The Smart brand has come and gone in North America. It entered the U.S. market at an inopportune time for tiny city cars and it unfortunately just didn’t last. Not only was the timing not ideal, but the U.S. version of the car just wasn’t all that efficient considering its size and underwhelming performance.
However, the Smart found a cult following to the point of some folks customizing them to be even more unique. One such example is today’s Autotrader Find; a 2009 Smart Fortwo that’s covered in what looks like colorful ribbons.
What’s the Deal with Smart?
Smart is a division of Daimler AG, which is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, and others. The history of the marque is a little complicated. The idea started out with the CEO of SMH, which would later become Swatch Group. That’s right, as in the watch company. Swatch has a reputation for its individuality and unique designs and CEO Nicolas Hayek thought it would be cool to translate that brand image to a car. Since starting your own car company is a big job, he sought a partner to make the dream of the “Swatchmobile” come alive.
After an agreement with Volkswagen fizzled out and pitches to GM, Fiat, BMW, and Renault failed, Hayek eventually struck a deal with Daimler-Benz AG. The name “Smart” was created to mean “Swatch Mercedes ART” even though the Swatch brand made no contribution to the design of the cars that would be produced by the brand.
The Smart Fortwo was the first production vehicle from the new brand and it was a hit in Europe. The brand decided to go more global with the second-gen model, which included North America. Unfortunately for Daimler, tiny city cars just aren’t all that popular in the States. This was also at a time when SUV-mania was really taking off.
Small Car, Big Quirks
That said, the Smart did have some love in North America. People loved it for its quirky, distinctly European character. Despite its shortcomings, there was nothing else quite like it, including from other Euro brands of tiny cars like Mini and Fiat. Two seats, a tiny rear-mounted engine, and an available folding top were just a few of the many unique touches of the Smart.
The one you see here turns up the quirkiness to the next level. It has a unique aesthetic that appears to be colorful ribbons all over the body. It appears to be a wrap that’s incomplete in the back where it gets a little patchy. It also has the aforementioned available cabrio top that adds to the fun factor.
The asking price for this Smart with just under 70k miles on it is only $4,900. That’s a great price according to our KBB pricing tool. So, if you’re in the market for a tiny city car that really stands out around Antioch, CA, this eye-popping Smart is worth a look. Find a smart for two for sale