It goes without saying the United States is the drag racing capital of the world — it birthed the sport, it created fuel racing, has more cars and more venues than anywhere on the planet, and has been home to virtually any and every major innovation in acceleration contests. But those crazy Europeans are giving us a run for our money with sheer creativity and entertainment value, and we’re just a bit envious of it.
If you’ve been reading Dragzine for long, you’ve seen the array of wild creations those in the European nations have devised, such as the world’s fastest dinner table, the world’s fastest coin-operated kiddie ride, rocket-powered motorcycles, the world’s fastest combine, and purpose-built, 9-second drag karts. Chalk up some points for the Europeans.
You know what they’ve got now? A shed. A damned shed. As in, where you store your lawnmower in the backyard kinda’ shed.
Kevin Nicks, who hails from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England, and who is the kinda’ guy we’d want to share a cold one with, built what is believed to be the world’s fastest shed. It might also be the only motorized shed, so the competition isn’t real stiff. Nevertheless, his ingenuity is worthy of applause.
Nicks took a 1999 Volkswagen Passat B5 and stripped it of its visible bodywork, leaving the lower subframe intact to utilize as the basis for his creation. He procured a 4.2-liter, V8 Audi RS4 B7 engine, along with the Audi Quattro AWD running gear and had it tuned up to produce 450 horsepower. Then, using square tubing, he built the general frame of a backyard shed around the Passat; from there, he built, well….a motorized wooden shed.
The original shed still has some of the creature comforts of the original VW — two front seats, the factory dash, power windows, and so on, with a small entry door on the driver’s side (that’s on the right side in Europe) and a rear entry door for fueling up — and for filling the nitrous oxide bottle. The shed is, remarkably, street legal, and Nicks’ Instagram page is filled with images of it on the highway, at gas stations, and all sorts of other points. He drag races it, has had it on salt flats, on a road course…you name it.
With the aerodynamics of, well….a shed….and coming in at nearly 5,000-pounds, it covers the 1/4-mile in 15.5-seconds at over 80 mph, and has been 104 mph in speed runs.
Borrowing on the idea of the drag karts that we featured here on Dragzine previously, Nicks is also assembling a new shed dedicated to the purpose of drag racing. Nicks himself fabricated a lengthened go-kart frame, with large road-going wheels and tires out back for traction and small, kart-style wheels up front. He’s used a solid 50mm rear axle, modified Ford Sierra hubs and bearings, kart bearings in the center (to help stop the axle from pulling toward the engine on acceleration), and two independent rear brakes — one manual and one hydraulic — to create a truly unique machine. As if the original shed wasn’t unique enough.
An inline four-cylinder Triumph motorcycle engine powers the new shed. Like the original, he has built a square-tube frame onto the chassis and will eventually complete the build-up of the wooden shed portion of the project. Initial testing has netted 15-second runs to the 1/4-mile, with issues hampering its ultimate performance.
North America may have the biggest and best that drag racing has to offer, but those Europeans know how to party.