For years Douglas Varey had the idea of creating large, very lightweight light fixtures with wooden frames and fabric covering — much like an early airplane. His word stories were not compelling enough to encourage designers to take a giant leap into the unknown. Literal airplane imagery probably didn’t help.
Then Douglas realized he had the opportunity to build proof of concept and — even better — a sample that would be subject to brutal operating conditions. The inspiration car for his 1923 Austin Seven Boulogne cyclekart had a fabric body constructed in the manner of aircraft from the then recently-ended First World War.
He created a structure with six light marine plywood bulkheads, hand notched with a Japanese saw, linked with stressed vertical grain fir strips. Instead of doping canvas onto the frame, he chose Carnegie Fabric’s Xorel, drawing on a deep body of knowledge accrued over years of applying the fabric to Resolute shades.
Carnegie’s Xorel brings all the benefits of a high-performance man-made fiber, and is inherently antibacterial and anti-fungal. Cleaning off dust or mud is a simple wipe with a damp cloth.
The resulting fabric-wrapped wooden body is feather light — a mere 23 lbs (over half of that is the weight of fiberglass radiator shell and aluminum bonnet) — and shockingly durable. In the car’s racing life, it has endured everything from 100+ degree full sun in high desert conditions to pouring rain and flying mud. It has held up phenomenally well.
A perfect example of how tinkering in Resolute’s Garage can inform Resolute product, the wood + fabric concept was easily translated into a new family of fixtures: The Woods. Large scale, lightweight but durable, flexible variation in dimension and proportion, near unlimited fabric options, easily combined the latest high performance LED hardware, The Woods family has quickly grown into a very important segment of Resolute’s business.
1923 Austin Seven Boulogne inspired electric cyclekart
Wheelbase: 65 1/2″
Overall Length: 93″
Body width: 26″
Weight: 246 lbs
Motor: Goldenmoter 3KW BLDC
Batteries: AllCell 48V “Naked” Li-ion 23AH pack.
For more information about the Austin Seven Boulogne or other cyclekart construction, please investigate this new website.