Teens pulled over while driving their wooden roadster

From this view we would think the handmade wooden roadster (translated) was street legal. But it’s missing a few items that are required to take it out on the highway. The teenagers that built it were pulled over the other night (translated) and cited for driving without a speedometer or side indicator lights.

The image above shows the mark II of their design. Sadly they crashed the first version, which gave them a chance to overhaul the entire design. Now they have a proper frame which was welded from steel square tube. It’s got an impressive rack and pinion steering system and shock absorbing suspension in the front and rear. A dirt bike engine mounted behind the seats drives the rear wheels via a chain. They’ve used an Arduino to add turn signals, and have headlights for night driving.

[Gerrit] sent in the tip on this one and he figures that with an Arduino already being used in the vehicle it should be a quick fix to add a speedometer and get back on the road.


  1. Alexander says:

    Just a thought, cool build, but why does it need an arduino for the turn signals!?

  2. Gizmos says:

    It is already better than a Fiero.

  3. jimmypopnl says:

    uhh, deathtrap anyone?

  4. signal7 says:

    equipment required seems to depend on what state you’re in. in new york, a speedometer is not required equipment. in fact, i’ve driven several cars with broken speedometers and no one ever brought it up as being a problem.

    i think the cop was looking for some way to justify pulling them over.

    • Ren says:

      Years ago, I saw in the literature from some state DMV, windshield wipers were wrequired (just sticking with the w theme) but windshields were not!

      • Isotope says:

        I know a guy who got pulled over for having a cracked windshield. Cop told him he couldn’t drive it that way. So he removed the windshield (with a hammer I believe), put on a pair of goggles, and was able to drive away legally.

    • Jo says:

      maybe because you were driving a “real” car, that from factory comes with speedometer and all the other required safety devices? Seeing wooden go-cart on the road, im not surprised that they got stopped by cops.

  5. fenton06 says:

    For a speedometer using a GPS module would be pretty nifty!

    • DarwinSurvivor says:

      I’m actually been told that some home EV conversions do just that. Many times the speedometer stops working after removing the gas engine as the ECU goes nuts. They just slap a TomTom on the dash and call it a day!

    • kaidenshi says:

      That’s what I do in my 30 year old truck. My speedometer would probably work if connected, but it’s a mechanical model and the replacement transmission in the truck has an electronic sending unit.

      I ended up with two old TomTom units when my boss upgraded to Garmins last year, and loaded up TripMaster on the smaller one to be a full-time speedometer display.

  6. Elias says:

    I don’t think that would ever be street legal in NL as a car, not without type certification.

  7. Hans de Jong says:

    Translation of the news article instead of (crappy) google translate:

    “Officers from the province Noord Holland pulled over and taken a DIY wooden cabrio from the highway.

    Two boys of 17 years old drove the ‘car’ through Lokkemientjesweg in Edam when the police pulled them over. They were doing 40km/h (25MPH).
    A police spokesman of Zaanstrak-Waterland told that the boys have been wokring on the car for a long time, but it’s not suited for the public road. The car runs on a cross motor engine.
    The car has been pulled of the road due to a missing speedometer and no indicator lights (these are obliged in The Netherlands). Furthermore the boys had no a driving license.
    It’s undecided what will happen to the car (to be destroyed or give it back – so they can use it on closed terrain only).”

    I like their back license plate at this picture: “Danger on the road”
    Oh, and the car even runs Windows XP:

  8. kf5jak says:

    As for the speedometer, mine was broken and I needed a way of knowing how fast I was going. So I took my evo that had a broken USB port, soldered on a cable, and mounted it front of my speedometer, loaded up a speed app (utilizing gps) and viola.

  9. Alexander says:

    Just had a better look through the pictures, the welding and the way the wheels are mounted is pretty solid and ingenious! Like it! (although it needs a bigger engine :( )

    • rasz says:

      You are joking, right?
      I came to write complete opposite. First suspension was made with one flat piece of sheet metal. In new design they used square tubing (solid), BUT it still goes down to sheet metal and something that looks like furniture hinges? This is one pot hole from losing a wheel.

      • incer says:

        Furniture hinges? The hell are you talking about?
        This thing’s chassis is made out of steel, except for the “hub” part of the wheel which looks like painted iron. The steel is TIG welded too, not some cheap ass stick welding.

  10. truebassb says:

    They can’t get it street legal in Nederland,unless they manage to somehow get a License with 50cc engine similar to Golf Carts and small vehicles,those doesn’t require as much stupid useless details as those they ask for actual specialty built cars and such.

    I believe they can get it back with no problem if they say that it was not made to be driven on public roads and they only wanted to test it outside their house,but doing so they got lost so they had to drive it back.

    If they ever get in Noord Brabant they can drop off with it by Milo in Het Sas and have tons of funs and much road to enjoy it,his channel on Youtube is MasterMilo82.

  11. blitz2190 says:

    also needs fenders or it wont be street legal, I’m surprised the officer didn’t mention that

    • Tony says:

      The very first picture in the link shows the fenders.

      They’re of the “stop getting crap flicked on us” rather than the “prevent bystanders losing body parts” variety, but anyway.

    • rewolff says:

      The Dutch police have a policy of verbally pointing out many things that are wrong, but then just writing you up for the one thing that is easy to prove.

      So whereas these guys were caught with a car without type approval, without fenders etc etc, the fact that the didn’t have a drivers licence and that they don’t have a spedometer, is very easy to prove in court and wont give any discussions.

  12. blitz2190 says:

    also needs fenders to be street legal.

  13. alxy says:

    Get a $10 lcd bike speedometer and some cheap amber/red trailer lights from harbor freight and its done. For fenders, cut sections out of a 55 gallon drum. It probably will need seat belts, windshield wipers, and a horn as well. But it’s very close. It’s really not that bad.

  14. Ren says:

    From the photos it appears that the engine only drives one rear wheel, eliminating the need for a differential.

    • buzzles says:

      Dunno, I think with something so light I’d rather drive a full axle and both wheels, old school fixed axle style, rather than just drive a singular wheel.

      I wouldn’t be suprised if driving that one wheel was the reason they crashed their first version, judging by it looking like it powered into a right turn (into a tree).

  15. Miroslav says:

    Thumbs up for the effort. I also applaud choice of wood as body material. This can be easily worked even in 3rd world countries. For city driving bellow 60 km/h, this thing should be ok. With turning lights of course.

  16. buzzles says:

    I really like the “seat” designs in the second version. Quite a nice solution with having the floor be the bucket seat.

    Although I’d be worred about going over a bump or having road debris pierce the floor and end up in my backside.

  17. Chuckt says:

    Where are the air bags? What protects the gas tank in a crash? The seat belts are not visible in the picture.

    Try getting it registered and try getting insurance for it. I don’t there is a reason why major companies spend at least $50,000 or more on crash tests and it is because there are regulations.

    • truebassb says:

      No offence but what you say sounds like total Non Sense or you have too much expectations on a fun project that two 17yo guys started in their garage…. Or just don’t know how the deal with Homemade Vehicles goes.

      1) This wont get any legal car registration,they know it,we know it,period.

      2) If you build a single car for your self (Specialty Constucted Vehicle) you have to follow a Standards Booklet,but you don’t need Airbags,and they don’t ask you for crash testing,nowhere,never.

      And more specifically…

      In Europe the countries with TUV stink,they play it ALL Car Safety yet their drivers keep their Fatal Accident Rate on Top.
      So just forget it unless it’s a commercial Kit Car.

      In UK their SVA is amazing,you can get Registration way easier if you have a properly made car,you have to follow the latest SVA Booklet,you wont pass this Wooden Cart though,but if you get to a good SVA center they will help a lot.

      As for if those guys were in the US instead of Nederland,in some states they could get normal registration with the car as it is,with a few additions like parking brake,seat belts,etc.

  18. bzroom says:

    the things seems to gravitate towards trees. even in the second design. i guess the wood is trying to go home

  19. wowme@wtf.com says:

    put in a solar panel, nine million rechargeable HR6 cells and an electric motor. Obama will make GM (Govt Motors) sell it in US.

    Oh, looks like Volkswagen Typ 181

  20. rue_mohr says:

    I dont mean this with the intention of knocking their work, but ITS NOT ELECTRIC!?

  21. Erin says:

    As for a speedometer, when mine go bad, I just prop up a little gps unit on my dash and it figures the speed accurately enough to do the job.

    • rewolff says:

      The GPS is quite accurate. This means that sometimes it displays too much, and sometimes too little. It can’t be 100% accurate.

      This is a lot better than standard car speedometers, but illegal. A car speedometer may NOT indicate less than the speed driven. (at least here in the Netherlands).

  22. sarielg says:

    scheweet ride bro!

  23. arr says:

    The car got confiscated and will be destoyed.

  24. Tron9000 says:

    Huh? speedo = not allowed? Then how come my beat up series 3 landrover, with no speedo passed its MOT?

  25. Mathorne says:

    To follow up on this story.

    The 2 teens gave up the car so they don’t get fined for driving without license, without insurance and driving a vehicle that hasn’t been approved for the road. So they didn’t have to pay, but loose the car on which they worked 1,5 years.

    The car is not destroyed but gets a second life as a display at a school where they teach vehicle engineering.

    • truebassb says:

      That is great to hear!!! It would be nice to save their work by putting it on Display for educational purpose.

      Not only it got saved from getting destroyed but also from the use of those guys. :P

      Personally i’m happy with this result.

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