The world's fastest shed: tooling around at 100mph
Kevin assembled the fastest shed in his driveway, building a steel spaceframe onto…
We joined Kevin Nicks in his VW Passat-based shed to hear about their latest record attempt and planned engine upgrade
It’s official: meet the world’s fastest shed.
Kevin Nicks and his four-wheel-drive shed were timed at 99mph by the UK Timing Association earlier this year and recently made a further attempt for a Guinness World Record. At the time of writing, Kevin is awaiting the official results but, despite experiencing engine problems during the run, expects to easily beat the motorised shed record of 58.41mph, held by Edd China.
We first met Kevin in the summer as he was about to set off in his shed from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of Katharine House Hospice. It turned into a fun run when he met up with members of a car club fora formation cruise halfway up the M5. Later, the fastest shed stopped at Elvington airfield in North Yorkshire for an attempt to break the 100mph barrier. Kevin hoped a new nitrous oxide injection kit, lifting the power of his Volkswagen Passat 2.8 V6 petrol engine from 190bhp to around 265bhp, would do the trick. Unfortunately, a crosswind coupled with the shed’s brutal aerodynamics restricted the top speed to 96mph.
Unbowed, they set off to complete the trip and duly arrived at John O’Groats a few days later. With the job done, Kevin had planned a brief touring holiday around Scotland in the road-legal outbuilding and on the spur of the moment decided to tackle the famous North Coast 500 route. He completed that in one stint of 12 hours, then on the way home took in Loch Ness and Loch Lomond to round off the week-long trip.
Despite appearances, the shed’s interior is extremely comfortable and visibility is excellent thanks to the huge expanse of safety glass and reversing cameras.
The shed is based on a 190,000-mile VW Passat 4Motion, which Kevin bought as spares donor for his Passat daily driver. A steel frame supports the custom-made shiplap body and the whole project was completed in the driveway of his home. Since it was completed in 2015, Kevin has driven 20,000 miles in his shed to raise money for charity.
“Throughout last summer, I raced it somewhere every weekend,” says Kevin. “Although, obviously, it’s no racing car.” Trips included one to the Jurby drag strip on the Isle of Man and another to Pendine Sands onthe south coast of Wales, as well as regular appearances at Shakespeare Raceway at Long Marston, Santa Pod and Elvington.
When tackling record runs, Kevin doesn’t spare the horses. “On the standing mile, I always caned it to the 7500rpm redline while bearing in mind I had to drive it home,” he explains. But on the Guinness record attempt, disaster struck. “On the first run, I thought ‘this isn’t running well’,” Kevin recalls, but he turned up the nitrous oxide and pressed on.
Something serious, like a broken valve, had happened inside the engine and it lost compression on one cylinder, relegating it from a V6 to a V5. Amazingly, it’s still running like that, if a little lumpily, but Kevin has already acquired a high-mileage Audi Allroad as the next engine donor.
The ‘new’ twin-turbo engine yields a higher 250bhp in standard form and Kevin thinks, with tuning, he should get 320-330bhp. After that, Kevin plans another attempt on the 100mph barrier, possibly implementing a couple of aerodynamic tweaks recommended by some of the many experts (including some from F1) who visit the race weekends.
At the moment, the shed has two large drainage pipes running through the roof to help channel air to the rear. Future plans include vertical wings down each rear corner of the shed to guide the airflow around the huge flat rear end to reduce drag.
In the meantime, the shed continues to attract attention wherever it goes, putting a smile on people’s faces and serving as a prop for endless selfies and videos. Despite receiving a generous offer to sell, Kevin doesn’t plan to part with his beloved shed any time soon: “If I sell it, that would be the end of the story. I could build another one, but it wouldn’t be that one, would it?”
Other bonkers record-breakers:
TV presenter Edd China set a Guinness World Record for the fastest toilet in Milan on 10 March 2011 and it still stands today. The record-breaking machine, called ‘Bog Standard’, is underpinned by a motorcycle and sidecar. It set a record of 42.25mph.
Kevin Scott and the UK Monowheel Team set a record of 61.18mph in 2015 for the fastest speed achieved by a monowheel, with their machine ‘Warhorse’. The monowheel’s secret lies in a lightweight frame, special roller materials, sprung rollers and a tuned, 15bhp Honda GX200 kart engine.
Engineer Tom Bagnall’s jet-powered mobility scooter reached 74mph at Santa Pod raceway and he reckons it’s good for 120mph based on his previous success with a 112mph jet-powered go-kart. The jet engine is made from a truck turbocharger and develops 150lb of thrust.
Source: Autocar Online