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click above image for more renderings of the Splinter supercar

We're not sure what sort of beneficial impact one would get from making a supercar out of wood composites, but if there is one, the students behind the Splinter supercar will find out. The Splinter will be a 600-hp, 2,500-pound goer with wood used for the chassis, body, and parts of the suspension and wheels.

The car is powered by a twin-supercharged Northstar V8. To keep all that heat from doing bad things to the wood, the exhaust exits from the top of the block and out through mufflers in the wing -- which, as you might guess, makes the non-wooden wing quite hot. Other oddities innovations include Osage Orange leaf springs, and seating that puts passengers' legs between the upper and lower A-arms of the suspension. And those multi-colored spokes you see on the wheel? Yep, made of wood.

The Splinter is a graduate project for some students at NC State. They say "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 endeavor in which we are simply trying to explore materials, learn, share ideas, and stimulate creativity." We support that no matter what you make your supercar out of. But for the chance to do 190 MPH in what is essentially a motorized tree, hey, sign us up.

[Source: Joe Harmon Design via Winding Road]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't think anyone is being close minded. It is genuinely cool.
      • 7 Years Ago
      How does a twin-supercharged Northstar V8 wooden car, as they say.... "save the planet" ?

      By this logic, does making a Hummer out of wood, make it environmentally friendly?
        • 7 Years Ago
        where exactly in the article does it say they're trying to save the planet? I mean did you see the part where it says "we aren't trying to save the world" ?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Very nice. I wonder if it comes with a cigarette lighter. Haha
      • 7 Years Ago
      Also very impressed!

      While I ended up with a math degree and lots of EE schooling I was a student member of the SAE while at UIUC. I would have loved to work on a project like this.

      Keep it up, yeah!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wooden car?.....I believe that would be called a Morgan!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Don't forget the plywood aircraft of the first and second world wars. They were excellent performers beating out the metal planes in all areas. The germans even built a wood jet aircraft, or at least the wings and tails were wood.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does the dash and centerstack have genuine steel trim? What's so funny about a wooden car, don't we ride on tree sap turned into tires?
      • 7 Years Ago
      2 things: I love the design except for the "beetle wings" on the rear, and it would royally suck to get your legs snapped off by the front suspension if you crash...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ah....the deHavilland Mosquito...the Wooden Wonder of WWII. It was commissioned with great difficulty in an age when there was not a spare scrap of metal to be had for it's construction.

      But it clearly demonstrated innovation and was highly effective due to it's robust construction (distributed strength and stiffness due to a true monocoque design). Many came back with bits missing after missions, including holes in the sides a man could easily climb through!

      So, I wouldn't dismiss the idea as completely crazy, but I'm sure it would be a huge issue to pass modern crash testing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's the Lamborghini Murcie-Pinebox!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wood, in automotive terms, was better off when it was artificial and slapped on the sides of enormous station wagons.
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