Splinter Wooden Car

There are plenty of one off hand built cars out there, but how many can you say are made of wood?  Well, Pinewood Derby cars, Soapbox Derby cars to name a couple.  But this wooden car is full size  that drives!

The Splinter Hand-Made Wooden Car is built with an emphasis on wood as material, where every part that could be made from wood was made from wood.  The body itself is built from a tight wooden weave that looks like a brown carbon fiber (WOOHOO!).  Much of the frame and interior are made of wood, as well as many other components that might surprise you.  The Splinter Sports Car is the brain child of builder Joe Harmon, who has crafted this car by hand into a progressively-designed street beast that we’d love to see on the road.

Power comes from a mid engine mounted 4.6L, 700hp V8, which should really propel the 2,500 pound car down the road.  Each wheel is made from 10 laminated wood spokes from rotary-cut oak veneer, then connected to a forged aluminum rim. They are then decorated with walnut and ash accents.  According to the builder, Joe Harmon, “Wood-spoke wheels have not been used on production cars in nearly 90 years, so we knew the idea would get a lot of attention.”

As for the body, the build team ran 60-foot strips of cherry veneer through a homemade slicing machine powered by a 1,000-pound hand-cranked winch attached to the trailer hitch of a pickup truck. The one-eighths-inch-wide strips were then fed into a custom-built wood loom, resulting in a strong woven mat. Harmon combined those large mats, other wood veneers, vacuum pressure and Space-Age epoxy to produce the car’s superlight exterior panels in body molds he made from a full-size Splinter mockup. The single transverse-mounted leaf spring – a major component of the car’s front suspension – sent the Splinter group to Kentucky to locate logs of osage-orange wood, some of the strongest wood in the country. Its flexibility and ready availability in prairie states made it the perfect material for Native American longbows and, as Harmon discovered, long leaf springs.

So why would someone build this?  As a business card!  Harmon has graduated from North Carolina State University’s graduate program, and is now looking for a job.  As he says, “…having a whole car to show someone at a job interview beats just about anything else you could bring.”

We aren’t sure about the name, though.  Does that describe what happens during the crash tests?

Check out Joe’s website at www.joeharmondesign.com to keep up to date on this car.  I’ll tell you what, though – we might just have to fly out and check this bad boy out for ourselves!

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