Pole, Trunk & Post
"Reclaimed woods are taking center stage in high-end automobile interiors," reports Jerry Garrett in The New York Times (8/25/13). "Bentley repurposes slabs cut from stumps of walnut trees. Even the latest-generation Ram trucks has joined the trend, offering thick chunks of door, dashboard and steering wheel trim crafted from old fence posts." At the Pininfarina design studio near Turin, Italy, a concept car known as the Cambiano is trimmed in "a special type of European oak called briccole" that’s "reclaimed from the barber poles along the Venice lagoon."
"They had the brilliant idea of recuperating the wood of these 12-meter poles," says Pininfarina spokesman Francesco Fiordelisi. The poles have to be replaced periodically anyway, and "the wood’s distinctive appearance is a result of the salt and murk in the lagoon water, the battering of countless gondolas and the scars of marine micro-organisms that bored into the poles. The wood is milled into shapes, polished and lightly oiled. The finished product is stunning."
"Luxury car buyers demand authentic materials," says Mike Sayer of Bentley Motors, whose "bespoke department will try to satisfy a customer’s request for any kind of wood, including ‘custom orders using trees from their own property’." BMW, meanwhile, "plans to use panels of sustainably farmed eucalyptus in its new i3 electric car." Aston Martin and Lexus are "offering bamboo, a rapidly renewable material … Of course, using wood in automobiles is nothing new. Early cars (known as woodies) had frames and body components fashioned from oak, ash, heart of pine and other hardwoods."