Splinter : The Wooden Supercar
It's not very often that a new car comes out and gets an almost unanimous "Why?" The introduction of Splinter, the wooden supercar did just that. Just to be fair, it was quickly followed by a "wow!"
The reasoning for opting for wood composite is simple, "Wood has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than aluminium or steel, and it possesses a versatility that makes many types of construction techniques possible" according to Joe Harmon, who is head of the project.
Joe and his team of students from North Carolina State University planed to replace as much metal as possible with a combination of Maple, Plywood and Medium-Density Fibreboard. All told, the chassis, body, most of the suspension system and even the wheels have been replaced with wood.
It gets power from a 4.6L NorthStar V8. Using a pair of roots superchargers it develops 600hp. The V8 is attached to a 6-speed gearbox and together they make a calculated top speed of 240mph. For obvious safety reasons, Splinter has been fitted with a full roll-cage.
It could be a worthwhile investment in the long run, as long as furniture polish stays less expensive than car wax.