MAX Update No. 11: I Ride an Old Paint …

Reader Contribution by Staff
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… but it’s too late in the season to go to Montana and throw the hoolihan. Time flies when you’re having fun.

In the photo below, you’ll see Dave Levison driving the freshly painted MAX out of the loft. Note that Dave is a pretty big boy; he doesn’t rattle around in the cockpit much. In preparation for Escape from Berkeley (by any non-petroleum means possible), we invested $39.90 in 10 rattlecans of Rustoleum and painted MAX to match No. Six’s green and yellow Lotus Seven sports car in the opening credits of ThePrisoner. It’s a long story, but the short form is The Prisoner was a BBC action/adventure/paranoia/social commentary TV series of the ’60s, in which a secret agent resigns and is whisked off to a surreal penal colony run by who knows who. For 17 episodes whoever they were tried to extract his secret (why did he quit the spy biz?) and “No. 6” tries to escape. Forty years later, the show still has cult status. Can you believe it?

Anyway, since MAX already looks a lot like a Lotus Seven, we named our team The Prisoners of Petroleum and painted MAX in homage. It looks pretty good in this photo, doesn’t it? That’s because I know the secret to making a $39 paint job look as good as a $2,000 paint job.

The trick is to take your photo from some distance away, and then compress the photo really small so it’ll fit in a blog column. MAX has what is known in the car racing industry (I’m not making this up) as a 50/50 Paint Job. That’s one that looks decent from 50 feet away at 50 mph.

Well hey, that’s plenty good enough for the Escape from Berkeley. It’s the only event where MAX will look like this. We’re doing quite extensive bodywork development. Soon, all those green and yellow bits are going to be replaced with a slippery new body. We’ll probably get the next body painted by somebody who knows what he’s doing, but this one got painted in record time by Dave and me — a couple of guys who’ve never had a lesson and had a lot of other work to do.

We have less than a week to get our Plant Drive vegetable oil conversion kit installed, plus figure out some front fenders so we can keep driving if it starts raining. And if we’re going to be competitive in this event, we’re going to need to install some rally-style instrumentation. Then we have to drive from Oregon to Berkeley in time for the send-off party Friday night, October 10.

If you’re in the neighborhood, we’d love to have you there to wish us well. MAX should be looking pretty good because it’s gong to be dark. Just don’t touch the front fenders because the paint will still be wet.

Photo by Jack McCornack
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