It wasn't my intention to include specials or one-offs in this site. I intended to concentrate on vehicles that, although different from the mainstream, could be owned and used by the ordinary person. However, I had to make an exception for this car !!!
I first saw this car a few years ago, then a while later had the pleasure of meeting its owner and creator Friend Wood.
Friend gave me a ride in the car which I still remember well. It included a time when he took the car up to speed on level ground, engaged neutral, and turned off the engine. The car became almost totally silent, and cruised on endlessly, seemingly without any loss of speed. A practical demonstration of the car's exceptional aerodynamics.
The following is a slightly edited version of an article, written by Friend, about his car, for a club newsletter, together with some of my photos.
Life is about gaining knowledge and learning new skills. Since my early childhood days I have built many working models of aircraft and boats gaining knowledge of design and construction
of hot air baloons, gliders, powered planes, sailing boats and power boats. In 1980 at the age of 20, by which time I was working as a joiner and making furniture, after riding motorbikes
for several years I'd had enough of cold hands and feet and falling on snow and ice. I turned my enthusiasm towards a 1960 BMW Isetta Bubble Car which I had rebuilt over the winter of 1979. It gave me tremendous fun and experience for thousands of miles over the next four years. The problem was that the spares were few and expensive so I thought why not build a three wheeler using modern running gear.
The obvious choice for the mechanical components was the Citroen 2CV. It has a superbly designed and engineered, horizontally opposed, twin cylinder engine, for smooth running, and of course is air cooled for simplicity and light weight.
I used a 2CV chassis with one rear suspension arm removed, the other being repositioned in the middle. I built a two seater body using plywood, glass tape and resin, by which method hundreds of Mirror class dinghies have been built. Citroen Dyane wings were used at the front.
The spare wheel was mounted exposed at the rear like an old Morgan three wheeler.
This red car gave me five years of reliable, economical transport covering many thousands of miles. Tryane 1 returned between 55 and 70 mpg depending on the type of journey.
For years I had wanted to build a totally wooden car. The Tryane was so successful I wanted to develop it into a more aerodynamic and lighter weight car to further improve its efficiency.
I came across a book written by Dennis Ortenberger called "Flying on Four Wheels" about world famous aerodynamiscist Frank Costin and his car designs, which included several plywood chassised racing cars, this kindled the spark !
I happened to call in at the boat builder, John Kerr's work-shop in Llandysul while he was building a cold moulded racing boat. This method involves laying many veneers of wood with glue over a male mould to form the hull of a boat. I thought that this would be an ideal method of building a car body.
I wanted to build a car of wood as light and
aerodynamic as I was able. I could have called in experts to
design and make parts for the car, but the idea of the project
was to use it as a
"design and construction exercise" that is to gain new knowledge and learn new skills.
I studied the cars which Frank Costain had designed including the Marcos, Lotus, Vanwall and Amigo.
I decided on an all enveloping body with a hardtop. The underside of the car was to be as smooth as the top, which in the interests of low drag would have as few joint lines and turbulence causing projections as possible. The flat twin engine allowed a low bonnet line for minimum drag and a low centre of gravity for stability.
The single rear wheel gives a 25% reduction in rolling drag and enabled the body to be made close to the aerodynamically ideal teardrop shape.
The bodyshell was to be formed from dozens of narrow strips of mahogany veneer, glued with epoxy resin, laid in 3 layers over a male mould. Once removed from the mould the shell would be stiffened up using marine plywood bullkheads and boxes to form the inner structure and give mounting points for suspension and engine/gearbox. Every wooden part was to be coated with epoxy for moisture resistence.
I measured the 2CV components before making some 1/5th scale drawings of the proposed car. I then carved a similar scale body model to check the drawings. Once satisfied I drew out the lines full size on two sheets of hardboard. From these lines I constructed a male mould made from chipboard formers and softwood laths to the shape of the body shell. On to this mould I stapled and glued three layers of l.5mm mahogany veneers, This process took over 600 hours and 20,000 staples, all of which were pulled out when the glue was dry.
The shell was removed from the mould and bonded on to the wooden chassis then all the bulkheads and inner structure were bonded inside the shell.
To make the hard top another male mould was needed so I built this in place over the body, then laminated the hard top to the shell.
The entire bodyshell was covered in glass cloth coated with epoxy resin and polyurethane varnish.
I fitted the suspension, engine/gearbox and wiring loom and was able to try the car inside the workshop.
I made the upholstery and headlining on my mum's old Singer sewing machine which when fitted, together with some carpet, finished the cockpit. I had two side windows moulded by a
specialist, with these fixed into the doors ,they added the finishing touch to my car, turning my initial ideas into a working vehicle. With insurance arranged I drove off to get an MOT
certificate and thence to the tax office to register and tax it.
After almost 2000 hours of work, some patience, thought and dedication I had a complete and running TRYANE II
WEIGHT 900 lbs
LENGTH 13' 7"
WIDTH 5' 4"
HEIGHT 4' 4"
Fuel Consumption : 55-70 mpg
TOP SPEED (approx): l00 mph
BODY/CHASSIS - MADE FROM GABOON MARINE PLY AND MAHOGANY VENEERS BONDED WITH EPOXY RESIN.
ENGINE - 2CV, 602cc FLAT TWIN AIR-COOLED.
GEARBOX - EUGENE WEBER 5 SPEED 2CV
SUSPENSION - RISING RATE PULLROD OPERATED COIL SPRINGS WITH TELESCOPIC
DAMPERS, FRONT LEADING ARMS, REAR, TRAILING ARM.
DRAG COEFFICIENT - 0.24 Cd
Specialist Perspex Moulder:
White Ellerton Products,
Kings Head Yard,
Moxan Street, Barnet, England
2CV Gearbox Conversions:
Gossaver Strasse l8,