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Thread: '03 Roadster: My daily driver

  1. #1
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    Default '03 Roadster: My daily driver

    Yeah, you probably came here because you thought this thread is about a Miata, 350Z or some fancy BMW Z. Nope, this is what it is all about...



    A Smart Roadster built in March 03, one of the very first ones. Was only offered in Europe and Japan. It weighs just short of 800kg and had 82hp in stock form. Here is it's build.

    It all started with this, my very first car. Yeah, I was young and had no money. Here in europe these shitboxes are dead cheap, so it was the best I could do. Doesn't need much fuel, spares are easy to get and easy on the wallet. But look, aftermarket wheels!





    After two years and around 170tkm, the engine was dead. Used lots of oil, so I thought it was best to get rid of it. I looked around which cars where available here in town, and the roadster popped up. It was a very good price. Well, it had to be a good price, because it was sold in winter and had 6(!) previous owners. So I went there, did a test drive, giggled a lot and bought it. Of course, these cars look like shit in stock form, see:











    So it was clear this car needs some coilovers and spacers. I went for the Bilstein B14 together with spacers from H&R with 20mm at the front and 30mm at the rear.





    However, the results was not satisfying. I have to get back to that later.












    Handling improved a lot. Afterwards I decided to do something about power. Installed Sandtler competition air filter and had an Ecu remap. Power went to 110hp, boost went up from 1.0bar to 1.5 bar. Along with some nice noise No blow off installed, that's what they sound like...



    After a year or so I got bored of the car and looked for something else. A Suzuki Cappuccino popped up in the area (see, I have a weird tiny-car-fetish). I did a test drive, but the asking price was too much. Afterwards I tried to further improve the handling of the Roadster. The steering had to become much crisper. Installed a Brabus steering wheel with 32cm diameter instead of 38cm. Also fitted PU bushes from Polybush to the wishbones front and rear, to the steering rack mount and to the rear axle center mount.









    Because the Roadster is rear engined, the front end is very soft. To fix this, I installed a strut that connects the lower wishbones on each side. Additionally a third bush for the stabilizer was added which connects to the strut.



    Bought some UHP tyres, Federal 595 RS-R.





    Holy moly, now that thing is crisp! Corner speeds are incredible!

    However, after a few days car went in limp home mode, boost not more then 0.5bar. Turns out the wastegate actuator was shot, it filled with oil and failed. Replaced it with the one from the Brabus Roadster. It has a stronger spring, so it can hold boost longer. Max boost went up to 1.6
    Also, this is how I wrench when I have to get under the car at my parents home. It is not dumb if it works! Kitty appproves!







    Car went fine through winter. Silly kids used the car as canvas...
    Used the Roadster to go skiing, worked surprisingly well in the snow.





    After winter I had some problems with the clutch. In wet condition, car refuses to accelerate, only the revs rise. The clutch is shot. Installed a custom unit with clutch discs from a Ford Puma. The discs can cope with the increased torque from the remap much better.



    In the spring I was able to secure a Brabus exhaust for cheap from german Craigslist. Modified it a little and installed it.





    Braaab-Braaab-Braaab-Braaaabuuuus!
    Move along, nothing to see here...











    Doesn't look good at all. See how the exhaus tips are hanging way too low? As I found out, the engine mounts were broken. More on that later... So I tried to fix it by going under the car again.



    Here are some sound files from outside and inside.



    Look how the exhaust is flexing and twisting under acceleration. Not good.



    And the party piece of the exhaust. Friend had to film this, softtop opened, bent over the trunk to capture this.



    Yep, that's a Smart!

    Meanwhile tinted the rear lights because the chrome look annouyed me. Also repainted the wheels as TE-37 clones. And fitted larger paddle shifters.









    Pics of all that crap fitted to the car.







    200k kilometers, yay!

    Said that too soon, because the oil sump was leaking at the drain. Replaced it, condition of the engine seems good. Also fitted an adapter, so I can use proper oil filter instead of the Smart crap. The adapter has a connection for an external oil temp sensor.







    Regarding the engine mounts: These are taken from the standard Smart ForTwo. But these cars had a maximum hp of 61. My Roadster has twice the power, and twice the torque. So they are way too soft. Problem is that they fail prematurely and are very expensive. I fixed this by designing a reinforcement which gets printed on a 3D printer.

















    Problem solved. Of course you can feel the engine vibration in the car now, but the throttle response is greatly improved. Also, exhaust sits right now and doesn't flex anymore.

    Fitted a Brabus wing to the trunk, cleaned the car, went out to take photos. Enjoy!




















    Things I need to adress:
    - Buy KW V2 coilover set, get rid of Bilstein.
    - Fix air intake temperature on hot summer days. I think I need a water cooled intercooler.
    - Fit stabilizer with 22mm instead of 18mm diameter

    If you have any questions, please ask!
    Last edited by kosso_olli; 12-18-2016 at 02:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    Headlights remind me of a TVR, tail lights of an RX8, and overall profile similar to a Prowler. This thing is cool as fuck.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. #3
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    This is one of the most unique builds I've seen on this forum. I'm glad you decided to tint the tail lights, they look great! A little lower and this thing would look grand!
    Some people will never understand it, why we do what we do.
    The busted knuckles and the late nights in the garage;
    it's more than a hobby or pastime, it's a lifestyle. We live it."


    Instagram: @Stance_God
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  4. #4
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    It will look better with coilover kit from KW suspension, no doubt. Had the chance to test drive a Roadster with one of these, it's brilliant. But pretty pricey...

  5. #5
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    I have a weak spot for these. Especially the roadster coupe's
    Lucas
    Daily: 2004 Pontiac GTO. . . . . . . . . Daily Econobox: 2009 Mini Clubman Cooper
    Quote Originally Posted by LCG View Post
    High 21! It's like a high 5 but includes both hands, both feet and a boner.

  6. #6
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    I can only recommend to test drive one. You won't regret it, it is such fun because it doesn't weigh anything.

  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    Funny how many weird cars from Germany show up here.
    Like that it's not the usual car to mod! Props for being unique

  9. #9
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    Haha this is so awesome, really digging this!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by E280Benz View Post
    Like that it's not the usual car to mod!
    Yeah, and that fact makes it hard sometimes, because there literally are zero parts for this car avaibable. I mean, you can get the stuff that's sold by Brabus, and then thats about it. Take the wheels for example: Because of that stupid 3 bolt pattern you can only mount the stock Smart wheels or very expensive custom made rims.

    Anyway, hope to post some updates soon. Just placed an order for a rebuilt soft top, cause mine shrinked because of the age, so it is leaking.

  11. #11
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    Yeah the 3 bolt plattern makes it difficult. Aren't there PCD Adapters available at SCC or similar company's?
    Next problem of unusual or rare cars over here is the lack of TÜV approved parts. Barely get them and then they are overpriced.

  12. #12
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    I saw some cool 3 lug Gotti wheels on ebay a few weeks ago.

  13. #13
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    That's it, once these things are old enough, i'm importing one. Never thought i'd say something like that about a Smart car of all things
    Whatever path you take to get to your automotive nirvana is the right path, everyone’s path is different. If more people liked cars because they are cars—not because they are a way to get attention or to way to be better than someone else—then I think the automotive world would be a better place. -benmassey

    Build Thread:

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asshole Bicycle View Post
    I saw some cool 3 lug Gotti wheels on ebay a few weeks ago.
    I think Gotti produced 3-lug wheels for the Renault Alpine. But PCD is different on Smart, it is only 112mm instead of 150 on the Alpine. Nice looking wheels, though!

    Would be nice to now if somebody ever imported one of these to the US as a grey market car.
    Also, the Coupe version can look really nice. Especially all black or all red!



  15. #15
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    Here is the Roadster in its current winter setup. No wrenching so far, because cold...








  16. #16
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    Hey guys,
    I'm still daily-driving this car. This year it will get new wheels for the summer season. These are standard Smart Spikeline wheels converted to 3pcs with RH hardware. 7,5x17 at the front and 8,5x17 at the rear.
    It also got a new KW V2 coilover kit. Really good fun on the track and much better looking when lowered all the way down.






    Last edited by kosso_olli; 01-15-2021 at 03:33 AM.

  17. #17

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    looks awesome. love this thing. keep the updates coming

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