joe harmon spends five years building wooden V8 powered splinter sports car
all images courtesy of joe harmon design





with a better strength-to-weight ratio than steel and aluminum, wood can be made into a lot more things than people tend to give it credit for. joe harmon design wanted to push the boundaries on what was considered wood’s limitation as a building material while fulfilling a life long dream of designing and building a car from scratch. the ‘splinter’ was prompted from a WWII airplane called the ‘de havillannd mosquito’. equipped with two rolls royce V12 engines, it was the fastest piston driven plane of its era, and was made almost entirely out of wood. 

joe-harmon-design-splinter-wooden-sports-car-designboom-02the body is made from 




‘splinter’ is a high performance, mid-engined supercar built from wood composites. the body and chassis, along with large percentages of the suspension components, wheels and interior and other details have been made from wood. the chassis is made from a series of bent and molded laminates which were secondarily riveted and bonded together. a custom mold was built for every component of the chassis, and these components were formed, fit and trimmed and bonded together to comprise the overall structure. 

joe-harmon-design-splinter-wooden-sports-car-designboom-03caption woven cherry skins and tessellated end grain balsa core




to achieve the compound curvature required by the body design, the team wove strips of veneer into a cloth. two looms are designed and built by the team to generate this cloth material. two looms were designed and built by the team to generate this cloth material. this innovation greatly increased the wood’s utility in composite construction. the team used woven cherry skins, and tessellated end grain balsa core for the body and laminated wood veneer for the monocoque chassis. the powertrain is centered around a small block 7.0 liter V8 connected to a six speed manual transmission. joe harmon spent roughly five years working on the ‘splinter’ with the help. the goal was to use wood in construction of the car in every possible application, with hopes that the challenges associated with the task would need to new ideas and perceptions of wood. 

joe-harmon-design-splinter-wooden-sports-car-designboom-04the front  joe-harmon-design-splinter-wooden-sports-car-designboom-05the laminated wood veneer chassis joe-harmon-design-splinter-wooden-sports-car-designboom-06the interior cabinjoe-harmon-design-splinter-wooden-sports-car-designboom-07the small block V8 enginejoe-harmon-design-splinter-wooden-sports-car-designboom-08three piece forged aluminum rims with laminated wood center section

joe-harmon-design-splinter-wooden-sports-car-designboom-09concept rendering