We've seen wooden cars before, but they've never looked quite as awesome as this supercar one-off that a team of graduate students is building. Named Splinter, the supercar is being constructed as a serious attempt to explore the uses of wood as a bulding material for vehicles, so it's even loaded with a supercharged 600-hp V8 engine that should really give it a roar. More info and photo gallery after the jump.
A group of students from North Carolina State University, led by industrial design student Joe Harmon, are building Splinter as part of a thesis project. Harmon and his car dons intend to look at how to work with wood in car designs, so Splinter even has wooden components in its suspension and chassis.
Crafting a car like this has required them to come up with some innovative uses of laminated wood—the wheels are made of carefully cut and layered oak veneers strong enough to take the stress of a 2,500-pound body—that's as heavy as two Smart cars. And how do you stop the heat from its powerful mid-located V8 from setting fire to the body? Turn parts of it upside down so the exhaust vents over the top of the engine, and incorporate the muffler into the rear wing, where it can also aid downforce.
Inside the car the passengers' legs go between the arms of the suspension, which sounds kinda dangerous, but clearly the team has thought long and hard about it. They want project Splinter to "explore materials, learn, share ideas and stimulate creativity." And go bloody fast. Winding Road via Autoblog][