Mention Honda to most people, and they’ll think of a successful car company, if still a few rungs below giants Toyota, GM, and Volkswagen in sheer size. But Honda just happens to be the biggest engine manufacturer in the world, providing power for not just for passenger cars, but also motorcycles, scooters, boats, jet aircraft, and even lawnmowers.

Honda’s most die-hard fans point to the company’s racing pedigree and ease with which its engines can be tuned to make more power, both of which factor into its current project of building the world’s fastest riding mower.

The BBC’s Top Gear television program has firmly cemented itself as the favorite of gearheads around the globe. But with decades since its original debut, its understandable that the show has already covered most sensible motoring topics, so the only thing left to do is move on to insensible ones, such as building a high-performance riding mower.

The engine output goal for the project is an engine output of 110 horsepower. While this may not sound like much, given the low weight of the riding mower compared to a street-legal car, this should be good for a 0-60 mile (0-97 km)/hour acceleration time of around four seconds, making the mower faster than the similarly open-topped Porsche Carrera S Cabriolet.

However, since Top Gear’s area of expertise is vehicles that run on asphalt, not grass, the show’s producers have asked Team Dynamics, a division of Honda responsible for managing and running competition-spec touring cars, to take on the lion’s share of production responsibilities, making this most likely the first works team riding mower.

The team is hoping for a top speed of 130 miles (209 km)/hour. While not explicitly stated as a project target, this would smash the current riding mower speed record held by Bobby Cleveland of the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association, which we had no idea even existed. Cleveland set the current record in 2010 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, a dry lake bed commonly used by tuners and manufacturers for high speed test runs.

Top Gear’s concurrently published magazine of the same name will be running a special on the project in an upcoming issue, which should shed more light on the development process, if not the admirable yet twisted audacity behind the decision to undertake it. In the meantime, we wish them luck, and look forward to someday being able to mow our massive 130-mile long backyard in just 60 minutes.

Source: Hachima Kikou
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