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To Mexico on a tank of gas

Craig Henderson built his lightweight, aerodynamic Avion sports car in 1984. He's driving from Blaine to Tijuana. (COYNE PUBLIC RELATIONS)
Craig Henderson built his lightweight, aerodynamic Avion sports car in 1984. He's driving from Blaine to Tijuana. (COYNE PUBLIC RELATIONS)

Craig Henderson expects to spend $42 on gas during his roughly 1,400-mile drive from Blaine to Tijuana, Mexico. He might even have change left over.

The Tacoma native built a lightweight, aerodynamic sports car back in 1984 and named his masterpiece the Avion. In 1986, he set a world record for fuel economy at 103.7 miles per gallon driving from Mexico to the Canadian border.

"I'm about to break it," Henderson said Sunday during a quick stop in Tacoma.

He got behind the wheel Sunday morning at his Bellingham home and drove to Blaine. He's counting those extra miles in the journey.

Henderson's plan is to take Interstate 5 all the way south, driving no faster than 60 mph and stopping for the night in various cities, such as Portland and Redding and Fresno, Calif. Goodyear Tires is sponsoring the trip as a way to promote its Assurance Fuel Max tires, which are on Henderson's car.

He expects to use 14 gallons of fuel, which he is carrying with him.

The Avion, if everything goes as planned, should hit the border late Wednesday.

Henderson is unsure what this trip could mean for his world record, but that's not something he's thinking much about.

"I want bragging rights," Henderson said.

His friend Bill Green styled the red car, and Henderson engineered it. The Avion weighs less than 1,500 pounds and is streamlined so it doesn't disturb the wind.

He has no immediate plans to manufacture or sell his design. There is no funding available and the Avion is composed of recycled components, not exactly a product that can be mass-produced with ease.

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