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I was timelining the car and the shotgun and stuff too, before I ran into a comment that makes a lot of sense. The Road Warrior, Beyond Thunderdome, and Fury Road all have a central element- Max comes into the middle of a situation that is developing, involves himself in it, it is resolved, and he moves on. One of the characters from each film acts as the narrative focus - or the narrator - for the story, every time.
What if it's literally a story?
What if Mad Max is legendary? He's an archetypical folk hero. Each of our narrators- the Feral Kid, Furiosa- they're telling his story, what they saw of him, who he was. He has the same car because, well, that's Max's car. He rode in on it, right? He has the same outfit because "that's his jacket". Superman has his cape and his symbol. Max's symbols are made icons by the people of the Wasteland. The movies aren't a timeline, they're legends. Stuff about this guy, the Road Warrior, who is coded as one thing and becomes hope through his actions, no matter how self-serving they seem at the time- because redemption has a way of finding Max, and people want to believe.