This Intricate Wooden Car With Working V8 Engine and Gearbox Was Built by a Crazy-Smart Teen
It has a working differential, speedometer, and even brakes.
Building an intricate mechanical model is one thing, but trust me when I say designing one from scratch is an entirely different can of worms. It takes days of work that nobody will ever truly appreciate, but for some people, that effort is worth it. Simas Snežko falls into that category—and he's a teenager, by the way.
Snežko built a truly incredible mechanical model of a car out of wood, carefully demonstrated on this video on his YouTube channel, and the details of the build are amazing. It's not just some pistons moving up and down in a drilled-out block of wood—the model has a working transmission, differential, clutch, and also other details that are usually left out of such builds, like working gauges.
Snežko has detailed the progress of his build primarily on the r/woodworking subreddit. He completed it over a period of six months as his eleventh-grade year-end physics project, although he makes it clear that something like this was not necessarily expected of him, he just wanted to do it.
"The car is powered by a disassembled cordless drill," he told The Drive. "The fake engine is a 0.17-liter (170cc) cross-plane V8. Other than the engine, every mechanical component is 100% functional." He went on to list all of the functional components, which from a drivetrain perspective are a three-speed manual transmission connected to an open differential, a working hydraulic clutch to get power to these components from the engine, and even working disc brakes.
Interestingly, there are also a few other ancillary components that often get left off of similar builds which make this one more interesting. For instance, Snežko has taken the time to add both a speedometer—which is admittedly a little jumpy at the moment but I'm sure he's working on it—and an odometer, which records in meters.
Also, if you can't tell already, all of this stuff was built without any computer-guided tools. There aren't even any bearings in the design. It's all lubricated using dry soap or candle wax, which can be pretty effective lubricants when used with wood.
The clever teenager typically uses his videos to explain how all of the parts work together. He says most of the car was designed without the help of CAD, although now he is using it more to help with the design. In some of his videos, you can get a peek of the extensive diagrams he's scribbled onto graph paper. It's some serious stuff.
But probably the coolest part of this build is that all of the mechanisms could theoretically be operable by a very small person. If you look closely, all of the hydraulic lines for the clutch and brakes actually lead to the pedals. And yes, that massive bug-catcher intake on top is operated by the throttle pedal.
Snežko says that in the future he wants to build an entire full-scale one-seater out of wood, although he admits it might be tough to get the engine working. For now, though, this miniature is an impressive achievement in its own right. We are looking forward to what else he will put together in the future.
Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: firstname.lastname@example.org