NC State industrial design grad student, Joe Harmon is building a car by hand. Not just any car. A sports car that can reach 240 MPH. Not just any 700 HP, 240 MPH sports car. A 700 HP, 240 MPH sports car made almost entirely of wood. The body? Wood. The dash? Wood. The seats? Well, they’re wicker. The wheels? Oh, they’re wood too. The suspension? Yes, it’s wood too.
Because he wants strength, but also a reduced weight (wood has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel or aluminum), he is creating the body out of custom made plywood that consists of layers of eighth inch wide cherry veneer strips that are then weaved together, and glued on top of a weaved birch veneer, a core of balsa wood, and then another woven layer of birch. The panels are then vacuumed formed into shape, using the same technique that’s used for carbon-fiber composites. All told, about 30 species of wood are used to make up the car.
According to the last update, which was about a year ago, the outer shell was complete, but the internal components such as the V8 Cadillac Northstar engine and six speed Corvette transmission were yet to be installed. However, the car has drawn industrial sponsors like Delta/Porter-Cable, and has been making the rounds at different car shows.