Splinter Supercar Made of Wood

Splinter Supercar
Splinter Supercar

Fact or Fiction?

Approaching the serious idea of constructing a super car out of wood is cause for doubt, especially, with consideration to heat, weight and safety and their disastrous effects. However, put all notions of political correctness and conventional logic aside and consider the possibility.

That's exactly what some graduate students at North Carolina State University have done. Stated on their web site, “...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." Stimulate creativity is an understatement. At first glance, a glorified tree trunk on wheels but closer look at the detail, from inner body structure, wheels, exterior, steering and suspension components, and a complex project of design and engineering start to unravel.

Easy to think of this project, called Splinter, as a fancy car design drafted on computer with a wood grain exterior, but actually it's a real vehicle being built. With a target weight of 2500 lbs. the wooden projectile, gets a twin roots-type superchargers Northstar V8 producing 600hp and theoretically capable of 190 mph. Check out the source link below for full story and production photos.

Published Dec 19th, 2007 7:16pm By Brian Potter

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Comments (16)

McJon McJon
So Splinter's owner is out by the country side joyriding up the edge on the cliffs, when an owner of a Porsche 918 RSR notices the speeding "flint" and gives a go at it. He teases Splinter's owner into a one on one race up the railess hair pit turns on the cliff. So the Splinter guy floors his gas pedal and so does the Porsche guy. Since metal is heavier than wood, Splinter maintains a 300m lead against the porsche even with the porsche's remarkable stats in performance. Splinters owner all excited at it's outstanding performance, hesitates to slow down at all, even at sharp corners. As he speeds towards a hair pin turn, a granny is comming from the woods after gathering firewood with her axe and is now crossing the road. She sees a "fancy looking wardrobe lying on its back" speeding furiously towards her. She is now right in the middle of the road, scared at what this "wardrobe" will do to her she tosses all her belongings into the air and runs for her dear life. Splinter's owner feels relieved because he can still maintain his lead and so maintains his speed of 180mph. Now the granny makes it over to the other side just in time to save her dearest life, Splinter the wooden supercar comes flashing past her previous spot and is accidentally caught by her falling axe and the car is split into two equal parts. The owner is seen continuing with the race out of Splinter (while he can) all on his own in mid air as the splitting pieces of Splinter the supercar abandon him traitorously on either side at around 180mph each. The porsche dude couldn't keep up as the distance had grown to the point he lost sight of the "flint" and is dumb founded at its incredible disappearance when he underestimated it and thought he could catch up easily.
Apr 14th, 2012 8:11pm
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joelynn joelynn
A wooden body isn't such a crazy idea- only for the mechanical parts is it mad. Remember the awesome Mosquito fighter/bomber of the 2nd world war- wood construction to keep weight down and it was one of the greatest planes of the war
Feb 15th, 2008 12:46am
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l3fty l3fty
Was impressed with the effort untill I saw the pic with all the wood filler in use. A little putty and a little paint. Make a carpenter what he ain't. Don't like the idea of wooden brake rotors either. Love the steering wheel though.
Dec 27th, 2007 2:48am
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radmeister radmeister
Have to admit it looks cool, although i dont like the idea of 600hp and wood rims, I would have done it differently, aluminum panels covered with a thin layer of wood held on by some nice flush rivets. It would have an oldschool Hispano feel to it.
Dec 24th, 2007 3:10am
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wizard_sktay wizard_sktay
wonder what happen if it crash...
Dec 22nd, 2007 4:56pm
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Rallen Rallen
If you bothered to check out the construction website, I think you might see that the design and construction are actually very impressive, and safe. Marcos made quite a few race cars with monocoque chassis made of wood. Just like these guys. Only he used Aluminum for the suspension and bodywork. Veneer plywood construction was also how some of the fastest prop fighter planes were built. The only reason the aircraft industry moved to metal was because, like the auto industry found, it needed skilled woodworkers and a longer period of time for each aircraft. They were lighter and stronger, but more expensive. Anyone remember 'The Spruce Goose'?
Dec 20th, 2007 12:00pm
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MiracleWhipp MiracleWhipp
don't take it so seriously folks. its a student design & engineering project. have you ever made anything this cool? then zip it!
Dec 20th, 2007 9:07am
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LOL, thats why i said that it would be cool/unique to be able to say that you were a part of that project.
Dec 21st, 2007 12:57am
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Badass_Benny Badass_Benny
Finally, Petrolheads and Tree-huggers can live together in harmony!!
Dec 20th, 2007 8:31am
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i don't know, i guess if they take everything into account: tempurature variations, heat distribution, the natural properties of wood to expand/contract with heat, and all the physics involved, theoretically it is possible, although in order to be safe you would have to account for every variable, or as moyusuf put it, it could catch fire at 190mph. but hey, it would be a pretty cool/unique accoplishment to say that you helped create that car and it did almost 200mph.
Dec 20th, 2007 6:15am
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radmeister radmeister
If you use the proper wood and it is properly treated it can be just as strong and absorb shock as metal. Ive seen wood molds for 20,000lb castings, if you can make that out of wood im sure you can make a car.
Dec 24th, 2007 3:14am
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ummmm... sturctural design flaws 1.its made of wood 2.its made of wood and 3. its made of wood!!!!!!!LOL
Dec 20th, 2007 6:06am
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skychao skychao
id haf to say, its creative and id love to see this thing in action. Looks spectacular and i wish these guys luck. btw i think it looks more like a konigsegg shape with lambo lights and styling cues.
Dec 20th, 2007 5:46am
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_M7_ _M7_
a wood Lambo??? ahhh no....my mistake again ...no much imagination designers I guess
Dec 20th, 2007 4:33am
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moyusuf moyusuf
I'd like to see it catch fire at 190. lol
Dec 20th, 2007 4:32am
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npChaos npChaos
It'd take a certain carpenter from Nazareth to convince me that an all wood car, ironically named the Splinter, will do 190mph without having the effect of a flying Lincoln log. Also will the frame be made of wood too, because I hear Amish-built box frames provide the most support ;)
Dec 20th, 2007 4:05am
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