After visiting the Vintage Micro Car Club's Web site (see post below), I began to think about some of the other cool subcompacts from the past—some of them made it to the U.S., some stayed in Europe, Asia, or other parts of the world. Every now and then I'll post up some of the cool subcompacts from the past. The first one will be the Smart Roadster.
Most people are now familiar with the Smart ForTwo, which is what most people picture when someones says "Smart Car." However, from 2003–2005, there was a sexier Smart on the market: The Roadster and Roadster Coupe
This sporty-looking little number accommodated two, was low-slung, and was available in a "Roaster" or "Roadster Coupe" forms. The Roadster was powered by either a 60 hp or 82 hp three-cylinder engine (the Roadster Coupe only had the more powerful mill) mated to the infamous six-speed sequential-style gearbox. Well-known tuner, Brabus, had a version of the Smart that made 101 hp, which also had other accouterments for luxury and handling.
The driving experience was apparently pretty good, albeit, there wasn't much in the way of acceleration. Handling, on the other hand, was great. Some people likened the car to a bare-bones-style sportscar. Automobile magazine said the car had "go-kart-like handling." Plus, the car could get between 40 and 50 miles per gallon.
According to the
Smart Roadster and Coupe review (Automobile magazine)
Wikipedia entry for Smart Roadster
Smart Roadster Forum (TheRoadster.net)