The fast flatbed, complete with trademark Type R rear wing, is the surprise fruit of an after-work project by a small team in the product engineering department of Honda UK manufacturing in Swindon.
As such it’s a one-off and sadly destined to stay that way. The man behind it, Honda UK’s powertrain and durability manager Alyn James, does, however, promise that it will be seen at a variety of events as a mobile advertisement for Honda’s UK engineering. As well of course as demonstrating the fastest way to deliver any number of Honda power tools or power toys…
They are also looking for records to beat…if there’s not a mark already for fastest pickup up the Goodwood Hill at the Festival of Speed there might be one soon…
While the body from B-pillars back has been mightily chopped around, underneath it’s all standard Type R, so turbo four-pot with 316bhp for performance that should not to be too different from the hatchback’s 170mph top speed and 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds.
It might not be quite the fastest pickup in the west – there’s any number of monster-engined pickups in the US, and let’s not forget the tyre-shredding Vauxhall Maloo ute from Australia – but its track credentials and front-wheel drive make it unique.
We caught up with Alyn James at the car’s unveiling at the motor industry test day at Millbook…
Why a Type R pick-up?
It’s a follow-up to the one-off Type R wagon we did a while ago. Projects like this demonstrate the engineering ability of the factory. So it’s not just a toy; there’s proper engineering here, and a serious purpose behind it.
Is it road legal?
The intention is to register it for the road. We want to put it on the press fleet and get people driving it.
What was the most difficult bit?
The tailgate. It was a bit of a nightmare getting the tailgate to work with the spoiler – and of course it’s a Type R so we couldn’t do it without the spoiler. We looked at having the tailgate drop down but couldn’t make that work so it lifts up. We are looking to put a ramp in to make it easier to load.
Surely it lacks some of a monocoque’s structural integrity?
We make the Type R in Swindon and know how strong it is already, and we did lots of computer simulations so we were always very confident. We put in the big roll bar and used a 3D printer to make new parts. It’s as rigid as the hatchback and handles as well as the road car.
And is it as fast?
0-62mph should be under six seconds, like the Type R hatchback. It should do over 165mph – though we haven’t tried that yet. We haven’t had it in a wind tunnel so don’t know about the aerodynamics…
Supposing someone said they wanted one, how much?
I wouldn’t mind building another. The team that did it really enjoyed it. Cost? Buy a Type R at £33,000 and then pay for three and a half weeks of man-hours…