MAX Update No. 85: (Fill In The Blank) Turismo

Reader Contribution by Staff
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When George Voll (the guy with the diesel Metro) and I got to our rooms at the 2011 Seven Springs MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, our first act was to unload our cars and make ourselves at home. George had it easy, he’d packed for a September weekend indoors. I had it harder, because MAX was packed for a multi-month road trip, with considerable camping thrown into the lodging mix. So while George was bebopping up the walkway with a suitcase in one hand and a toothbrush in the other, I was emptying the nooks and crannies of MAX’s interior. Of which there are many.

I didn’t empty all of them, because lots of things could stay in the car. I didn’t need to take my tent or mattress pad (inside the right front fender) or sleeping bag or tarp (in the pontoon under the right door) or gallon of gear oil (Lucas SAE 75W-90 Synthetic for the transmission and differential; inside the left front fender) or quart of engine oil (ditto Lucas Synthetic, stuffed in there with the tarp) into the room with me, but I brought everything else.

Let’s see, from left to right on the hood in the image above, there’s a large quantity of laundry (in a black trash bag–trash bags are great for keeping stuff out of the rain, and yes I reuse them), my motorcycle rain suit, my big green cloth MOTHER EARTH NEWS bag full of everything not otherwise categorized (notebooks and toothbrush and power supply for my MacBook Pro and CD player and…), a Tupperware container (with my registration, insurance card and receipts) sitting on top of my laptop computer (a guy’s gotta write, right?), a cooler for food and drink, and in the foreground, hat gloves goggles and helmet. On the trunk is my tool kit (in the blue gym bag) and the black rollaway bag contains clothes that haven’t turned into laundry yet.

Here’s a photo taken a couple of months earlier, the day before the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge. I took out everything that time because I wanted to do real well in that competition (and I did–127 MPG, which was better than I’d expected) and economy goes down as weight goes up. I hadn’t picked up the Lucas lubricants yet, and I had enough gerbil food boxed up to last me a couple of weeks, but otherwise it was pretty much the same stuff I had in Pennsylvania.

Point is, despite its diminutive size, MAX has substantial luggage capacity, to go along with its long legged touring car creds. At a fuel stop on my way back to Oregon, a sportscar aficionado was marveling at how much baggage I had with me and said, “So it’s a GT, eh?” I laughed and said, “Well it’s sure a Turismo, but I dunno about the Gran part.”

Just what is a Gran Turismo? The Wikipedia grand tourer page explains:

A grand tourer (Italian: gran turismo) (GT) is a high-performance luxury automobile designed for long-distance driving.

The Ferarri 250 GTO is a fine example of gran turismo. MAX is likewise an “automobile designed for long-distance driving,” but “high-performance luxury“? Not so much. So what kind of car is MAX?

“Green Turismo” is too on-the-nose, as they say in Hollywood. It’s a good name for a long distance high mileage sporting event (coast to coast, perhaps?) because the spectators would get it, but it’s way too cute for a class of car. EcoTurismo is a bit more subtle, and it even sounds vaguely Italian, but it would get abbreviated to ET and I don’t want to phone home. Your suggestions in Comments will be appreciated.

Photos by Jack McCornack

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