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The Maxton Story

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Maxton on blocks without the body Cream Maxton with cockpit cover Cream Maxton with the hood up Cream Maxton test drive Cream Maxton on blocks with the body Horizontal Line

Getting from the vision to the reality would take some skills Bob did not have. Knowing what he was looking for, he assembled a small group of talented people and charged them with engineering the Maxton. Why the Maxton name? Well, it just sounded right. The Maxton team consisted of four men, Bob was the visionary, the driving force, and of course, provided the financing. Michael Mate, a talented local artist was enlisted for the body design. Ben van der Linden, an experienced race car engineer, developed the tubular space frame, onto which Garry Valler grafted on the independent front A-arm suspension utilizing Mustang II Spindles and disc brakes. The entire drive train would be lifted essentially intact, from the first generation RX-7 and with a target weight of 1500 pounds.

With the design complete, Sutherland turned to a small shop in Colorado Springs to weld up a prototype frame. By June 1989 an unbodied, but running chassis was complete. Sutherland and the others drove it. One such “tester” was Dan Ripley. Impressed, the former SCCA racer came to an agreement with Sutherland that he would head up what was soon to be an automobile manufacturing company. A word here about that company. From the beginning, all concerned understood that given Federal safety and emissions regulations, the Maxton would have to be a component car. Note that it was not to be a “Kit Car”. Rather the plan was for Maxton Components to assemble the body/chassis unit, local contractors would independently install refurbished mechanicals, paint the bodywork, and upholster the interior.

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