In Appreciation Of Wood In Cars
I grew up in an era when wood in cars was past its prime. Sport sedans had become Germanic, dark, and dour inside, and the few marques that included the word ‘wood’ on options lists required qualifiers like ‘veneer’, ‘simulated’, and ‘look’. Did automakers give up using trees too soon?
Aside from the irreplaceably clever team at Morgan, a company that can’t make its vehicles without wood, there’s little evidence outside of Scandinavian-inspired interiors that the natural world is allowed into our vehicles. But why?
Getting a ride in a classic Lancia Fulvia is probably what made me love the look of a wooden dashboard. It’s from an era where plastics and moulded panels were encroaching on interiors, but Lancia took the path of using the material as a nod to classic performance cars, shaping it to fit into a stylish cavity. Gauges are inset, as are the climate controls and radio, with a matching wood-rimmed steering wheel to tie it all together.
In the past, wood has been used for vehicle structure, body panels, and simple ornamentation. What’s your favorite use of wood in a classic car?