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Revealed: the 240mph wooden supercar
By Ian Dickson
February 21 2008
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. This car really is made out of wood. Plywood, maple and MDF to be precise.
And what better name can you give a car almost entirely constructed of wood than Splinter? However, while wood might not be the most obvious material you would use to create a 240mph supercar, the Splinter is an impressive feat of engineering.
It is the brainchild of designer Joe Harmon, a North Carolina State University student who worked with fellow undergraduate designers to create the world's first wooden supercar. Wood is used wherever possible, and that includes the chassis, the body and in the majority of the suspension components and wheels. Harmon said: "We aren't trying to sell anything, we aren't trying to save the world, and we aren't advocating that everyone should drive a wooden car. This project is a scholastic endeavour in which we are simply trying to explore materials, learn, teach, share ideas and stimulate creativity."
So while it's unlikely to ever meet full production in its current guise, we can at least take a moment to drool over the stats. Power comes from a 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine, centrally mounted for perfect balance, and producing 600bhp. This is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox, largely made of wood, of course. The 15ft-long Splinter can therefore hit 0-60mph in just over three seconds. The advantage of the wooden construction is weight; at 1,135kg the two-seater Splinter weighs 260kg less than the stripped-out Porsche 911 GT3, and will average 20mpg thanks to its slippery aerodynamic shape.
If the Splinter does make production, its creators could have an illustrious career. One hundred years ago British car company Morgan started making cars made from wood, and the company is currently one of the most successful British specialist car makers today.
Revealed: 240mph wooden car
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