For over a year now, Joe Harmon and his crew of graduate students from North Carolina State University have been building the Splinter, a "Supercar" made mostly from wood. This car is Joe's NC State Master's thesis, a project which he explains is a "scholastic endeavor in which we are simply trying to explore materials, learn, teach, share ideas, and stimulate creativity."
Wood is being used in every possible part of the car, including the chassis, body, and large percentages of the suspension components and wheels. Don't be fooled, this isn't a wooden car sculpture, this is going to be a high performance street machine. Joe and his team are aiming for a target weight of about 2,500 lbs and over 600 horses under the wood veneer hood.
Now before I get an avalanche of nasty emails, let me just say that this car is not a shining example of sustainability. It's not intended to be. This is an endeavor in innovation and creativity. I think it's greenUP-worthy because it is breaking from convention like this that reminds us to rethink design, process, and materials.
Finding creative solutions for and creative use of materials that we have is a key to sustainability. Although not motivated by a passion for the environment, Joe's team has done a lot of the 3 R's. Mainly because they are grad students and not funded by government bailout money, Joe and his team spent much of their time scavenging through junkyards, scrap yards, and back yards to find the materials they needed.
See photos of the process on the next page...