If you were watching Top Gear in the early 2000s, you will remember the Brabus V6 Biturbo Smart Roadster Coupe from 2003.
With its European success of the ForTwo city car, Smart was able to produce a smaller, low-slung roadster and Brabus was mad enough to build 10 V6 biturbo versions of it.
The original Roadster and Roadster Coupe were meant to hark back to small roadsters of old like the Triumph Spitfire and MG B: compact, fun, open-top cars powered by small engines.
The stock Smart Roadster recipe therefore made use of the same 60kW, 3-cylinder, turbo engine and automatic gearbox as the ForTwo – but packaged in a road-hugging 3.5m long and 1.2m tall body weighing less than 800kg.
I drove one of these back when they launched and loved it so much that – despite its terrible gear shifting – I almost bought one.
Shortly after more aggressively-styled versions of the stock Smart Roadster were put on sale, Brabus created the wild Roadster Coupe.
This saw them essentially merge two of the 698cc, three-cylinder motors into a V formation to create a rear-mounted, 1.4-litre, V6, biturbo engine driving the rear wheels.
The claimed output was 160kW. In a car weighing less than 850kg, this provided acceleration from 0-to-100km/h in under 5.0 seconds.
This gave the Brabus Smart Roadster Coupe the same power-to-weight ratio as the Porsche Carrera 4S of the time.
As with many prototypes, however, the development cost made them prohibitively expensive to build.
Only 10 examples were built – and only one made it into a private collector’s hands.
Two were then taken by Mercedes-Benz, while one remains with Brabus.
One was also brought to South Africa and displayed at Auto Africa in 2004, alongside the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, but it’s perhaps the appearance on Top Gear that made it best known.