4 Best Cars Built out of Wood
April 7, 2015
It’s true that auto technicians are used to dealing with vehicles that have wood paneling as part of the décor, both inside and outside. Likewise, graduates of car sales training courses might even promote wood trimmings as a classic touch to any modern vehicle. It’s not every day, though, that auto detailing training grads get to apply a fresh coat of wood varnish on a car exterior.
While cars made of wood definitely aren’t common these days, they aren’t unheard of. In fact, there have been some excellent and inspiring wooden vehicles made over the years and even recently. Here are four noteworthy ones:
Istvan Puskas’ (Almost) Entirely Wood Car
While some cars mentioned here incorporate significant amounts of wood into their design, Hungarian agricultural worker Istvan Puskas used all the wood he possibly could. Built over a few months during the winter, when it wasn’t farming season, Puskas’ wooden wonder uses wood for the frame, wheels, gearbox, axels and even the gas tank (an old beer barrel). The steering wheel is from a Mercedez Benz and the engine is from a Fiat 126.
Puskas’ wife Iron encouraged him to build the car, which he rides around the dirt roads near his home. It can’t be licensed, but police don’t mind him driving it as long as he doesn’t stray too far.
Friend Wood’s Tryane II
German carpenter Friend Wood used cold-moulded African mahogany wood to build the body of the three-wheeled Tryane II. The chassis, engine and wheels (at least three of them) came from the Citroën 2CV.
Built in 1989, it weighs 408 kg. Thanks to its light weight, it can travel up to 162 km/h.
Chrysler Town & Country
When it comes to mass-produced wood cars, there aren’t that many. There was, however, one brand that incorporated quite a bit of wood into their exterior design, the Chrysler Town and Country. In particular, the first generation of the car, produced between 1941 and 1950.
A favourite of surfers before the VW bus came along, you’ve probably seen this car in old movies or at vintage auto shows. They look like this:
Whether they were convertibles, early station wagons or coupes, their doors and side paneling were all made of wood. One of the reasons behind this, besides the stylistic advantage, was that wood was cheaper to use.
Is a wooden supercar possible? Designer Joe Harmon thinks so. Along with his team, he constructed The Splinter using 90% wood components, including parts of the wheels, to prove just that. A twin-supercharged 4.6 liter V8 engine makes up most of the remaining 10%.
The exhaust is external in order to avoid overheating. It seems like Harmon has thought of everything, except for one drawback: it doesn’t actually drive…yet. Have a look at this wooden beauty prototype:
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