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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-02-2006, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Smart Car, I want one with an R1 engine

Europe's 'smart' cars coming to U.S. — in 2 sizes
Importers promise 60-mpg coupes; carmaker itself eyes SUV

ZAP
Several smart cars sit in a showroom for potential dealers at the headquarters for ZAP. The company, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., had specialized in electric vehicles but is branching out to sell thousands of the high mileage, gasoline-powered cars.

The tiny car that won over Europeans with its cute looks and very high mileage is finally coming to America, just not in the way you might expect it to.

The 60-mpg, two-seat coupes are made by a European company called smart, but the DaimlerChrysler division is not the one selling them here anytime soon. True, they will be sold in Canada starting in September, but not so in the United States.

Instead, smart USA is betting Americans won't want the small smarts, at least not yet, and has taken a different strategy: a smart SUV, available here in 2006. The first press release touts not the mileage but that it's "loaded with adrenaline — both off road as well as on."

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While that might run counter to smart's origins as a nifty, thrifty machine, it also has left the door open for third-party importers to bring the small smarts into the United States.

And that's exactly what several importers plan to do.

Importers' hurdles
The most ambitious plan was conceived by a German entrepreneur, an auto conversion specialist and an electric-vehicle company.

Thomas Heidemann threw himself, and $5 million, into his import venture after selling his construction business in Germany. His goal: Selling 15,000 smarts a year in large U.S. cities.

Two years later, he's learned that it's not easy getting a foreign car modified for approval by U.S. agencies. But with the help of a G&K Automotive Conversion, a California company, he's finally gotten approval from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and is awaiting emission results from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Heidemann, of course, thinks smart has the wrong strategy. "I never would do an SUV because there are so many of them already," he says. Besides, "the times are changing, you see that with hybrid cars, with smaller cars" like the popular MINI Cooper.

Heidemann's company, smart-automobile, Inc., signed a deal to sell the cars through ZAP, a California company that until now had specialized in all-electric vehicles. ZAP has agreed to pay $10 million for exclusive rights to distribute the car for 10 years and is now lining up dealers.

"The response has been incredible," says Alex Campbell, a ZAP spokesman. "When people found out that we were in this deal, they have been contacting us wanting to buy them right away."

Pricing should run between $12,000 for the cheapest model, and just over $20,000 for a convertible with all the available extras, Heidemann says. That's a markup of a few thousand dollars over the price in Europe, where Heidemann has been buying them from dealers.

Each dealer will have a service department, he adds, and vehicles will be warrantied by smart-automobile. Specifics are being worked out, but a basic warranty should be around 36 months.

Some 200 are in a California warehouse, he adds, ready to ship once the federal green light is given. Ironically, California won't be one of the first states to see the cars, since its car certification process is even more stringent than U.S. standards.

But is it safe?
A potentially bigger obstacle for Heidemann is convincing Americans that the smart cars — just over eight feet long — are safe.


Smart
The frame for smart cars is made of reinforced steel, creating what engineers compare to the way a walnut shell protects the nut.

In Europe's five-star crash rating system, the smarts get three stars.

Since introducing smarts in 1998, the carmaker itself has spent time and advertising money convincing Europeans on safety, touting a frame design it likens to a walnut, with high-strength steel beams reinforcing key areas.

Smart also likes to show off a 30-mph crash test between a smart coupe and a Mercedes sedan twice as big. "The passenger cell survived the collision almost unscathed," says spokeswoman Julia Knittel.

Other safety features on the manual transmission smarts include braking and stability technology usually found only on high-end luxury cars. And on hills, a start assist keeps the brakes on for just under a second to allow time for the feet to adjust.


Smart
Since smart cars are so short, side impacts like this crash test will likely hit an axle. Smart engineers say that will absorb some of the impact, adding protection for those inside.
Adrian Lund, of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, isn't impressed by such claims, saying that "every carmaker advertises that they have the state of the art design" on safety.

But he adds that as long as the imports meet with federal approval "they're not unsafe."

"On the other hand," he says, "they are small and lightweight and cannot protect you" as well as a larger car. "Fatalities are much higher with small, lightweight vehicles."

The institute, a group funded by insurers that crash tests cars, hasn't tested the smarts and probably wouldn't unless they were sold in large quantities.

"I don't expect them to be less safe than other small cars," Lund says, "it's just that they face the same limitations."

Parent's plans
Smart USA, which is run out of the Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters in Montvale, N.J., won't have to worry about the size issue with its SUV, dubbed the formore.


Smart USA
Smart USA plans to sell a smart SUV, called the formore, in the United States in 2006.
But why doesn't smart itself bring in the smaller cars? It feels a bigger market lies in the small SUV segment, where drivers can get a bit of both worlds. So smart will build a vehicle similar in size to the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V and sell them through 60 Mercedes dealers.

The company hopes to sell 30,000 a year in the United States, and product manager Mark Ramsey says the first should be available in the third quarter of 2006. No price has been set yet.

As for the small smarts, Ramsey says the company is flattered by the importers. "It speaks very well for the car and the brand in general," he says, while adding that his concern about third-party imports is how they'd be serviced and warrantied.

And Ramsey doesn't discount the possibility that the company might sell the small smarts, known in Europe as fortwos, through Mercedes dealers in America some day. "We are definitely looking at the next generation of the fortwo to come to the United States," he says.

Canadians get diesel versions
Up north, meanwhile, Canadian drivers will get two-seater smart cars starting in September. In fact, they'll have two models to chose from that get around 70 mpg because they're diesels, not gasoline-powered.

The models use what's called common rail diesel, a technology that's cleaner than older diesel engines. The top speed is 75 mph and prices start around $12,100 for the coupe and $15,170 for the cabriolet.

So what about heading north and bringing a diesel-powered smart back over the border? JoAnne Caza, a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson in Canada, says don't even think about it. "It is not possible since the Canadian car is not certified for sale in the USA," she says.

Heidemann, for his part, is optimistic the first smarts in the United States will be ready for purchase "in four or five weeks."

© 2005 MSNBC Interactive

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5217861/
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-02-2006, 12:49 PM
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Canada had it for like a year already... but no thanks!

1. That thing is fugly!

2. 0 - 62 mph in 19.8 seconds! (click here)

3. That thing screws up parking spaces on the street in downtown! ghead

4. If you ever get into an accident in that thing, all I can say is "Good luck!"... cause it looks like even a Civic can smash that thing in a collision!

5. That thing is fugly!


I think that thing is only suitable for girls or homo(i.e. MV-999R)...

:


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¤ più forte non si può . WLF viva la figa
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-02-2006, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Hey that's why I said put an R1 engine in it.


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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-02-2006, 02:42 PM
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Might as well go with a Busa engine. Then you might actually get some kind of acceleration out of it!

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-04-2006, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R4Ltony
Might as well go with a Busa engine. Then you might actually get some kind of acceleration out of it!

that's been done.

and yes, they're up here already, I see 'em everyday, not much to look at.

I saw one that got in an accident onetime, it hit a little mazda from behind, and altho the impact was at the front, the entire hind section of the smart car was destroyed, seems like the A-pillars held there strength and collapsed the rear pillars.

that said, I think a head on with a harley and you'd be cooked.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 01:43 PM
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sat in one you feel like in a tin can claustrophobic
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 01:50 PM
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2. 0 - 62 mph in 19.8 seconds!

LMAO

I think it would be fun to put a R1 engine or Busa Engine in it and just use it for the track.

But on the public streets.........I think I would feel safer on my bike then in that thing. :laugh
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-08-2006, 09:32 PM
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Smart cars have had an easier time passing most government crash tests than most of the cars you and I are driving.

Check this too:


Size does not equal safety.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-08-2006, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyril Sneer
Smart cars have had an easier time passing most government crash tests than most of the cars you and I are driving.

Check this too:


Size does not equal safety.
Don't believe all these crash test videos where the car hits straight on flat to the target, cause most real life accidents don't occur straight direct hit like that... there are many videos that were done to prove those direct hit tests aren't accurate at all, cause gov. tests are mostly direct straight on impact, in these videos they make only half of the car hits the target... and the results are totally different...

:corn


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¤ più forte non si può . WLF viva la figa
¤ In 2006 I lost because of bad luck; I still won the most races and was the fastest on track for most of the time... Last year I was sorry that
after so many successful years, some people thought Valentino was finished and Casey was the new Valentino. ~ The Doctor '08
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valerossi
Don't believe all these crash test videos where the car hits straight on flat to the target, cause most real life accidents don't occur straight direct hit like that... there are many videos that were done to prove those direct hit tests aren't accurate at all, cause gov. tests are mostly direct straight on impact, in these videos they make only half of the car hits the target... and the results are totally different...

:corn
I agree.

And I'd still rather get schmucked in a Smart than in a crappy Colbalt or something.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 01:48 AM
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fuck that one... this is the Smart Car you want to put an R1 engine in.. These thing are cool looking.. a bunch here in Germany
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyril Sneer
I agree.

And I'd still rather get schmucked in a Smart than in a crappy Colbalt or something.
lol... good point. :


Btw... welcome to the forum...


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¤ più forte non si può . WLF viva la figa
¤ In 2006 I lost because of bad luck; I still won the most races and was the fastest on track for most of the time... Last year I was sorry that
after so many successful years, some people thought Valentino was finished and Casey was the new Valentino. ~ The Doctor '08
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 02:43 PM
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Hey, hands off Smart

I can't believe someone who rides a motorcycle would worry about passive safety like protective cage strength. Your safety is in your head and that car's got four wheels so it can't fall. Modern cars are engineered wery well safety-wise and also crash-tested. But if you're worried about crashing that much... Sure, if you intend to crash every year or "accidents" inexplainably "happen" to you then you should stick to Suburbans: the clumsy sissy unattentive soccer mom/dad vehicle of choice.

0-60? You've got your bike to experience that. Like friggin' Accord V6, any macho V8 SUV, or even M-series BMW is gonna feel like Ferrari... It's just a cage unless it's over $100K. I currently drive M3 and I'll sell it in a heartbeat over Smart. Coz M3 or even NSX I had before aint Lamborghini. Besides that thing will be a rocket with GSXR-1000 motor (been done already by few ppl).

Looks... I beg to differ. It's got classic Euro one-volume looks, something from Spielberg futuristic movies. Ever seen a long-hooded car in those sci-fi films? Hint: the engines are getting smaller. I wonder how 2025 Camaro will look having 4 electric motors at each wheel. What will they use that long ugly tabletop hood for? Geez, what's up with all that disgusting retro... Those 70s designs belong to museums. The mid- and back-engine layouts have been proven superior from both mass centralization and aerodynamics point of view. Luckily the engine technology made new compact designs possible, so it's finally available for normal passenger cars.

It also depends what era you associate yourself with: 1970s or 2010. Personally if I craved something "classic" I'd get the real thing, not a retro-styled 2005 model. Like it or not in 20 years most passenger vehicles will look compact and bubbly like Smart.

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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 03:30 PM
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bad-mofo,

First of all, I think the Smart car is fugly, that's just my opinion...

Secondly, I'm not worrying about passive safely, if I'm, I wouldn't be riding motorcycles... I was just pointing that out...

Thirdly, I don't care what you say, but 0-62 in 20 seconds is rediculously slow, most cars today don't even take that much time to hit 1/4 mile... and even those Honda/Toyota hybird cars is much faster than that...

Forth, if it's really "just a cager", then why you bought a M3 and not buy some other cars? You could of just bought a 325is coupe, it will probably save you more gas and for sure will save you a lot of money...

Fifth, I don't like any retro style cars either, and I like futuristic looking cars, but the Smart is just fugly imo... there are other cars that has similar futuristic style that looks way better, like the Lotus Elise...

:corn


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¤ più forte non si può . WLF viva la figa
¤ In 2006 I lost because of bad luck; I still won the most races and was the fastest on track for most of the time... Last year I was sorry that
after so many successful years, some people thought Valentino was finished and Casey was the new Valentino. ~ The Doctor '08
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 05:01 PM
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Elise with its mid-ninetees curves is rather classic that futuristic. Gallardo is what I'd call futuristic in that class, but tastes differ. Forget Elise (IMO they really went retro with it - this is where babyboomers money is). Here is one futuristic cage: Maserati Birdcage. BTW it's currently displayed at LA auto show (going there on Thursday).

In any case Elise is a 100% sports car, and Smart is a 100% passenger car, so IMO Smart's utilitarian's design is as good as small passenger cars can be. It has a one-volume design just like most Euro cars today (saw many of those in Mexico on my vacation last week). There isn't need for long (or any) hood for a passenger car, neither trunk. Pure people space: that's what's so advanced and futuristic about this PASSENGER car. Whether you like it or not "classic" sedan shape is going away and future cars will look one-volume (mini-vanish). Public acceptance will take time especially in the conservative US like prolly people thought in the 30s integrated headlights are ugly compared to gorgeous huge lights of Dusenbergs. Hey, there is an even better example: Harleys and sportbikes. C'mon, you think exposed pushrods and other low-tech accents are beautiful? High-tech is beautiful, low-tech is ugly, as simple as that. Smart is a technological marvel of the late 20th Century. FYI it was designed in 1998.

As for M3 I was gradually stepping down from NSX. It'd be pain the ass to sell it privately so I opted to trade it in for something comparable, but more family-friendly (3-seater). M3 is a great car, it puts smile on my face (drifting residential corners), but it's just a car. Though with Smart (or 07 Toyota Yaris Liftback) I'll be able to have at least three bikes and two cars in my garage and that'd put an even bigger smile on my face. Currently I squeezed an M3, Murano, R1, R6, and a one-rail trailer in my standard two-car garage.

I also don't understand 0-60 numbers. Below is the technical data on one of the upscale editions: Smart Fortwo Brabus: http://www.smart.com/-snm-0140499436...tattung%2epage

74hp should be enough. So it's basically three engines: 50hp, 61hp, and 74hp. It's also got a sequential 6-speed transmission (computerized hydraulic clutch actuator) currently only available here on Beemers, Audis, and Ferraris. As for 0-100kmh number that was for the diesel engine. It's 12.3s for Brabus. Good enough unless you wanna compare yopur dick with Lexus owners.

Looks good too IMO: clean lines and overall well-balanced shape, but again tastes differ. If you're into long tabletop hood hotrods then Euro one-volume design is not gonna appeal to you. To me this car is as high-tech and futuristic as Gallardo (in its own class). Sorta like a sharp iPod-styled gadget.






Below is 360 view of the Brabus:
http://www.smart.com/-snm-0140499436...faussen%2epage

And finally some ugly Americanized version with pronounced hood and other retro accents like the vertical windshield:

Last edited by bad-mofo; 01-09-2006 at 05:15 PM.
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 05:59 PM
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C'mon, no doubt Smart has a futuristic look, but please don't compare it with a Gallardo... one is futuristic-ugly and the other is futuristic-nice... out of all the Smart pics you posted, the only one I can accept is the roadster one in the 4th and 5th pic... I agree hi-tech is nice, but you can't just say because it's futuristic so it's beautiful, cause it's not true, just because it futuristic, it doesn't necessary mean it's nice...

FYI, I'm from HK, we have Smart there since it first came out, so I've seen the first version till the latest version in real life, not just in pictures...

And for your M3 comment, once again, you have counter what you just said on your first post that it's just a cager... you bought the M3 because is a fast car that can drift and put a smile on your face... it doesn't matter that you're stepping down from the NSX, but you still bought a M3 because it not "just a cager"... you could of bought so many other "just a cager" car, but you still didn't... honestly, I would really like to see you sell the M3 in a heartbeat over Smart... Smart will be available soon in the US... :1poke

And about 0-60 time... well, to each of their own, but even at 12.3 seconds, of course it's a lot better, but still slower than the current Honda CR-V ... plus that Brabus edition, we don't even know if that's available to the US, at least not in Canada atm... the site you showed is for the UK market...

:corn


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¤ più forte non si può . WLF viva la figa
¤ In 2006 I lost because of bad luck; I still won the most races and was the fastest on track for most of the time... Last year I was sorry that
after so many successful years, some people thought Valentino was finished and Casey was the new Valentino. ~ The Doctor '08
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Vale Alex Is right, I agree

I want smart car too


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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 06:27 PM
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Smart and Gallardo are in two different classes. Name the best looking one-volume sub-compact (even with Euro models). WV Polo? Ford Ka? Renault Clio? Mini is a little retro for my taste (too much chrome plus vertical windshield). WV Beetle looks OK. I'd think of Peugeot 107/Citroen C1/Toyota Aygo: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_sh...3_peugeot_107/
If something is ugly in this segment it's a "rugged" Scion XB: a shrinked lowered Astro van straight from the ghetto. But allegedly that's how young people wanna look here: tough. Compact BMWs are either intentionally "retro" (Z4) or super-conservative (1-series).

Another thing I saw in Mexico: compact pickups based on modern compact cars. I forgot what it was: either Nissan or Chevy(Opel)-based. But imagine the latest Honda Civic pickup. Fugly? Just coz it has a short sloped hood that continues to the sloped windshield? I mean does it need to look rugged/macho with the long hood implying an old-skool V8 underneath? Would be perfect for both trackdays and regular commute. It's a shame we don't have anything like this here. Fugly Subaru Baja doesn't count.

Well, maybe "heartbeat" was an overstatement, but I'll sell M3 and get a fully loaded Smart. Maybe after waiting a year so the hype (if any) is over. In a way Smart looks as exotic as Gallardo. IMO it's not gonna be perceived here as ugly Scions or Geo Metro. There is no upper limit with cars. You can't chase rich, really rich people who drives Ferraris every day. Luckily we've got a better and less expensive hobby yet superior to 99% of cages: sport bikes. That's what I'm trying to say: it's kinda pointless dreaming (and finally getting) something in the middle, like a nicely equipped Lexus (or even Beemer), coz the next thing, you'll be envying Lamborghini owners. I'd rather make a completely different statement to the world:
1. I'm confident in my safe driving and don't need a protective cage.
2. I'm not claustrophobic, neither I equate size and quality... plus all that "personal space" bullshit which is latent claustrophobia IMO.
3. I don't compare dicks with those who drive "performance sedans" (still sedans with cushy seats, wooden trim, and a slush box).

I think Brabus edition will be (prolly the only one) available in the US though if you noticed in the article, the official plans for now are about completely different model: a Smart "SUV" (Forfour). I'd agree that one is indeed fugly coz that car just wasn't meant to have four doors regardless of all the ricy stuff: rims, Recaro seats, the air scoop, etc. Nothing but a riced out Golf.




And finally another great-looking concept similar to that chopped version (unfortunately a prototype) that looks the best out of the whole lineup:


OMG. One of the cleanest lines I've ever seen.

P.S. Don't forget about the Gixxer engine mod though I don't think I'd feel than unhappy to do it.

Last edited by bad-mofo; 01-09-2006 at 07:34 PM.
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 09:58 PM
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bad-mofo,

Well, I guess I see your point... and you're right, there are many other cars that are uglier than the Smart... like the Scion XB...

About some of those hatchbacks you listed, not sure if we should put them in the same category as the Smart, cause the Smart is really even smaller than those... but if you ask me which current hatchback that I think it's nicer than a VW Polo or Renault Clio, I would pick the latest Alfa Romeo 147...

And if you compare it to Peugeot 107/Citroen C1/Toyota Aygo, actually the Smart is the nicest one...

And btw, I never said I like cars with very long hoods, actually I hate those new "retro" style cars... I mentioned a few times in this thread about the 'O9 Camero...

http://www.motomummy.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=13360

Anyway, like I said before, that roadster version is not bad at all... for sure it would looks much nicer if it's more aggressive like the police drawing one... and for sure, powerplant upgrade is a must...

:corn


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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 11:31 PM
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How bout Opel Trixx concept, Valerossi? I think Smart is more refined and proportional, but I'm trying to understand what exactly you call fugly.




I thought it's overall proportions and the bubbly one-volume shape. I'm sorry about all that long-hood discussion but IMO flat hood is thing of the past with the engines getting smaller. Even relatively short flat hood like Alfa 147 has. This is the reason I don't like 3-volume sedans and 2-volume hatchbacks like that Alfa. It looks too rounded and conservative to me: almost like an older Civic. I am sorry but this also must be the reason you don't like Smart or Peugeout 107. Accept one-volumes, man. It's the most space and aerodynamicly efficient design second only to aerodynamically perfect half-wing shape (remember Lexus from "Minority Report")


Otherwise what is it? Length to height proportions? It's an ultracompact car, designed as a minimal cage around two adults in their seats. The wheels are too small? C'mon, 21" Dubs would look ridiculous on that car. IMO the car is perfectly balanced and proportional for its size.

I'm not arguing, just trying to understand.

Last edited by bad-mofo; 01-09-2006 at 11:38 PM.
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