SMART Cars Come To Springfield – What an unexpected day that was

I do not mean to imply that high gasoline mileage cars would never come to Springfield. What happen was I ran into 2 examples of such cars accidentally in the course of 1 hour. I was waiting for my friend Randi to show up at one of my favorite places to eat and the best Middle Eastern restaurant in the Midwest (plug) The Holy Land Diner (plug). It was a beautiful day for Illinois in August. 80 degrees, bright sunshine, light breeze. I was in a really good mood. I had not had lunch with Randi for over a year. I have known Randi for 40 years and she is a real sweetheart. I love her to pieces. I am leaning up against the awning outside of the restaurant, when a car zips in and parks right in front of me. It is a bright blue, convertible 2 seater which I vaguely recognized as a high mileage car that is really popular in Europe. This is the first one I have seen in Springfield, though I had heard rumors that there were some about. This cute young lady hops out of this car and she is laughing merrily. I said, nice car. She said, Now I know why men get all excited about cars. I knew I had to know more. The lady’s name was Judith Libby, and we will hear more from her later. About the car:


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The 2008 smart fortwo achieved the highest ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for front and side crashworthiness. This is “big” news for our fantastic “little” car.


starting at $16,590*

The passion cabriolet has all the features of the passion coupe plus an upgraded radio and sound system that includes an mp3 compatible in-dash 6-disk CD changer. The main difference lies in the soft top, with a heated rear glass window, that is fully automatic and can be infinitely adjusted to any position while driving at any speed. For the full cabriolet experience, simply remove the side roof bars – taken out in no time – and stow them in a special compartment in the tailgate.

To see the smart fortwo in every color, click here.

Standard Equipment

Engine/ Drivetrain
1.0 L, 71 HP, 3 cylinder engine
5 speed automated manual transmission
Paddle shifters

9-spokes alloy wheels (15″) with front tires: 155/60 R15; rear tires 175/55 R15
Tire pressure monitoring system

Fully automatic convertible top with glass rear window
Projector beam halogen headlights
Side indicators in yellow
Exterior mirror trim in tridion color


3-spoke leather sports steering wheel with steering wheel shift paddles (incl. leather gear knob)
Basic seat with weight detection and seatbelt recognition
Flat folding passenger seat with backrest adjustment
Storage areas beside the steering wheel and in both doors
Coin holder
Dome light
Mirror in passenger sun visor

Lockable glove compartment

smart premium radio (AM/FM, mp3-compatible 6 disc CD changer; aux input jack [radio 10])
smart sound system (2 tweeters, 2 mid range, subwoofer)

Full-size driver and passenger airbags
Head/Neck side airbags
esp® – electronic stability program with hill start assist
Anti-lock braking system (abs) with electronic brake force distribution
Hydraulic dual-circuit brake system
Integral safety seats
Seat belts with belt tensioner and belt-force limiter
Drive lock – auto-activation of the central locking when driving
Top Tether for child restraint system
Panic button on key
Tire repair kit

Functional/electrical equipment
Air conditioning with automatic temperature control (incl. dust, pollen filter)
Power windows with one-touch lowering function
Electronic and heated side mirrors
Central locking system with remote control
Instrument cluster with multifunctional display (fuel-level indicator, coolant-level indicator, residual fuel indicator, service interval indicator, trip mileage indicator, clock, loose gas cap indicator)
Outside temperature indicator
Indicators with lane changer function
Front windshield wiper with speed-dependent interval wiping and wiper-/wash function
Electric rear window defroster
Electric tailgate release
Locking gas cap
12-volt socket, with cover

Factory installed options  
Metallic paint (gray, blue, silver) $225
Silver metallic tridion safety cell $175
Alarm system $160
Power steering $450
Heated seats $220
Fog lamps $110
Additional instruments $120
Daytime running lamps $50
Option packages  
Comfort Package $850
– Power steering
– Leather seats
– Heated seats
– Rain and light sensor
– Auto-off headlamps with exit delay

When I talked to Judy next to get some details about her and how much she liked her car, she was passionate about her Mercedes. I commented on the bright blue color and that it was a convertible. She just laughed excitedly and and said that the name SMART stands for S (swatch) M (mercedes) ART. Swatch was responsible for the ART design and Mercedes for the quality and the safety. She said that a girlfriend of hers went to Italy on vacation and rented one. She came back raving about the car (not Italy) and she checked them out. When she found out she could have a Mercedes (her dream) Convertible (her other dream) High Mileage (dream) for under $20,000 dollars she placed an order for the car immediately, last May. It took about a year to get the car, but she didn’t really care about the timing. She also raved about the process too. You order your exact Car with a 99$ reservation fee. If you do not want your car at anytime you get your 99$ back and you create what they call an “orphan”. They cheer at the dealership because there is a waiting list for them as well and they can then sell the car FOR WHATEVER they can get! She said she could infact sell hers right now for more than she paid. If she used Ebay she said the bidding would be furious but noway is she parting with the car. She said it is a thrill to drive and the most amazing thing to me (do not hold your breath) was that you could put the rag top up and down on the fly!

After lunch I was walking Randi back to her office and there in her parking lot was a bright pink three wheeled car like the Aptera. I said wow this is my day. Do you know who owns that car? She said, oh yah Sarah bought that car in Wisconsin. She really likes it and it gets like 50 miles to the gallon. More about Sarah tomorrow.



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