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..
2) A head fairing. MAX is getting slippery enough that little things are starting to matter, such as my head sticking up in the breeze. We can cut that drag in half by streamlining my head from the back. It will also cover the roll hoop, which should probably be there, right? Roll bars pay for themselves with a single using.
I’ll make one for the passenger too, though I didn’t draw it in yet. As you can see, I was rapidly running out of artistic talent.
3) I’m still torn on the best way to deal with this part of the car. A chin-high bump on the scuttle is enough to deflect the air over the driver — it doesn’t even have to be clear since I can see over it — but that bump won’t deflect a deer. I wear goggles for eye protection, and they’re fine for bugs, but goggles won’t stop a deer either. Even a windshield won’t stop a deer, unless it’s well braced with other structure, and a windshield with a roll cage behind it is the safest way to go, but that will add drag and…how safe is safe enough? Hey, Danger is my middle name, and I have a motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license — I think MAX is safer than a motorcycle and apparently that’s good enough for me, though it may not be good enough for you.
4) I think filling in that notch behind the front tires will improve airflow a tad. Tuft testing will tell.
5) Goodyear sent MAX a set of Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires, like the ones on the Avion (see MAX Update No. 57) which they say can improve fuel economy by 4%. If so, that’s a lot of bang for the buck, and I’m looking forward to testing them.
But first I have to get MAX back on the road. Busy busy busy, work work work.
Photo by Jacky Leggitt
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