The little Smart Fortwo is an awesome platform to build almost any car you want. You can build them to off-road like I do or drop a Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle engine in back for side-splitting burnouts and cheerios. Drag racers have their own ideas, like this Fortwo driven by a mammoth 9.1-liter V8.
I’m always checking out what’s happening in the world of Smart Fortwos, and that’s where I caught this video from the RACE YOUR RIDE YouTube channel showing one drag car’s latest evolution:
This car originally made the rounds in 2014 when its builder, Mark Cryer, first showed off the car to the drag racing world. The body of the car is a 2009 Smart Fortwo, but that’s where the Smart parts end. The rest of this thing is a custom-built drag racing machine. The Smart’s unibody was cut up and bolted onto a chrome-alloy frame.
Somehow, Cryer was able to fit the entire contents of a drag car, including a 7.0-liter big-block V8, inside while still leaving room for a driver.
The wheelbase was stretched and the track widened for more stability. This is less an engine-swapped Smart and more of a Smart-themed drag car, but it’s still cool.
The first version of the build ran 11-second quarter miles and was even seen racing a Smart Fortwo with a supercharged Toyota Tercel engine.
But Cryer and Nick, his drag racer son, wanted to get even more out of the little car. So out went the 7.0-liter V8 and in its place a 9.1-liter V8 found a home. The father-son team changed tires, gearing, shocks and wheels until they got the car to run 9-second quarter miles.
The video says that the pair gets the title for World’s Fastest Smart Car, but I’m not really sure about that. As it’s a Smart’s outer shell bolted to an otherwise completely custom vehicle, can you really call it a Smart anymore? This reminds me of the Ship of Theseus question that we covered recently.
The Smart that challenged him with its blown Tercel engine is perhaps even cooler. Built by Paul Barnes, this 2008 Smart Fortwo was so quick that it ripped wheelies while outrunning Mustangs at the drag strip. The belt slips off of the supercharger in this video below but it still did pretty well:
It rocks a four-cylinder Toyota 5EFE engine ripped out of a Tercel. The engine got a major overhaul to handle more power, and it was capped off with a Sprintex supercharger making at least 28 pounds of boost.
I got to check out the car firsthand at a Smart rally in St. Louis, Missouri. You could hear the supercharger whine from a mile away.
The result was actually so drivable that Barnes had no problem taking the car on road trips. The only things it didn’t have were air-conditioning and heat.
The new engine didn’t take up much more space than the factory one did, allowing the Smart to become a true sleeper.
Barnes sold his car sometime after these videos. I missed buying it by about a week.
Both of these Smart builds show that a motorcycle engine doesn’t need to be the default when you build a quick Smart. I want to see more people cram regular four-cylinder car engines in the back of these!