Taking the hint from high-tech boatbuilders, designers of the latest Corvette have integrated balsa-core floorboards into 1997 model year automobiles.
Each “Vette” will benefit from the high-strength, lightweight qualities of balsa that have attracted performance boatbuilders for the same reason. Designers found that the natural cell honeycomb of balsa makes for a stronger and more sound-proof core than foam. The balsa will be sandwiched in fiberglass.
In a competitive market where speed is money, Corvette designers worked under a company credo that stated, “A 1% increase in the acceleration from zero to 60 mph equals a 1.25% increase in sales.” Working with balsa-core floorboards has given the company weight savings, which is important for fuel economy as well as speed, without compromising strength.