MAX Update No. 63: What Could Be Better?

| 11/17/2010 2:11:55 PM

No, this is not a rhetorical question. I'm confident I can get MAX back the way it was, but surely this is the perfect opportunity for improvements.


Here's a few I have in mind, clumsily photoshopped onto a photo of MAX. No, this is not a recent photo, Oregonians don't wear shorts in November; we clicked this pic a couple months ago, but I added the computerized imagery today and, as you can see, I've never had a lesson.

From a drag standpoint, MAX still has some low-hanging fruit. Here are five improvements that won't break the bank:

1) I know, I know, intuitively it doesn't make any sense, but we can reduce MAX's drag by adding a spoiler to the stern. Mind you it would be even better to make a whole new stern section, and a spoiler is a way to solve a problem that ideally wouldn't be there in the first place, but car design is a compromise. The Lola which provided MAX's rear fenders was a race car, and it needed to be short enough to snick in front of other race cars, and that's a little too short for optimal streamlining. As far as the wind is concerned, a spoiler can make a car behave like its trunk deck is longer and taller, yet it'll still fit in the same size parking space.

A spoiler for MAX will cost peanuts. A sheet of aluminum with a 2” lip on top and holes for the tail lights and the license plate bolts. It'll be easy to plant a spoiler on the back..

Jack McCornack
11/29/2010 11:15:04 PM

Thanks for the comments. My 14" wheels are cast aluminum and conventional racing hubcaps won't fit, but I'm looking into substitutes (I wasn't kidding about the pizza pans). As for hypermiling, I want to make the car do the work, not the driver, so no pulse-and-glide or the like. Air dams are very effective on cars with draggy bellies, but with a sufficiently smooth undercarriage I think you're better off without them. At Bonneville Speed Week, modified stock cars run air dams, but the streamliners don't. Full skirts on rear fenders are always going to be a help. Full skirts on front fenders, well, it depends on how wide you want your car and how much you want to steer. Dodici, one man's underpowered is another man's adequate. Which of my ideas are not applicable? (And BTW, I've been an EAAer since the '70s; lots of good information there)

Dodici Cilindri
11/27/2010 2:12:56 PM

Since we are basically dealing with an underpowered vehicle that has difficulty getting out of it's own way, some of the ideas you presented are not applicable. Prior posts indicate a terminal velocity that may exceed a Piper Cub. However not by much. As such you need to be looking at the reading list of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). I would also suggest the book section from the catalog of Aircraft Spruce. You will also find much worthwhile information concerning both metallic and non metallic body construction means and methods. The end goal of improving the mpg of your land vehicle is not that much removed from the lift/drag ratio of a glider.

11/26/2010 2:41:05 PM

full skirts on the Auto Union V16 type C Streamliner. Like this one.

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