body design 
Jack McCornack

The practical problem with a slick sleek full fiberglass body is it's going to blow the budget — maybe not for me, 'cause I've built car bodies before and I'm willing to pay myself 35 cents an hour to build another one, but the Michelangelo technique (take a big rock and knock off everything that doesn't look like David) works better on paper than it does in practice. A full body from a commercial fiberglasser is going to cost at least few thousand, and if you don't live on the West Coast, how are you going to get it home? So we're going to try simple first ... or to quote Albert Einstein, “as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

The idea is fiberglass fenders — which have to be a bit complicated — with complex curves to direct the air over and around them, joined together by sheet metal body panels with simple curves. And thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I can work out the details in a warm house instead of a cold shop.

This particular miracle is Rhinoceros, a 3D modeling program with a funny name. When I build a real body to match the electronic/virtual body, I'll know the parts fit before I fit them.

Another advantage of working electronically ... you remember a couple months ago when I mentioned the crew from the Science Channel shooting a Brink segment about us? It'll be on tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 30), and they wanted some graphics right away of what MAX will look like when it's done. Well, maybe it'll look like this, kinda. Except with a roof.

Jack McCornack
2/13/2009 11:41:38 AM

Yes Carol, that would be a head turner indeed. We're considering such for the 2009 Escape from Berkeley, we're going for a stagecoach look, and this time, instead of being the Prisoners of Petroleum, we're the Cowboys of Canola. For a nice execution of the strip canoe car concept, google Jory Squibb and Durago (I think I have Durago right, but I'm sure on Jory Squibb and I doubt there are too many guys named Jory Squibb making high mileage cars).

2/12/2009 11:16:55 AM

I'm pretty sure you've heard of strip canoes. Ever thought of making your body out of wood and fiberglass? It would be a very light load (perhaps you can use something like cedar?). Just think how heads would turn for a car like that!

Mary Jones_1
2/1/2009 7:51:21 PM

So, there I was, paging through ME News and saw my friends Jack and Sharon. Good luck to you! Keep in touch! Yes, I've been a ME NEWS subscriber off and on for years. M

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters