If you were building a badass, big-horsepower hill climb car, what would you choose as a base? If you’re Croatian racing veteran Niko Pulic, you opt for a first-generation Smart ForFour. Duh.
The little city car is possibly not the first choice for most, but Niko has been tweaking and tinkering this Smart for years. The project has come to our attention via a video on the ever-entertaining YouTube channel Hill Climb Monsters. It’s worth a sub, but only if you’re willing to accept how much time you’ll inevitably lose to watching bizarre but brilliant creations tearing up twisty closed roads.
But back to the Smart. A stalwart of rallying, circuit racing and even truck racing, and a multiple champion of the European hillclimb scene, Niko was in action in his home country at June’s Skradin Hill Climb, showing just what you can do to an unassuming hatchback with a bit of engineering madness.
His hill-climb special is a Smart ForFour with, according to his Instagram page, around 600 horsepower from a modified Mercedes-Benz M111 engine (although in an interview last year he said it was running 800bhp). It’s an old lump, with Merc having used it as far back as 1992, and it’s handy for running lots of boost, owing to its tough iron block.
With four-wheel drive and a weight of just 1000kg, you can see why the Smart so mind-bendingly rapid. Most of the modifications were done in Croatia using Croatian parts, and judging by some older YouTube videos, it’s been an evolution project since 2008. At this point we can’t imagine there’s a whole lot of the original Smart left.
Bless you Niko, for blessing us with this insanity. Keep it up.