Here in the UK, we’re incredibly proud of our motoring heritage. When we think of British motoring, and British supercars in particular, companies such as Aston Martin, Jaguar or Rolls-Royce immediately spring to mind. As well as these great, prestigious names, there are also other companies who are on the periphery of the British motoring scene, such as Morgan.
The height of quintessential Britishness, Morgan, a company who Jeremy Clarkson continually describes as “working from a shed in the Malvern Hills”, are undeniable British. As well as this, their cars are undeniably bonkers. Morgan still produce all of their cars- including the Aero 8- with an ash frame which they say makes the car much safer on impact tests.
However, although Morgan are producing their cars with ash frames, there’s one other company half way around the world who have taken the concept of wooden ‘supercars’ much further, with a Japanese company called Sada-Kenbi producing the ‘Maniwa’, made of solid wood.
Powered by a 175cc engine which helps produce a top speed of 50 mph, the Maniwa is more of a motorcycle than a supercar as Sada-Kenbi claim. There is a reason for this though, and that’s because Sada-Kenbi aren’t actually car manufacturers at all, they’re a company who specialising in making items out of wood rather than the usual materials, pushing the boundaries of design and technology.
Despite its low top speed and handlebars as opposed to a steering wheel, the Maniwa is road legal and suitable to take passengers in. As you’d imagine with a car of this design, the seating arrangement is also unique and, instead of having rear seats, there’s actually a rear shared bench. The quirks also don’t end there, as the car also possesses gull-wing doors.
Unsurprisingly, only one of these was ever put into production and, at a cost of £26,000, it does seem rather expensive as, for that price, you could buy:
An MG A 1.6 from 1959
A 2012 Lexus IS Convertible with only one previous owner
Or finally, an Audi A3 2.0 TDI S Line with fewer than 2,000 miles on the clock.
(all cars were available as of the 21st July 2014)
With the MG, you’d even receive £1,000 in change. We know which one we’d prefer, how about you?