Smart: A Small History of the Smallest Car

Smart: A Small History of the Smallest Car

The Smart Fortwo--originally called the City Coupe--started it all for the Smart brand in 1998 when it first went on sale in Europe. As it is the only model still in production, the Fortwo is the model coming to the U.S. next year. It is only 98.4 inches long and is available as a coupe or cabriolet. Check out our photo gallery and video feature for more information on this model.

The Smart Roadster was first shown in 2001 and was then sold from 2003 to 2005. It was based on the same platform as the Fortwo and was meant to evoke classic British sports car design. Though never sold, tuner Brabus created a twin-turbo V-6-powered roadster with the power-to-weight ratio near that of a Porsche 911. DaimlerChrysler recently sold the roadster design and manufacturing equipment to a British firm that plans to sell the car again next year, reviving with it the MG brand.

The Forfour, built with help from Mitsubishi (it uses many parts from the Euro-market Colt), opened the Smart brand up to buyers in need of four seats and a rear cargo area. Sorry, this one won't fit sideways in a parking spot. A number of hip special editions--including the "Hot & Tropic" model shown here, couldn't keep the Forfour moving through the factory, nor could the hot Brabus model. Smart is discontinuing this model at the end of the 2006 model year.

The Crosstown concept, shown at the 2005 Frankfurt show, was a design study for the next generation Fortwo that will most likely never see production. That's a shame, because its pseudo-Jeep styling would surely appeal to Americans more than the Fortwo's more European styling. Like a Wrangler, the Crosstown's windshield folds down for air-in-the face driving. It also showed off a hybrid powertrain, good for 4.7L/100 km fuel economy in the European cycle.

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