Hitting 200-plus-mph speeds in a 12-cylinder supercar is one thing. Doing that in something powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder is quite another. The fastest speed ever recorded for a Honda in the flying mile was recently set at 261.875 mph, and it was done using three-pot power.
The Honda S Dream streamliner captured the FIA Category-A, Group-1, Class-4 record at the Bonneville Salt Flats following Bonneville Speed Week. The run bests the last flying mile top speed set by a BAR Honda Formula 1 car in 2006, making this the fastest Honda ever. Looking at the purpose-built car, it certainly looks the part of a land speed record machine, with its long jet-like fuselage and streamlined canopy. But powering the vehicle is a humble 660-cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine based on the unit found in the Japanese-market S660 sports car.
A team of young Honda engineers examined the stock S660 engine and altered or replaced many major components, including the cylinder block, pistons, crankshaft, and valves. The aluminum block was replaced with a steel one and reinforced connecting rods were used to give the engine the strength to support the power needed to achieve the record. Honda doesn't say just how much power the S Dream makes, but you can bet it's a good deal more than the 63 hp of a stock S660 roadster. (We caught the team dynoing the car before Speed Week - check out the story here.)
The goal was to achieve a world speed record using a 660-cc engine, and the 16 members of project "Bonneville Speed Challenge" achieved that on the first day of the shootout. Honda says the S Dream hit 266 mph in one run, but was unable to duplicate it so its record stands at a still impressive 261.875 mph.