Wood-bodied car- what wood would you use?

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stuckinthemud

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It’s Friday evening and getting late, idle thoughts time. I thought I’d read up a bit on the “tulipwood” Hispano-Suiza and was surprised to find it was 1/8” mahogany strips riveted to stringers (https://silodrome.com/hispano-suiza-h6c-tulipwood-torpedo/ ) I wondered, if one were to build a “special “ , maybe based on a Morris 8 (or something) what wood would do the job nowadays (post CITES and all that) Preferably using a UK native species, just to be awkward 😀
 
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Ash surely? That is what Morgan still use for theirs.

You may want to use different species for different parts. Cart wheels are traditionally made from 3. Elm for the hub as it is durable and resistant to splitting. Oak spokes for strength, and an ash rim for springiness.
 
More a question about the bodywork really
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If it is only decorative, it doesn't matter what you use. I quite like the idea of an inside out car with burr walnut and leather on the outside and a metal interior
 
If it is only decorative, it doesn't matter what you use. I quite like the idea of an inside out car with burr walnut and leather on the outside and a metal interior
 
Cedar strip would be good, but not very strong Doug fur would be better.

There was a jeep kit car built from 18mm ply irrc.
 
Cedar strip would be good, but not very strong Doug fur would be better.

There was a jeep kit car built from 18mm ply irrc.
The Hustler?
Cedar strip would be good, but not very strong Doug fur would be better.

There was a jeep kit car built from 18mm ply irrc.
Saw the Hustler about car shows but there was a Jeep thing made near Liverpool from mdf can’t remember name at the moment and
 
So I spent some time searching on line, some arguments over whether all those rivets are copper or aluminium, the gorgeous wheel covers are a much later addition (mahogany riveted to aluminium base apparently); the coppering of the underside is later too. The “skin” is mahogany over “something else” over 1/2” ribs. Everyone compares it to boat building, forgetting the builder was an aircraft manufacturer. I suspect the “something else” might be an aircraft timber like Sitka spruce??? Total weight of bodywork including wooden cover over the rear seating compartment, ribs, skin, timber bulkheads and 1500 rivets was 160lb! I imagine the layers of skin were bonded with some kind of cascamite equivalent- the company destroyed all their records to prevent the Germans acquiring them in WWII -including details of how the car body was put together
 
I would use mahogany or similar but triple layered and epoxy bonded with epoxy resin inside and outside.
 
Going down a rabbit hole, Nieuport-Astra were using multi-layered laminations set at 90 degrees to build record breaking racers. The curves on that fuselage are amazing,
 
It’s Friday evening and getting late, idle thoughts time. I thought I’d read up a bit on the “tulipwood” Hispano-Suiza and was surprised to find it was 1/8” mahogany strips riveted to stringers (https://silodrome.com/hispano-suiza-h6c-tulipwood-torpedo/ ) I wondered, if one were to build a “special “ , maybe based on a Morris 8 (or something) what wood would do the job nowadays (post CITES and all that) Preferably using a UK native species, just to be awkward 😀
Not in the same league as luxury kit cars but in the mid-eighties there was a project called Africar. The idea was to provide a low tech vehicle that could be mass produced in developing countries, it was basically a plywood box with the drive provided by a Citroen GS engine and powertrain. The GS engine was an air-cooled boxer twin and like most Citroens the car had FWD.
Despite considerable interest the project failed for lack of money.
 
Two wooden wonders stand out:
  • WW2 Mosquito aircraft - notable for its largely wooden airframe and skin. This was not a WW1 like biplane with a top speed of 100mph, but a 400mph high performance twin engine plane with a range of 1500 miles and a 1800kg bomb load
  • Marcos Cars manufactured high performance sports cars in the 1960s. Plywood chassis, albeit finished with a glass fibre body. Big in motorsport at the time. Later replaced plywood with steel chassis (sadly??)
 
Marcos was one of my favourite manufacturers, Frank Costin is probably my favourite engineer, perhaps even more than Colin Chapman. I even owned a late incarnation Mini Marcos for a year or three. 1275 powered it was both fast and quirky - I loved it.
 
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Yes, I remember the Marcos variations, the 1800 coupe went very quickly considering the occupants were sitting on a sheet of plywood. Almost bought one but chickened out when I saw how many extra holes had been drilled for the seat runners as the previous owner had tried to get it 'just right'. Not wood, but the mostly forgotten Rochdale Olympic predated the Mk 1 Lotus Elite and Elan as cars with fibreglass stressed components. I knew a Rochdale Olympic owner, one long and very uncomfortable trip with him was enough. Let's not forget that the Morris Minor/1000 travellers used wood as a structural component for the 'box' at the back - it wasn't just decorative.
 
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