Bryan Reid, Sr., star of the reality show Timber Kings, is the log house builder in the set-up above, and he's now the proud owner of Cedar Rocket. He told AutoblogGreen that a log-based EV is the natural result of the three guys chatting. "Truly, what else would you think of?" he said. "I mean, really? There has to be something to come out of it other than girls. It was crazy, but it's a good story and nobody gets hurt. It's hard to make the news when everything's positive."
"Truly, what else would you think of?" - Bryan Reid, Sr.
Idea in hand, Reid and his friend set off to actually build the car. Gerald Overton, the mechanic, turned the Mazda into a welcoming recipient, working on the disc brakes, axles, frame, differential, and suspension. While the presence of a television producer kept things moving, Reid said that it still took almost two years. "It started out, not as a joke, but as something very light," he said. "You put a log on a couple of axles and 'ha ha.' It ended up taking many thousands of hours. We don't do anything halfway."
In the end, Reid and the team took the Cedar Rocket to the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona and managed two runs of 55 miles per hour within an hour (that's what Guinness required to hand out the official record). The Rocket is incredibly stable – heavy batteries help there – and Reid pointed out that because the EV uses electric turbines, it's not a quarter-mile car. "It's more like a salt-flat car," he said, because the "turbines that take a while to spin up." Given the right conditions, Reid said the team thinks the Cedar Rocket could go 120-130 mph.
But the point of this car isn't to just go fast. The builders will bring the car to Barrett-Jackson and auction it off next year, but before that it will make the rounds at places like SEMA and a number of unexpected events, like golf shows. The point is to get attention and raise money and awareness for veterans groups. "I believe it's for the best cause in North America," he said. The attention is easy because the car appeals to just about everyone. At Barrett-Jackson, everyone from young girls and boys to people who fought in World War II stopped by to take pictures. "There's nobody who didn't like this car," he said. "It broke all those demographic barriers. It's crazy because it's different. Mother Nature created this wonderful shape," and the team just made it fast.
"It's crazy because it's different."
Using an electric powertrain for this purpose was entirely intentional. Reid did a lot of research before they selected the RX-8 – it had disc brakes and the right suspension setup. Back when the team was considering an air-cooled Kohler engine, made in Wisconsin, the Mazda's gear ratio would have worked well, too. But then where do you put the fuel tank, he said, and they would have to drain the fuel tank each time they wanted to display the car. "Then we starting thinking, man, this is 2016, and that's why we went totally electric," he said. "We're glad we did. It worked out great."