I don't doubt the sincerity of those making these suggestions, but none of it makes any sense to me.
Why would you paint a 97 Explosif with 98 cable routing to look like a 97 Hot because the team riders wanted to compete on Hei Heis?
I don't think that's been suggested. The post I summarized above suggested that Hei Heis were painted to resemble steel team bikes. Presumably the implication is that the bike for sale was a steel team bike.
Why would you paint a ti bike green but leave its chainstays unpainted if you wanted to pass it off as a steel bike?
As Mike says, that's a separate issue.
Why would the 97 team riders want to ride Hei Heis when the King Kahuna had just been developed because they didn't find the Hei Hei stiff enough for racing?
The King Kahuna was, strictly speaking, a Hei Hei
King Kahuna, was it not? It seems possible that "moops" isn't making the same distinction that you are between the two variants.
Why would you try to pass off a round-tubed bike as Columbus Max when Columbus Max has such pronounced biovalisation that the difference is blatant?
In road racing, there are countless examples of rebadging where little effort was made to disguise the fact that the sponsor's decals bore no relation to the frame beneath them. On the other hand, the shaped tubes of the Hei Hei King Kahuna look a little
bit more like the shaped tubes of a Max OR frame.
I don't have any strong opinion about the veracity of the suggestion "moops" made about his or her particular bike, but reading between the lines, I don't think it's quite as implausible as you do. Certainly there are a few unanswered questions.
Calmes dans le demi-jour
Que les branches hautes font,
Pénétrons bien notre amour
De ce silence profond.