Is it just us, or has Honda suddenly gone from “meh…” to “HELL YEAH!” in the past year or so? From the return of the NSX to Honda’s invested interest in turbocharged powerplants and the impending launch of the 310-horsepower Civic Type-R here in America, it seems that every time you turn around there is a new slice of performance news from the Japanese automaker.
Maybe there is something in the water, or perhaps the new president of the company really is gung-ho about resurrecting Honda’s racing heritage via its ability to build exciting automobiles. Heavens knows that the boys over at Honda Performance Development have been super busy this year with project cars, and now there is a new reason to get your race face on, because Honda has come up with a machine that “provides the freedom of a motorcycle and the maneuverability of a car.”
Slated for debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, this open cockpit, extreme trackster is the direct result of this year’s winning Honda “Global Design Project,” and its cabin-less structure features a floating seat design and a MotoGP RC213V motorcycle engine that has been modified to be street legal. Designed around the idea that enthusiasts deserve an “ever-more immersive driving experience,” Honda Project 2&4 will offer what few other automakers can: the ability to take motorcycle finesse and fuse it with four-wheel safety in a miniature, consumer-ready road warrior.
Honda’s annual design competition has always been a great way to push the company forward in ways previously thought unimaginable, but this Honda 2&4 project is something completely different. Originally conceived by Honda’s motorcycle headquarters in Asaka, but designed in tandem with their automobile design studio in Wako, Honda says that this street legal machine has been 100% built to “create an intense driving experience by combining the most thrilling elements of riding a motorcycle with the most engaging characteristics of driving a car.”
To some, this may seem like nothing more than a representation of what Honda is capable of, and that we the consumer stand zero chance of ever getting our mitts on one. But if the 2&4 has already gone through the lengthy, and extremely expensive, street legal certification program, the likelihood that Honda would back out on this one is extremely unlikely. This isn’t some shiny prototype car with disproportional wheels and a plethora of unnecessary tech for showing off: The 2&4 is a genuine article of speed, and is built from the ground up to do one thing — corner a market that no other automaker has ever been able to successfully leverage on a large scale.
Weighing just shy of 893 pounds and scraping in at under 10 feet long, this little missile is the ultimate example of a car that has been built for motorcycle lovers and is a fantastic option for anyone wanting a bit more security than what the average crotch rocket can offer. Built to honor Honda’s racing heritage, both the body design and engine placement have been inspired by the infamous Honda RA272 Formula 1 car, which dominated the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix from start to finish, and was the first Japanese car to ever win a Formula One Grand Prix.
With its exposed structure designed to both cool key components and showcase the frame and functioning suspension systems, the 2&4 carries with it many of the attributes of a performance Honda bike, but with the security and sure-footedness of a sports car. We’ll forgive the unfairness of our missing out on the Honda S660 roadster since its left-hand-drive layout signifies one thing: United States Domestic Market.
Diving into the meat of the matter, this Ariel Atom attacker sports a 999 cc V4 four-stroke engine, and peak power can be felt at 13,000 RPM when it hits all 212 horsepower. While its peak torque of 87 foot-pounds may not sound like a lot, mating that amount to a six-speed DCT gearbox in a car that weighs less than an obese hummingbird means that you will be wanting for more.
So what are our chances that we will see something like this on the road someday soon? It may be too early to tell, but if Honda keeps getting positive feedback on this project, and it continues getting stamps of approval from the powers that be along the way, then we might actually get what we want for once. It already has caused quite the stir on the Internet, and heavens knows that millions of enthusiasts will want one for weekend romps, but that does not always mean that something will come to fruition the way we want it to. But stranger things have happened, and getting a mid-engine, low-slung, 14,000 RPM redlining, corner crusher might just be what the brand needs to show the world that the 2&4 truly is “The Power of Dreams.”