When Croce bought his V-Max in 1986, few aftermarket parts were available for it. Like most folks, he started with a pipe and a jet kit. Then he moved on to minor modifications such as a different handlebar, fork work, a shock and stickier tires. Once he decided to move even slightly away from mainstream mods, he found himself in uncharted territory. So, he fell in to removing stock parts and building custom one-off pieces to replace them. Sometimes he found parts from other bikes that could be drafted into service. Croce didn’t realize it yet, but the seed for Meta-Max had been planted, needing only time and the right environment to come to life.
Gradually the bike progressed to the 165-to-170 rear-wheel horsepower range, which satisfied Croce for a few years. Then the relationship with his V-Max lost its spark, and Croce found himself with his motorcycle mentor/ guru, Lenny Castelli, and a few other V-Max fanatics at PCW Racing discussing how they could improve the machine. They agreed they wanted the bike to have a simple look—an updated power cruiser with a bit of sportbike thrown in for good measure. They would build a musclebike for the millennium, the bike the V-Max should have been in the first place.