Wood & Epoxy Car

Courtesy of Wessex Resins & Adhesives, Romsey, England

Peter Warner has always been interested in old cars. Late in 1990, he saw an old Citroen 2CV in a car scrap yard. After some negotiation, he paid about <£60 to have the “donor” vehicle delivered to his home. He wanted only the chassis, tires, wheels and the steering column. The old body was collected and taken back to the scrap yard one week later as part of the £60 deal.

Having obtained the bare essentials of the proposed project, Peter took some months to consider the critical paths of construction and to design the body of the car. It was to be similar to a 1920 Citroen Style Special.

While he knew that much of the car body could be easily constructed with wood and WEST SYSTEM epoxy, certain rules of safety were set down—specifically, the mechanics of the engine and braking system. Only the braking system was totally renewed on the basis that stopping the car took priority over getting it going. Initially, the old engine was cleaned up, but then a newer engine was fitted in 1997.

Peter learned of the whereabouts of a felled ash tree and quickly purchased two large planks. These were cut on a bandsaw into strips of various sizes. At about the same time he purchased some 9mm (3/8″) plywood and acquired 3 ply, 4mm (3/16″)-thick plywood from good quality packing cases. Now the project was really underway. With his retirement approaching, Peter looked forward to devoting much more time to his project.

He built the two car doors of 2’x3′ plywood trimmed with 25mm x 50mm (1″x2″) varnished ash. He bonded all the wood with 105 Resin/205 Hardener and 406 Colloidal Silica. Peter used 9mm plywood to construct the body and trunk, also bonded with WEST SYSTEM 105/205 epoxy mixed with 406 filler.

To produce the curved structure behind the dashboard and the hood, he used 9mm square pieces of ramin timber on a framework. The curvature of these two components is such that the gaps at the top of the curve were between 2mm and 3mm 1/16″—1/8″ thick. He filled these with 105 Resin/205 Hardener and 407 Low-Density filler. This enabled him to later abrade and fair these components to the required contours before coating them with WEST SYSTEM 105/205 mixture. He constructed other curved components the same way, coating the wood with 105/205 mix. He coated the unpainted wooden cockpit trim with a high-quality, two-part, ultraviolet-resistant polyurethane varnish.

Peter bought turn signals, front and rear lights at several “autojumbles”—auto enthusiasts junk sales. He obtained a simple and sensible wiring diagram which enabled him to complete the car’s electrical system. He finished the project in 1995. The car weighed in at 640 kg (1410 lb ). This was a little heavier than planned, but, without doubt, a very safe means of transportation.

Finally, wanting to give the car a name, Peter obtained a metal Citroen nameplate. Cutting the plate into individual letters, he re-arranged them to read “Cretino.”He used WEST SYSTEM epoxy to produce a mold from the metal pieces. He then poured thickened epoxy into the mold to produce two 4mm (<3/16”)-thick name plates which he bonded to the front and back of the car.

Throughout the construction of his beloved Cretino, Peter suffered many jibes and jokes at the monthly meetings of the Citroen Specials Club, but he is now repeatedly congratulated on the success of the build and is warmly praised for his patience. Peter has already driven over 4,000 miles in the car and is delighted to tell of the 70 mph at which Cretino will travel on the motorway.

Since visiting Wessex Resins in October, 1997, the car now proudly displays a sticker on the windshield reading “Built with WEST SYSTEM brand products.”

NOTE: Peter used two “B” kits for the project,together with 406 and 407 fillers. The two dispensing pumps he purchased at the beginning of the build were used for four years and, to use his words, were “as good as new” when the car was complete.