A motorcycle-engined sports car as light as a feather originally born on the track before being adapted for road use.
Name: Suzuki Hayabusa Sport Prototype (HSP)
Debuted: 2002 Tokyo Auto Salon
Specs: 1.3-liter motorcycle engine with 175 horsepower and 102 pound-feet (138 Newton-meters) of torque, six-speed sequential gearbox, rear-wheel drive, 550 kilograms (1,212 pounds) weight
Why We Remember It Now:
The idea of a motorcycle-engined car is intriguing, especially when that car looks like a Japanese version of a TVR.
Suzuki’s vision of a sports car took the whole “less is more” theme to new heights some 16 years ago when the company slapped the desirable “Hayabusa” moniker on something other than a motorcycle. Based on the track-only Formula Suzuki Hayabusa, the HSP was essentially a race car turned street-legal.
It was billed back in the day as being the “ultimate lightweight sports car” by its creator as the petite one-off tipped the scales at just 550 kg (1,212 lbs) distributed evenly 50:50 front/rear. To put that number into perspective, the pint-sized Volkswagen up! GTI suddenly becomes a fatty – at 997 kg (2,198 lbs).
The reason why it got the “Hayabusa” name has to do with the fact the concept borrowed the naturally aspirated 1.3-liter engine from the GSX-R1300R Hayabusa, a former holder of the fastest production motorcycle title. Installed in front midship and driving the rear axle, the inline-four unit developed the same 175 hp and 102 lb-ft in the CFRP-bodied sports car as in the motorcycle.
With gullwing doors for a body that had a TVR-esque design with a hint of Panoz Esperante GTR-1, the Hayabusa Sport Prototype was an interesting proposal for a back-to-basics tiny sports car. How tiny? It was only 3790 mm (149.2 inches) long, 1760 mm (69.3 inches) wide, and just 1100 mm (43.3 inches) tall.
Suzuki never had any plans to put the car into production. In fact, the concept was not even ready to be driven on roads.