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No, it’s not simply a bunch of marijuana in car form. Both hemp and marijuana originate from the same species of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa), but whereas the latter is used for recreational and medicinal drug purposes, the former features very little THC (the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana) and for thousands of years has been used in textiles.
Though not exactly the first choice of the kit car builder, entrepreneur and Key West resident Bruce Dietzen decided it was the ideal renewable material for building his Renew brand of lightweight sports cars, and now, well… he does.
According to Barcroft Cars, Dietzen’s prototype vehicle (pictured here) was built atop a first-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata chassis and running gear, and utilized about 100 pounds of woven hemp fabric in its body construction, imported from China.
All told, it’s said to be both lighter than conventional fiberglass or steel body panels, and by Dietzen’s estimates it’s about 10 times more dent resistant than steel.
Dietzen reveals his inspiration for building the cannabis car stemmed from renowned automotive magnate Henry Ford, who experimented with using hemp (along with flax, wheat, and spruce pulp) in car bodies during the early 1940s, with the goal of producing a more sustainably sourced automobile.
Dietzen is hoping to keep that sustainable dream alive with his Renew sports cars, and according to the Florida entrepreneur, he’s planning to launch a “Signature Series” of cannabis bodied vehicles this year, which include a Canna 255 model (255 horsepower, courtesy of a Flyin’ Miata turbocharger kit), a Canna 525 (utilizes a 525 hp GM LS-series V8) and an electric-powered Canna EV.
The cost? Dietzen’s prototype took about $200,000 to develop and engineer, though the production cars are expected to cost no more than the “average new car.”