• Jan 5, 2009
Click above for new high-res renderings of the Splinter Wooden Supercar

The world's greenest supercar project is progressing nicely. The last time we checked in with Joe Harmon and his team of woodsmen craftsmen from North Carolina State University, the all-wooden car's hand-laid bodywork had been mated with the chassis, which was awaiting installation of the twin-supercharged, 32-valve Cadillac-sourced V8 engine and six-speed rear-mounted transaxle from a modern Chevrolet Corvette. Those 600 ponies will be funneled to the rear wheels, which have center hubs made from pressed and laminated wood, naturally. Even the transverse leaf springs are made from orange osage wood.

Work on the project has slowed so Harmon and his colleagues can finish school, but the Splinter continues to garner attention having appeared in a flattering piece published by Automobile Magazine. While we wait for Team Splinter to graduate and finish the car once and for all, take a look at these new high-res renderings of the arts and crafts supercar.

The Splinter is one of those rare projects that's truly inspiring, and Harmon seeks to prove that wood is anything but an outdated material with no place – outside the dashes of expensive luxury cars, of course – in modern automobiles. Point taken.


[Sources: Joe Harmon Design, Automobile Magazine]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Impressive.

      But I believe the tag of "world greenest supercar" is a little out of place, considering the car is made out of wood, as in chopped down trees.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Generally farmers rotate their crops and have figured out how to take care of their soil pretty well
        • 6 Years Ago
        Trees are a farmed crop like any other.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thanks Watson, except I'm talking about a forest, not a farmer's field.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Renewable yes, but if the forest is clear-cut and no trees are transplanted, the soil can be become unfit for growing. Renewable only if trees are transplanted to replace the cut down ones.

        Obviously in this case only a few trees were used, but still.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...as in trees, a renewable resource.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...which is like a big field, with really big plants (called trees).
      • 6 Years Ago
      The project has been plagued by woodpecker attacks that have kept it behind schedule.

      I wonder if instead of the undercoat, you get termite treatment and a coat of polyeurothane.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's memorable looking, and interesting use of materials, but.. come on. This thing is going to light on fire pretty freakin' easy, and imagine it in a crash. Yikes. There's a reason people use metal and carbon/plastic/kevlar composites.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I doubt the intent is to show the plausibility of building out of wood for any practical application. I think this is a much a art project as anything. I bet this ends up in an art museum someplace rather than a race track.
      • 6 Years Ago
      *Crosses his fingers in hopes of an Amish built frame*
      • 6 Years Ago
      RAF Mosquito - Probably the most successful day night fighter bomber of WWII with performance and range that outclassed most of its peers. Best of all, it was constructed out of balsa WOOD.

      • 6 Years Ago
      The rear looks cool, but the rear not so much. Overall this is some nice art work.
      • 6 Years Ago
      For those that don't want to burden their loved ones with an expensive funeral, now you can opt to be cremated at the site of the accident.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's all fun and games until the firewall ignites and the driver literally goes down in a blaze of glory. Of course, as far as epic deaths go, this one ranks right up there with spontaneous combustion and a mid-air collision.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've been following this car and it's essentially constructed like a carbon fiber vehicle. In this Cade though it uses woven strips of wood veneer instead of carbon fiber cloth.

      As a product and furniture designer, I'm impressed with the method of construction. It's incredible.

      I doubt this will be much more flamable than any other car. The plastics of any modern car interior are the most combustible part of a vehicle, aside from fuel.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Someone is gunning for a job with Morgan.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Funny that this would be called "the world greenest car"... I'm sure "tree-huggers" would thing killing trees to make a car is not very cool at all. But then again what exactly is truely "green"???
        • 6 Years Ago
        Using as little as possible for as long as possible.

        In other words driving a simple fuel efficient car into the ground. This means not trading it in every few years, and actually MAINTAINING a vehicle, and repairing it to keep it on the road even if you are spending more than the vehicle is worth, financially.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm at odds with the nose....its like something out of Tron making a kissy face....
      • 6 Years Ago
      The aircraft in the background is a WW2 De Havilland Mosquito.

      That's no coincidence - it was built entirely out of plywood when wood was thought to passe for aircraft.
      Geoffrey De Havilland took his idea to the UK Air Ministry who initially shooed him away, but he persisted and when they saw a prototype demonstration, they ordered it on the spot.

      It became by all accounts the most devastating fighter/bomber of WW2
        • 6 Years Ago
        "It became by all accounts the most devastating fighter/bomber of WW2"

        Not quite. The Mosquito was originally an unarmed bomber/reconnaissance aircraft. It performed remarkably well in those roles. Later variants were used as night fighters and fighter/bombers (what we would refer to today as an "attack" aircraft). It was never used strictly as a daytime fighter. Aviation historians everywhere credit the North American P-51D Mustang as the most devastating fighter of WW2, although Richard Bong did fly the P-38 Lightning while racking up 40 kills, for which he received the Medal of Honor, and still stands as the record for a U.S. pilot. An interesting side-note concerning Richard Bong. He died the same day that the U.S. dropped the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. He was a test pilot in the first U.S. jet fighter, the P-80 Shooting Star, and crashed shortly after take-off from what is now Van Nuys Airport. He crashed into a vacant lot next to Victory Blvd. Because of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb that same day, Bong's death was barely reported.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Meh. P38 Lightning > Mosquito any day of the week. Just ask Richard Bong.
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