Scooters may litter our cities’ sidewalks, but if you really want to solve our nation’s last-mile transportation issue what you really need is rollerskates. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Maxton would get my vote for that role. Let’s see if it’s priced to make it yours too.
Dodge’s first Little Red anything was Bill Golden’s mid-engined D100 which spent the latter hlaf of the ‘60s delighting quarter-mile crowds with its wheel-standing antics. The 1979 Dodge Li’l Red Express we looked at yesterday was a homage to that original Little Red Wagon dragster, and it too had some crowd-pleasing attributes. Sadly for its seller, its $21,900 asking price wasn’t among them. That earned the Dodge a decisive 59 percent Crack Pipe loss.
Have you ever faced the “final mile” issue when it comes to getting around? The concept is that in mass transit, getting riders to regional hubs is fairly easy, while delivering them from there to their final distributed destinations is relatively hard. That’s why we’ve seen solutions like ride-sharing and cities strewn with rentable scooters. Each of these has their place in our on-the-go society, but let’s be clear, pretty much every one of us would rather ride in this 1992 Maxton Rollerskate (more pics here) than in a smelly Uber or flipping the Bird on a city street.
Okay, I know that a lot of you may be unfamiliar with the amazing—and amazingly rare—Maxton Rollerskate. Because of that, I’m going to lay some learning on you.
In fact, I’m going to copypasta the Maxton history I wrote for the last Rollerskate we looked at. It’s pretty comprehensive and I don’t feel like reconfiguring it for a new generation. Apologies for the laziness.
Anyway, please dig in:
Bob Sutherland owned a chain of lumber yards, organized the Colorado Grand, and for a short time ran a car company. He also suffered for most of his adult life from bipolar disorder, a condition that he was able to manage, and for which in his honor was founded the Robert D. Sutherland Memorial Foundation.
Bob died in 1999 at age 56, but his legacy lives on in the vintage rally he started, the business he grew, and the Foundation that his family created in his name so that other suffers of depression may live as normal of lives as he did.
And then there are the 50 sports cars Bob built.
An owner, and successful racer of numerous vintage cars, Sutherland lamented that there was no equatable product on the market. This was back in the mid eighties, before the Miata’s arrival, and while that car channeled the ghosts of British roadsters past, it would probably have proven too heavy and compromised to fulfill Sutherland’s vision.
Assembling a team - which included auto designer Michael Mate, SCCA race car engineer Ben van der Linden, and suspension builder, Garry Valler - Sutherland set out to build a modern interpretation of a lightweight sports car - something a little more than a Lotus 7, and a little less than that company’s Elan. The result looked like a melding of those two cars, with some Frogeye Sprite thrown in for good measure. The cut-down openings allowed egress without the weight of doors, while the laid on their side VW Bus tail lights look purpose built for the car. Overall, Mate’s body design was at once reverent to its progenitors and wholly original.
Underneath, there’s a purpose-built square tube frame to which double A-arm front suspension with Mustang II spindles and a Mazda RX7 live axle have been attached. The Mazda family line goes even deeper with the rest of the driveline as all the Maxtons were powered by that company’s Wankel engines.
When I say all the Maxtons, it should be clarified that that means all 50 cars. It should also be pointed out that these were not kit cars - they were component cars - completed in Maxton’s Englewood CO factory save for the engine - which was up to the buyer to install. Unfortunately, few shared Sutherland’s vision, and the company shuttered before any more cars could be mated with motors.
A sad tale, right? This one is claimed to be #007 (just like Jimmy Bond!) out of those fifty and it presents in a 2014 respray of its original Alfa Romeo what-a-Maroon. There are a mere 14,000 miles on the clock and those miles have been made possible by way of a naturally aspirated Mazda 13B rotary engine and five-speed manual anti-theft device.
The selling agent says the interior has been reupholstered and it looks pretty tidy in its two-tone biscuit and tan color scheme. A black vinyl top and side curtain kit come along with the car to help keep it all that way. Revolution four-spoke alloys underpin and even provide the spare in the boot.
There’s not a lot to distract you with a Rollerskate, and should you need accouterments like a radio, HVAC or a backup camera, you’ll just have to look elsewhere. Hell, there aren’t even doors on the Maxton, a factor that obviously contributes to its claimed 1,080-pound bantam-esque weight. The title is clear and smog equipment is included should your State require such a thing as clean air.
The asking price is $18,950 and yes, you could buy a whole slew of Miatas for that much. That would give you a choice of which color to drive on any given day, but then you wouldn’t have a car as cool as this Maxton. If that kind of thing doesn’t matter to you, then go for the Mazda. We’re not here to judge.
For the rest of us, however, this represents a rare opportunity to experience a cool home-grown sports car that’s a bit Lotus 7, a smidge Frogeye Sprite, with a healthy dash of Mazda RX thrown in for good measure. No, Maxton wasn’t successful, but these cars sure still seem to be.
What’s your take on this Rollerskate and that $18,950 price tag? Does that seem like a fair deal to get to where you’re going in style? Or, is that an asking that’s a total mis-skate-ment?
H/T to Glemon for the hookup!
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