The project, dubbed “Bonneville Speed Challenge” was internally announced at Honda R&D in Japan in 2015 and 16 members were chosen from a pool of 100 volunteers , including project leader Keisuke Tsuta. The goal of the project was simple: achieve a world record speed with a 660-cc engine. Thus, the Honda S-Dream was born.
The team carefully re-investigated every part of the S660 engine and renewed many of them including cylinder block, pistons, crankshaft and valves coaxing more than three times the power for which it was designed. Additions such as the replacement of the lower block with a steel unit and reinforced connecting rods gave the unit the rigidity it would need to withstand the record run, and the car completed several test runs in Japan before heading to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the US.
Initially, the Honda S-Dream was unable to reach the record speed that it sought, despite having strong runs at the Bonneville Speed Week. But soon after the conclusion of Speed Week, Honda was officially invited to Mike Cook’s shoot out at Bonneville to take another run at the record.
The team broke the FIA record mark with a run of 227.776 mph (366.569 km/h) on the first day of the shootout, then went quicker on subsequent runs until officially topping out at 261.875mph (421.447 km/h, 1 mile), 261.966 mph (421.593 km/h, 1 kilometer). In fact, the team reached 266 mph (428.085 km/h) on one of its runs late in the event, but was unable to duplicate the speed on the return run as required to set an official mark.
Despite the good end to this story, the S-Dream wasn’t without problems. There was an unforeseen problem when its test driver, Hikaru Miyagi couldn’t see properly through the narrow canopy.
The vision had not been a problem on the test track due to the abundance of landmarks and road marking, but on the bleach-white expanse of the salt flats, the former Japan motorcycle champion was having trouble keeping the car pointed in the right direction.
The team took the car back to the Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, California where the team re-styled the canopy and most parts of the upper body just ten days before the first day of the Bonneville Speed Week.