► Honda's Type R pick-up
► Just a one-off from Swindon
► And we've driven the thing
Yesterday’s news is today’s review, as Honda didn’t just announce this nutty one-off Honda Civic Type R pick-up truck to liven-up a quiet Thursday, it actually wheeled it out at the SMMT test day – an annual UK car industry PR shindig that takes place at the Millbrook Proving Ground – and let us a have a quick go round the site’s famous hill route.
Being brutally honest, this wasn’t the most extensive outing. And we had one of the blokes responsible for building it in the passenger seat, so figured acting as if we were trying to chuck his bespoke creation into the scenery probably wasn’t advisable – especially as it had only been finished hours before.
Read about our Civic Type R long-termer
But as a taster for a hopefully longer experience later on – once it’s been road registered (which will require individual type approval – and possibly everything crossed) – our short drive was reasonably instructive.
Certainly, there can be fewer quicker ways to haul a pair of Honda lawnmowers. And yes, they were actually still in the back.
Fundamentally, you could be forgiven for not realising there was anything odd about Project P during the first few miles of driving – the engine has the same Energiser Bunny enthusiasm, the steering’s as taut and tenacious as the standard car, and the gearshift action remains so mechanically delicious that it ought to be on the NHS list of addictive substances.
Having said that, you’d also have to be pretty unobservant, as the new bulkhead between the passenger compartment and the load area not only completely eliminates rear visibility, at present it also rattles more than an 800,000-mile London Taxi. Although probably the lawnmowers are a contributing factor to this soothing ambience.
The engineers have been very careful about where they cut into the Civic Type R hot hatch – and sensibly they practised on a spare shell first – so theoretically the basic structural integrity is at least similar. But the supplementary roll bar gives you a clue that perhaps the suspension doesn’t quite have same solidity of platform that it was designed for, and we weren’t entirely convinced that the front and rear ends were moving with their usual unison.
As such, whether you’d really want to push the CTR pick-up as hard as a conventional Type R probably depends on how over-active you tend to find your imagination. It’ll be good fun watching it ride the kerbs at the Nordschleife, that’s for sure.
If Honda does take it out there, here’s hoping it’ll let us twin-test its brand of madness against BMW’s M3-based parts truck, which was famously a regular round those parts not so long ago.
Honda Civic Type R pick-up: everything else you need to know
Honda must be bored. It’s been a year since the FK8 Civic Type R was launched, and it seems some of the engineers behind Synchro Motorsport at Honda UK’s Swindon plant have broken into the angle grinder cupboard.
This is the Honda Civic Type R Pick-up concept, a one-off Type R that’s been hacked to bits to create ‘potentially one of the fastest pick-up trucks on UK roads.’ Engineers from the specialist team at Swindon grabbed the keys to one of the pre-production Type R models, modifying the rear half of the car into a flatbed. The rear wing still features, though, incorporated into a liftback hatch that stops all of Honda’s garden equipment from rolling around.
Read about our Civic Type R long-termer
Yes, gardening equipment. Phil Webb, head of Honda UK, said ‘there are no plans to put this into production but we will be using it to transport our lawn and garden products as when required.’
The powertrain remains the same, so the 306bhp 2.0-litre VTEC turbo, six-speed manual and front-wheel drive layout are all there. Honda estimates a sub-six-second 0-62mph launch and a 165mph top speed.
‘The passion that our engineers have for Honda is shown in our latest creation and we are even considering taking it to the Nurburgring to see if we can take the record for the fastest front-wheel drive pick-up truck!’ said project lead, Alyn James.
There’s something you don’t hear every day.
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