When we think of Smart cars, we generally think of cramped, underpowered city cars with no performance ambitions whatsoever. But people more creative than us have come up with some unique solutions to the Smart’s lack of performance prowess, including a team who built a Smart 4×4 Buggy that they had hoped to bring to the Dakar Rally.
Headed by Jose Luis Alvarez, this Smart ForTwo has been heavily, and we mean heavily, modified to tackle the Dakar Rally in South America. Arguably one of the toughest multi-day races in the world, the Dakar Rally is no joke. Yet as of late, we’ve seen a lot more interest from alternative fuel vehicles in races like Dakar, and Alvarez hoped to raise a few eyebrows with his Smart 4×4 Buggy, which is powered by a 900cc engine making around 90 horsepower.
Alas, this year it was not meant to be, as Alvarez’s crowdsourcing attempts fell short by a little more than $20,000. That means no Dakar rally for him and his Smart 4×4 Buggy, though it does open the possibility for a run next year. While many Dakar races go big and bold, with heavy duty chassis and suspension bits, the Smart 4×4 Buggy is light, agile, and would be a lot easier to manhandle out of a bad situation.
The Dakar Rally kicks off this weekend and runs through January 20th, and this year they’ll host a variety of different alternative fuel and electric vehicles. Among the competitors will be a Latvian team running a hybrid electric truck with an onboard range extender, though no word on whether the McRae electric buggy will be making a return to the rally for 2013.
We’ll be keeping our peepers peeled for any other interesting alt-fuel stories to come out of Dakar, though we’re more than a little disappointed that there won’t be a Smart car making the run.