The Smart Fortwo is brilliant.
The result of an unlikely collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and watch-maker Swatch, the original Fortwo launched in the late 1990s and it was a triumph of packaging. A little turbocharged three-cylinder was mounted under the boot floor, the ingenious Tridion safety cell was a visible part of the car’s exterior, and it was short enough that you could park end-on to the curb. It even qualified for Kei car status in Japan.
The Fortwo quickly became the must-have European fashion accessory, before – as with all must-have fashion accessories – becoming yesterday’s news. Sales dwindled, as European consumers decided to copy America for some reason and discerned that enormous SUVs are actually the most appropriate vehicle for crowded city streets. We’re genuinely worried for the future of humanity sometimes…
There are a few cities (such as Rome) where Smart Fortwos are literally everywhere, but these days the car only lives on as a small-selling EV, which everyone ignores from behind the wheel of enormous SUVs.
This neat Technic recreation of the second generation Fortwo comes from Matthew Terentev (aka osterum), and it’s packed with clever functionality. There’s working front and rear suspension, steering via both HOG and the (fur-wrapped) steering wheel, a three-cylinder piston engine hooked up the rear wheels, opening doors, and even a fold-flat passenger seat as per the real car.
There’s loads more of Matthew’s Technic Fortwo to see at both Flickr and Eurobricks – click the links above to take a look, whilst we ponder a car that should have transformed urban driving, if only we’d all been Smart enough to realise it.