So me and my wife went and had a few beers and I said I am going to go in tomorrow and rent space off him and start doing it my own way.
Crafting the world’s fastest couch
Iced coffee brand, Ice Break commissioned Evolution Motorsport to build a motorised couch with coffee table for an attempt at the fastest furniture land speed record. The couch took four weeks to build and it duly smashed the world record. McKinnon explains the journey:
“Ice Break ice coffee were crazy enough to commission us to build it. The brief was simple, to build a couch that could exceed speeds of 92 Mph (the world record) with only a couple of months to do it, we got to work.
“ All work was carried out in-house with counter levered, inboard shock, double wishbone front suspension, TIG welded CDS chassis, Datsun 1600 rear end, custom pedal box, dragster steering rack and upholstery by T. Wall and sons Brookvale.
“On Monday the 26th of september we set out to Camden Air Field with our fingers crossed and sure enough the couch exceeded expectations by reaching 163.12 Kph (101 Mph).”
Fabrication is an industrial term that refers to building metal structures by cutting, bending, and assembling. These overlap with a variety of metalwork disciplines including blacksmiths, ironwork, forgers and casters. In the case of McKinnon, he specialises in a wide range of custom fabrication, sculpting custom vintage car and motorcycle parts and fine tuning race cars.
“Well I was kind of forced into it,” McKinnon admits. “I was working for a bloke in Brookvale and he sacked me. He had employed me as a fabricator to build this project that he had taken on for a client and the day the project finished he said you can go, or you can work for me on contract.
“So me and my wife went and had a few beers and I said I am going to go in tomorrow and rent space off him and start doing it my own way. Word got around quickly that I was doing my own thing and work kept coming in.”
Mckinnon’s passion for cars and motorbikes began when he was 11 driving his very first go-kart. The experience was the catalyst for a successful 6 year karting career that saw McKinnon win 3 Australian Championships and a number of State Championships – this included competing against a number of current Formula One drivers including Mark Webber. This combined passion for speed and engineering spurred him on to build 3 race cars before entering the world of fabrication and starting his own business – Evolution Custom Industries.
His obsession with speed even saw McKinnon and his team at Evolution break the land speed record for the fastest sofa in the world during a run at Camden Airport in September 2011.
The idea to build the world’s fastest couch came from the “Add A Motor To It” series on YouTube by Ice Break ice coffee. Their top speed of 163km/h [101 mph] broke the previous Guinness World Record of 148km/h [92 mph] held by Englishman Marek Turowsk since 2008. The leather two-seater – complete with a handy coffee table was powered by a Suzuki GSX 1400 motorcycle engine.
“It’s the oddest vehicle we’ve ever built,” McKinnon said. “With race cars you can use the aerodynamic body kit dictated by the regulations for each series. But with the couch it was a matter of just doing what we could. We kept it as low profile as we could, and tried to break the airflow with the coffee table.”
“We broke the record in testing, but to get over 100mph, to break that magic ton was pretty cool,” he said. “It was awesome to see it flying down the track and a helicopter behind it with an I-Max camera filming it all. I was pumped.”