Wooden supercar on show

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

Joe Harmon, an industrial design graduate from North Caronlina State University, set out to build a two-seat, high-performance, mid-engined supercar from wood composites.

Wood was to be used wherever possible, including the chassis, body, and most of the suspension components and wheels.

“We began by designing the wheels,” he said. “For each wheel, we made 10 laminated wood spokes from rotary-cut oak veneer, then connected them to a forged aluminum rim. Then we decorated the spokes with walnut and ash accents.”

To create the body, Harmon’s team ran 60-foot strips of cherry veneer through a homemade slicing machine powered by a 1000-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 moulds he made from a full-size Splinter mock-up.

An aluminium 4.6-litre V-8 with four-valve heads and a pair of Roots-type superchargers and four air-to-water intercoolers sit under the bonnet.

Harmon says the Splinter should be good for 200mph but he has put too much of his adult life into the project to risk damaging it with such a test.

For more information, pictures and videos of construction, visit the website here.