I’ve been busy getting MAX ready for a MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine photo shoot. I’ll tell you, when you’re making a car pretty, there’s always something else you can do to make it prettier. MAX’s last appearance in the magazine (unless there’s another Escape From Berkeley and we win it again) will be in the Feb/March 2013 issue. We decided the rode-hard-and-put-up-wet look had gone far enough, and we should close this saga with MAX lookin’ good.
And so, all of MAX’s fiberglass and Formica parts—including the brand-new nose and a brand-new right rear fender—are off at the paint shop, getting painted ... white. I know, I know, MAX was already white, but truth is, MAX was six shades of white, and it’ll look nicer if we even it up a bit. We’re also going to paint all the exposed steel an alluring battleship gray, including the whatchamacallit.
Deer hoop, front roll bar, anti-intrusion bar, deer catcher—boy, I’ve heard a lot of names for it. It’s that thing behind the windshield made of 1-1/4” round tubing that I’ve been meaning to install since July 2009 (MAX Update No. 30, where I called it an auxiliary roll bar). I sure am glad I didn’t hit a deer in the interim because even the preacher at my memorial service would have said, “You’d think Jack would be smart enough to take his own advice, but NOOOoooo.” And then they'd play "Dear Prudence" from the Beatles' "White Album," and the preacher would say, "Deer ... prudence; get it?"
This is not a competition-quality roll bar. I think for road racing, the braces have to be within 6” of the top of the hoop, and MAX’s forward braces are low enough to be covered by the scuttle (an antique Britishism for the part of the body between the hood and the cockpit, or it would be if they called the hood the hood instead of the bonnet, and called the top the top instead of the hood—two nations divided by a common language and all that). But even though MAX isn’t destined for the racetrack, and even though MAX has roll bars in the headrests, I can imagine a variety of circumstances where a little extra protection would be valuable. I don’t plan on experiencing them, but I can imagine them, and they don’t all involve deer.
If you're wondering why it took me so long to install this device, it's simple: I feared it would interfere with reaching 100 mpg. Having met that goal, I'm free to focus on comfort and safety, which seem to matter to some folks. Go figure.