MAX is a Locost that uses a streamlined body and a small diesel engine to get remarkable (100 mpg) fuel economy. MAX is the proof-of-concept prototpe for the Kinetic Mk1 MAX, a high efficiency sports car you can make yourself for ten grand. I (Jack McCornack) designed, built, and drive MAX, and to paraphrase Richard Bach, I am confident I can answer all your questions to my complete satisfaction.
•Is MAX finished yet?
Nope, and may never be--MAX just keeps getting better; or at least more civilized--but it has reached the "good enough" stage. Conventional car manufacturers do the same; their next year's model will have improvements over this year's model.
Here's MAX in the spring of 2012...
...and here's MAX in autumn, five months later...
...with a newly molded nose (note the radiator air opening) and a glass windshield .
•But what about a top?
Because MAX is so low to the ground, if there's a top in place, it has to have a hinge or aMAX has a fabric convertible top now, and we're working on a removable "coupe" cabin--that's one of my big projects for this spring and summer. Either way, it'll be a convertible, because MAX is too much fun as a roadster to give MAX a permanent roof.
•Where can I see MAX live and in person?
MAX will be at all three 2013 Mother Earth News Fairs and probably at the Bay Area Maker Faire as well. We don't have confirmation yet on the Maker Faire but they liked MAX last year.
I'm hoping to have the coupe done in time for the Mother Earth News Fairs in Seven Springs PA in September and Lawrence KS in October,...but I may stick withe ragtop because I can roll it up and hide it in the car when the sun calls, and the removable hardtop will have to be stored off the car somewhere when it's not in use.
•Is MAX ready for public release?
Yes indeed. The only differences between MAX and a traditional Locost (easily the world's most popular plans-built car) are the engine and the body. The engine is an off-the-shelf Kubota D1105-T industrial engine and we stock the one piece you need to adapt that engine to an automobile transmission.
•What about the body?
You could build your own streamlined body today the way I built MAX (see MAX Updates No. 45 and higher) but if I were you, I'd wait a few months for us to have a complete body kit available.We have molds for the nose and the rear fenders, and molds for the doors and scuttle will follow shortlly. There are a bunch (five at present) of beta testers working with these bodies now, and I'm confident we'll have streamlined bodies on our parts list by the time you've built your chassis and put it on its wheels.
•How about the Lotus-style body?
That's available now, and we've shipped lots (like over 100 noses) of those body parts to Locost builders. The original Prisoners of Petroleum body (the Lotus Seven look-alike body we ran in Escape From Berkeley, with the green and yellow Patrick McGoohan paint job) went to a guy here in Cave Junction who is making himself a MAXine (a gasoline engine vs. MAX's diesel). You can make your own car with either body.
•Any other finishing touches?
When I made the convertable top I gave MAX a conventional windshield, plus I added a front roll bar; the main reason is I live in deer country and I don't want Bambi in my lap, but it'll provide some additional crash protection too...
•Good, because your chassis looks pretty flimsy.
Oh yeah? This basic space frame chassis design has been proving itself on racetracks for half a century, and it's clearly quite robust. Here's a video of a racing accident in a field of Lotus Seven derivitives, and if I had to go through something similar, I'd rather do it in MAX than in my Miata (or in my minivan, for that matter).
•So back to the "finishing touches"?
The square notch behind the front wheel will be blended into the fender, the radiator air inlet will be sized appropriately (as opposed to blocked with duct tape as it is today), the turn signals will move into the headlight nacels, and lots of improvements to fit and finish.
•Good, because MAX is looking kinda ratty for a showcar.
That's because MAX isn't a showcar. MAX is a proof-of-concept prototype, a test mule, and a daily driver with over 100,000 miles on the clock. Showcars are made for shows, and MAX works for a living.
•I want to make a car just like MAX, what year/model Toyota Corolla should use?
There's some overlap of years where "corolla" got used as a model name for both front- and rear-wheel drive cars, but it's -some- '75 through -some- '87 (only the AE85 and AE86 models after '83). Here's a wiki article on Corollas...
...but most important is it have a T50 manual transmission--that's the five speed that fits our adapter--and it's in some Coronas and Celicas too; see:
You can read the whole MAX saga here and on the Mother Earth News web site, and more FAQs are coming.