I’m jealous. The Mountfield lawn tractor I own is powered by a 13.5 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine – a beast among its peers, however the brief for Honda’s Project Mean Mower was 109 horsepower from its VTR Firestorm 1000cc engine. Lawn maintenance has never been more appealing.
The end result is a machine capable of reaching an estimated 130mph and accelerating from 0-60mph in just 4.0 seconds (wet grass permitting). The neighbours won’t appreciate the ear splitting roar of it’s semi-silenced powerplant, which is good for 130db with the throttle pinned three-quarters of the way open.
The project was undertaken between Honda (UK) and their title winning British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) partner, Team Dynamics, with Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden given the enviable task of testing the brute.
Just in case you remain unconvinced of its sporting provenance, consider this, with a dry weight of around 140kg the Mean Mower has a power-to-weight ratio of 532bhp/tonne – that’s close to a Bugatti Veyron..
“Honda is a great believer in collaboration, pushing boundaries and creating extraordinary pieces of engineering,” said Kate Saxton of Honda (UK).
“This project provided the perfect opportunity to not only highlight the breadth of our product offering but to also promote our sporty heritage and support our reputation as an innovative company. Above all else, we love a challenge!”
The donor vehicle was a Honda HF2620 Lawn Tractor (note to self, go shopping at the garden centre this weekend) which receives a specially fabricated chassis custom-made from 4130 chromoly – to prevent the 109 horses from twisting the standard structure inside out.
A stock VTR 1000F Firestorm engine was then added, along with a bespoke suspension and wheels from an ATV.
Unbelievably it still cuts grass – although the cutter deck was custom-made in glass fibre to reduce weight. While in a stroke of pure genius, the grass bag now houses the fuel tank, with a high capacity oil cooler and a secondary water cooling radiator snuggling alongside it.
Aligning 109hp with a pair of razor sharp cutting blades was deemed ‘too dangerous’, so instead two electric motors on the cutter deck spin a 3mm steel cutting cable at an incredible 4000rpm (still sounds dangerous to me). Even so, the mower can still cut grass at speeds of up to 15mph – around twice that of the original HF2620 lawn tractor.
Based on feedback from Honda Yuasa BTCC drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden, the mower features a custom paddle shift six-speed gear system, Cobra sports seat, Scorpion exhaust system and a steering rack taken from a Morris Minor.
In fact, the entire transformation from mild-mannered lawn tractor to Mean Mower was made using Honda parts where possible, with the rest custom-made by Team Dynamics and its partners.
Now, where can I buy one?