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The 451 DEFINITELY has shift by cable - not by wire. The cable shown is indeed the shifter cable for the 451. The cable end snaps onto the pawl button that is mounted to the transmission. This is a royal pain in the a** to change and if done by a competent Smart mechanic, the book states 2.7 hours. Many parts come off to gain access to the cable assembly to remove it. I'm in the midst of replacing mine as I write this. It is not easy to access and as best as I can determine, Smart laid the shifter cable down on the factory floor and then built the entire car around the cable. I was ready to draw the failed cable out when it would quite come smoothly and further removal of the interior showed the factory had zip tied the shifter cable to the wiring harness. Lovely.

The "issue" for my '08 is that the end of the cable has a snap fitting that goes into a ball mounted on the transmission. That end, over time, rusted and eventually lost it grip on the ball and fell off so shifting was futile and it was stuck in park until I could get in there and see what had happened. Fortunately, the MB dealer where I bought this 12 yrs ago was still servicing them and found only two of the metal ball brackets and 5 cables left in the entire US. Now there's one ball bracket and four cables.

Entire interior gutted for access to the cable and shifter removal.
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