At $23,500, Could This Hayabusa-Powered 2002 Smart ForTwo Be For You?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

With its estimated 173-horsepower, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe ‘Smartacus’ packs about four-times the ponies of a stock ForTwo. Let’s see if this wild custom’s price is also a factor too high.

As I noted in the comments on last Friday’s $15,250 2003 Mustang Mach 1, I’ve owned two of Ford’s ponies over the years. One of them was good, and one was bad. With that history, you might find it strange that my favorite song by The Handsome Family is not Pony, but Arlene. Go figure.


You would likely not find it odd that Friday’s Mach 1 fell in a substantial 65-percent Crack Pie loss. After all, you were part of what made that happen. The SN-95 just doesn’t engender all that much love, and now maybe the seller will be humming a different tune.

Speaking of tune, that’s a word that has been usurped from the music industry for use by those of us who like to make sure our cars are running in tip-top shape.

In fact, it used to be that we’d do a ‘tune up.’ That involved adjusting things like ignition timing, carburetor fuel flow, and point gap and meant we could play with cool tools like timing lights and dwell meters. Owing to technological advancement, all those things are now pretty much relics of the past. So too is the term ‘tune up,’ along with ‘lube job’ and ‘grease monkey.’ I blame PETA for the loss of that last one.

These days, ‘tuning’ an engine typically means dropping in a new computer chip. That silicon superman can remap all the sensors and micro-controller switches and senders, eking out ever more performance from your factory mill. And of course, when you’ve finally wrung what it brung, the next step is simply to drop in a bigger motor and start all over.


That’s what has been done to this 2002 Smart ForTwo. And, it’s not just a bigger motor, it’s the biggest. At least at one time. At 1,299-ccs, the Suzuki Hayabusa DOHC four was one of the largest displacement engines ever to rock the cradle of a sport bike.


I mean, if you want to get nuts, I think the Munch Mammut 2000 was about the biggest, but then when was the last time you saw one of those?

In Japanese, Hayabusa means Peregrine Falcon, and the name is notable both for the Suzuki bike and for the JAXA spacecraft that brought back to Earth samples of a near-Earth asteroid. That Hayabusa had to hit about Mach-33 to escape the clutches of Earth’s gravity and make it’s rendezvous with the near-by rock show. The Suzuki Hayabusa is nowhere near that fast. However, with a reputed 186-mile per hour top speed, the bike is still butt-clenchingly quick.


You may be asking yourself, why are we’re talking about space ships and super bikes. After all, isn’t this all about a Smart ForTwo city car?


Yes. Yes it is.

The thing of it is, the Smart ForTwo is boring. It’s also terrible. The Smart ForTwo is boring and terrible. Except that is, when your ForTwo has a hot case of Hayabusa butt. This one’s all about the Hayabusa butt.


The seller says that the car was originally a roller, brought to the U.S. in order to be converted to an all-electric version by race car builder Panoz, LLC. That didn’t pan out and it made the rounds like a foster kid that farts at the table.

The Hayabusa motor was procured from a Suzuki bike of indeterminate age and 3,350 miles on the clock. Along with the big four came the six speed gearbox, plus the instrument binnacle that houses a 180 mile per hour speedometer and a tach that redlines at a screeching 11,000 rpm.


The build, which includes a wildly widened rear track, was accomplished with a kit by Sinister Sand Sports. The fender flares appear somewhat comical, but the whole thing looks professionally done and seems about as well thought out as a Renault R5 Turbo, a car that could be this Smart’s fairy godfather.


Yes, the pedals inside seem about as close as conjoined triplets, but then you’re not going to be driving in your Crocs are you? Honestly, you shouldn’t be doing anything in those hideous things. Get your self some real shoes and make sure they are skinny enough for this rad ride.

The seller calls the car ‘Smartacus’ which is okay I guess. I would have gone for ‘Smartabusa’ or ‘ForTomb’ but then again, second guessing is a hobby of mine. The car is claimed fully functioning and includes a reverse gear secondary to the sequential box. The ad says there’s been about 1,000 miles under its tires since the build.


You might wonder about the legality and challenges of registering this ride for the road. The seller says that it’s a non-issue. He’s registered it in Illinois under a clean ‘spec-constructed’ title and was given a VIN by the state.


Why would you sell such an amazing car after dropping so much time (a year and a half went into the car) and money into it? The seller says gives this as the reason:

As much as I enjoy walking into my garage and looking at it, I just don’t drive it enough to justify keeping it. I have owned as man as 4 Smart Cars at a time. recently just sold my daughters 2006 coupe and my 2008 Smartavador with Suzuki GSX-R motor.


Okay, so he’s all in on Smarts and making them smarter. The question then is, how savvy is he about pricing them? The ad asks $23,500, and the seller has tried on multiple occasions to pimp the car out on eBay for more than five grand higher. He’s had no luck there, let’s see how he fairs here.


What’s your take on ‘Smartacus’ and that $23,500 price? Does that seem like a sane deal on a so crazy a car? Or, is that just dumb?

You decide!


Chicago, IL Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Abraxzsas for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.