5 Drivable Cars Made of Wood

In modern life, cars are so integrated into our daily lives that most people rarely think of the alternative materials they could be constructed of.  Back before fiberglass and metal were the norm for constructing cars, wood was the go to source.  Nowadays, most wooden cars are built by hobbyists or vehicle manufacturers building concept cars.  With the world now moving into greener and eco friendly alternatives, we’re sharing a list of wooden cars to show you what might be a view into a possible future.  If you like the article, follow us on Facebook and stay tuned for more!

5. Tryane II

Starting off with a three wheeler, The Tryane II built by Friend Wood is a lightweight, handmade self proclaimed hot rod.  The car weighs in at 900 pound which allows it to travel up to 90 miles per gallon with a top speed of 100 miles per hour.  The exterior of the Tryane II is built using cold-moulded African mahogany.  As for features, it’s a two seater sporting a Citroen 2CV.  It is said that it ultimately took 2000 hours to construct.

4. Sada Kenbi's Maniwa

Commissioned by the Japanese company Sada-Kenbi, the Maniwa is an all wooden convertible supercar with a top speed of 50 mph.  The Maniwa is fitted with a 175cc engine motor, gull wing doors, mirrors, working headlights, and a massive rear wing spoiler.  Although the Maniwa touts itself to be a supercar, due to its handlebars as opposed to a traditional steering wheel, it has more similarities with a three wheel motorcycle than with a car.  That being said, the Maniwa has a driver seat, a rear bench seat that fits two people, and is street legal.  Unfortunately, despite its relatively low manufacturing cost of $34,000,  it is a one of a kind vehicle.

Completed: 2007

Engine: 175 cc 4-stroke

Length: 2,500 mm

Width: 1,300 mm

Height: 1,100 mm

Weight: 390 kg

3. Fuldamobils

Early Fuldamobils, said to be ahead of its time with being of the first cars to have the three wheel configuration and the bubble car concept, might leave you hard pressed to believe these cars were built with wooden frames at first glance.  However, from 1949 to 1957, all of the prototypes and  production models were built with wooden frames and metal frames nailed to them.  It wasn’t until 1957 that they diverged from wooden frames to the use of fiberglass.  All of the models, whether prototypes or production, were 2-doors with an alternative convertible option.  The Fuldamobil is also unique in being acknowledged as the first car in the world to feature a negative scrub radius, now recognized as a major advance in driving safety.

Production: 1950-1969

Body Style: 2-door Coupe, 2-Door Convertible

Layout: RMR


2. Splinter - The World's First Wooden Supercar

Conceived out of Joe Harman’s love for automobiles and to pushing the envelope of wood construction, The Splinter Supercar was born.  The Splinter is an operational, high-performance sports car that took five years to build. Obviously, not all parts of the car could be created using wood, but overall, the Splinter is 90% wood.

Completed: 2015

BHP: 700

Engine: 4.6L V8

Top Speed: 240 MPH

0-60: 3 seconds

1. Toyota Camatte Setsuna

Unveiled at the April 2016 Milan Furniture Fair, the Toyota Camatte Setsuna is a wooden roadster version of Toyota’s electric chassis Camatte.  With it being both electric and primarily made of wood, this build makes it the all around greenest concept car Toyota has made to date. As for its specs, it is a traditional two seater, fitted with two doors, and a 48V electric motor.  What makes it unique is that the body panels are attached using traditional Japanese okuriari and kusabi joints.  This means that it doesn't require nails and allows the panels to be removed and reattached by hand.

Completed: 2016

Wheelbase: 5.91667 ft

Length: 9.91667 ft

Width: 4.33333 ft

Height: 4.08333 ft

Discover the Possibilities

Feeling inspired to build a record breaking wooden structure of your own?  Well, you’re in luck!  Visit our timber & wood building products page to see all the wood & materials we provide.

Be sure to check back often, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have an idea for a project.  We have designers on staff to assist and we provide nationwide shipping.