If the U.S. Customs agency is intended to be a dam between automotive unobtanium and the U.S. masses, there’s a leak.; Every now and then, a handful of alien cars – oddball or otherwise – make the trip across the ‘pond, sneak through the ports, and are driven in this country against all odds (and many laws).
Such is the case with the Smart Roadster you see here – it’s listed on eBay as being for sale in California, though it’s not supposed to be.; Smart never brought the “sporty” rear-engine coupes to the U.S, and we’ll bet it’s not up to FMVSS snuff.
There’s also the issue of the listing itself, which describes the car as being a 1993 Smart Roadster.; We’ll certainly call shenanigans on that whopper – not only was the Roadster but a pipe dream in 1993, but so too was the Smart brand itself.; A pair of concept cars built by Mercedes-Benz and Swatch made the rounds of the ’93 Frankfurt motor show, but the brand – and the production-intent city car – wouldn’t appear until 1997.; Oh, and did we mention it’s being sold only with a bill of sale?; Good luck insuring – let alone registering it – without a legitimate title.
Still, in spite of its mysterious origins and questionable future, we can’t help but want one.; Though the Smart brand was intended to focus on runabouts that offered both spunk and urban sensibility, fourteen rogue designers (we’ll call them enthusiasts) managed to develop a business case for a sports model.; The result – the Roadster and it’s Targa-topped cousin, the Coupe – weren’t all that powerful, but most European critics found them to be at least some fun on a winding switchback.; Think MG Midget with a touch of Teutonic charm, and you’re not too far off.
DaimlerChrysler killed the sporty Smarts in 2006, but sold the tooling and production rights to a group of Brits who called themselves ‘Project Kimber.’; Though they hoped to refresh the styling and sell the car as either an AC Ace or a Midget, neither plan fell into place, and Kimber – as well as the Roadster – have since fallen by the wayside.
So, if you’re either a Smart geek or love the premise of a small, efficient two-seat roadster, here’s your car.; Just don’t expect to drive it much, if at all, on public roads…
Source: eBay Motors