Julia, a wooden roadster made in Romania by the Hungarian artisan Peter Szabó

Peter Szabó is a Hungarian wood artisan. More than simply a carpenter, as you will agree with us after seeing his masterpiece, a wooden roadster that looks great and that, according to Szabó, also rides in a fine way. This is not the first wooden car to appear here at MotorChase. We have also presented you the Splinter and an exclusive interview with its creator, Joe Harmon, but his goals were different. Harmon wanted to show wood as a feasible material for automotive use. Szabó just wanted to create something amazing. His car has been named Julia, after his wife, and it is made basically of wood (the whole body), leather (the seats) and steel (the chassis and other structures).


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Szabó started wondering about how it would be to build a wooden car in 2008, when he designed and created a wooden carriage in only 8 months. Then he conceived the car by sculpting it. His friend Ferenczi Csaba Zsolt, an engineer and also a talented photographer, has taken pictures of the car and created 3D drawings of it. He is also the author of many images of the finished car and of the building process that illustrate this article.


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With the 3D drawings ready, Szabó printed them in 1:1 size.


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The project resulted in a 4.60 m long roadster. It is 1.90 m wide, 1.60 m tall, due to the high ground clearance (25 cm), and it has a 3.12 m wheelbase. “The work took me 3 and a half years and cost me € 18,000, excluding my work, of around 4,800 hours. The car weighs 1,400 kg and it has a 40 l trunk, with a front track of 1.80 m and a rear track of 1.90 m”, Szabó told MotorChase. But he only started it when the chassis was concluded. And it took him a whole year to get things sorted out. According to Szabó, Matyus Csaba was the technician that made it possible. He managed to join the parts of an old Ford Taunus Szabó bought a while earlier, including its 2.3 V6 engine and the automatic transmission. This engine produced 79 kW at 5,000 rpm and 176 Nm at 3,000 rpm and the automatic transmission was a 3-speed gearbox.


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It was not easy to make both sides of the car exactly the same. In order to achieve that, Szabó used a bidimensional telemeter. The pieces of ash wood were glued together with Kleiberi Polyurethan D4. Even the steering wheel is made of ash wood.


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When the pieces were completed, they were adjusted by Szabó and then polished, varnished with yacht varnish and enameled.


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The attention to detail in the Julia are impressive. Check the seat adjustment commands below.


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And this is the finished car. It was presented at the last Frankfurt Motor Show.


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The guys from Barcroft Cars have recorded the video below with Szabó. It is worth watching it.

Szabó does not intend to keep the car for himself, one of the reasons he has not licensed it so far. “First I want to see how much I can get for the car until April 16”, Szabó told MotorChase. He has not informed us where the car been put for sale, but we will update the article as soon as he does so. It is your chance to own a wooden roadster and drive it around. At least this is what Szabó is doing after his 4,800 hours of work. Is there a better way to enjoy your own work?

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.

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