Joe Harmon apparently took North Carolina State University's original mission as an "agricultural and mechanical" school to heart, as launched a graduate school project there to prove the viability of renewable wood as a construction material for cars by building a modern supercar made of wood.
Sure, horseless carriages used plenty of wood, but in recent years it was left to English specialty builder Morgan to fly the wood flag with its use of wood in its cars' frames. The Chevrolet Corvette also used laminated balsa in its floor as a lightweight alternative to sheetmetal.
Harmon says he was inspired by the World War II-era de Havilland Mosquito light bomber, which was constructed of wood.
The mid-engined two-seater features a 7.0-liter, 700-horsepower General Motors LS3 smallblock V8 engine driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transaxle.
While the engine and parts like wheel hubs and driveshafts are metal, the frame and suspension and even wheel spokes are made of wood. The chassis is a laminated wood veneer monocoque, and the body has a woven-cherry skin over a lightweight balsa core.
Harmon has spent five years completing the Splinter. We hope this perfect marriage of the agricultural and mechanical earned him an A—because this thing is awesome.
Photos by Splinter