‘Here in my car / I feel safest of all’

typed for your pleasure on 25 June 2008, at 12.07 am

Sdtrk: ‘Rockaway beach’ by the Ramones

Far be it from ‘Shouting etc etc’ to go on about current events — unless it’s Synthetiks-based, suffice to say — but with US fuel prices reaching lunatic levels, we might well be seeing a upswing in sensible thinking regarding vehicles. Namely smaller, more sensible cars, such as the smart car.

No, I didn’t take this pic, I was too busy driving. Plus, it’s in Europe

They’ve been around in other parts of the country (namely the West coast) for a while, but they’re just now popping up in Michigan, which is lovely. Just the other day, I saw two of them, which is what inspired this post. But a mate of mine, Dave Z, has a bit of a problem with them, as there’s one at his workplace, and when he’s driving through the parking lot trying desperately to find a space, he’ll approach one he thinks is empty, but in actuality is already occupied by a smart car. They’re so tiny, you could probably cram like two and a half into a single parking spot!
I understand they get shitty gas mileage (40 mpg) for the prices they’re being sold for ($12,000 USD). Nevertheless, you have to start somewhere, I suppose… Also, maybe distributors in the States will follow the example of light-years-ahead Europe, and build these vertical dispenser buildings. Clever! You should thank me from not saying ‘smart’.

On the same day I witnessed those smartcars, however, I saw this beauty driving around, which made me squeal like a schoolgirl:

I didn’t take this one, either

Fiat has updated their iconic and sexy 500 model (not to be confused with Model 500) for the Twenty-first Century. The one I saw was headed towards me on the opposite side of the road, and from a distance I thought it was yet another smartcar. But then I recognised the curved front with the rounded headlamps, and that clinched it.
Any and all news of a new Fiat 500 slipped completely under my radar, so that was a pleasant surprise! Undoubtedly, the car will be bastard expensive, but… wow. Well done, Fiat!

Apparently, the most famous Fiat 500 enthusiast in anime, Lupin the Third, will be getting a new 500 as well, which killed me.

And when hanging out with Zip Gun and goshou later that day, ZG mentioned that he spotted a MINI Clubman, as BMW have gotten round to releasing the updated station wagon variation of the MINI.

Nor this one

As I’m subscribed to the MINI USA newsletter, I received an Email months and months ago, mentioning that the Clubman was slated to make its debut soon, but that was the only thing I’d heard, so I’d kinda forgotten about it. Upon seeing pictures of the 2008 model, it’s not as impressive as I thought it would be, mainly due to its lack of a crucial aesthetic element:

Don’t even ask

Where’s the wood body trim? It’s not a true station wagon if there’s no imitation wood somewhere on it! As we all know, Wood Panelling is Good Panelling, so BMW, you missed a trick there. However, the new Clubman has a suicide door on the passenger side, so that’s somewhat redeeming.

Tiny cars! The oversized vehicle backlash has begun! Patrick, looks like your wish might’ve come true after all

Technorati tags: smartcar, Fiat, Fiat 500, BMW MINI, MINI Clubman, Juan Atkins

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Jun 2010) on June 4th, 2010

The Eighties are back! And THEY'RE COMING FOR YOUR EARS on February 6th, 2010

14 have spoken to “‘Here in my car / I feel safest of all’”

  1. Zip Gun writes:

    Someone must have shelled out big time for the Fiat, as they are only available in Europe right now and are apparently quite the hot car. They look pretty nice, though. I give it a firm thumbs up. I’ve seen plenty of smart cars out around here. Obviously trendy. I’d rather see them than an SUV though.

  2. Catwoman69y2k writes:

    sadly the one thing about hybrids and smartcar type vehicles is what the outcome would be for someone like me that lives on a mountain that gets 3 or 4 good snowfalls a year. Would it have the power to get up a big hill? With chains needed for snow, could it be a car not fit to handle that?

    Also, if there was another fire and we had to evac, that could be problematic. Hmm….

  3. Laura writes:

    Pffft. I don’t give a shit about gas milage. I gotta have some muscle under the hood. I want a Mustang GT. Fine American craftmanship. Probably the best thing America’s done for humantiy.
    My first car was a 94 Chevy Cavalier with an modified V6 engine and fuel injection system. It also had a killer stereo. It was a beast. But’s gone on now, god rest his soul. And I have The Korean. A POS 4 cylinder ricer that will be paid off next year. And then I’ll finally get my ‘Stang.
    Mini’s are cool, however. My friend used to have one and he and I would ride around in it all the time.

  4. SafeTinspector writes:

    This past weekend I spotted a Ford Transit in a parkinglot. The Ford Transit is a wierd looking little van sortof affair which has the dubious distinction of being manufactured in Turkey.

    As far as I know it is not available in the states. I walked around it and found it was sporting a manufacturer’s license plate, explaining it entirely.

    While I like the formfactor and efficiency I’m not sure I would be eager to purchase a Turkish car. How are they for reliability when they couldn’t even keep Brad Davis under wraps?

  5. Davecat writes:

    You could probably fit a number of smart cars into an SUV. And that 500 was a Thing of Beauty. It’s rare to see Fiats, old or new, in the States, or at the very least, in Michigan. I can’t even remember seeing any at the Battle of the Brits we last attended. I mean, despite the fact that they’d be Italian cars in a British car venue, that is, but still.

    Catwomanseriesofnumbersandletters –
    If you are in a mountainous/snowy region, perhaps a smart car is not for you. However, you might want to look into either the Nissan Dualis, or this crazy Russian DiY SUV.

    Laura –
    Muscle car enthusiast, eh? You might well enjoy seeing SE Michigan’s illustrious Woodward Dream Cruise! And then you’ll wish you hadn’t. Don’t forget your oxygen tank!

    It’s not like you can floor it in Florida though, right? Police snipers will take you out!

    I’m sure the Turks are ordinarily a fine people, but going by their hallucinatory cinema, I don’t think I’d be very eager to buy one of their vehicles, either. Just sayin’.

    And who’s Brad Davis? It could be argued that they did somewhat manage to keep him under wraps, as I’ve never heard of the man.

  6. Zip Gun writes:

    SafeT refers to the film Midnight Express, which involved the aforementioned Mr. Davis escaping from a Turkish prison after getting busted for drugs or some such. I understand there is a shower scene of some renown in it.

  7. SafeTinspector writes:

    Yes, that was the movie. For some reason I was thinking “Midnight Run,” but that movie had a lot less Turkish prisons.

  8. Davecat writes:

    I still have to see ‘Midnight express’ at some point…
    And ‘Midnight run’, that was with Charles Grodin, I believe. Not to be confused with ‘Cannonball run’, with Dom Deluise. Vast difference, vast difference.

  9. SafeTinspector writes:

    Movies and running have a long and storied history.
    This stands in stark contrast to the average American’s sedentary lifestyle.

  10. Laura writes:

    I read in your “85 Things” that you love driving fast. I dunno what car you currently drive or what you’ve driven in the past. But the Cavy spolied me for life. When you tap the gas and *zoom* you’re a mile away before you can even think….wow. It’s addicting. I don’t know how anyone can trade their V8 in for a ricer.
    The Korean is an okay car. Just not for me. And if you’ve never driven anything but 4 cylinders, I strongly reccomend upgrading. You won’t go back.

  11. SafeTinspector writes:

    I think Davecat’s car is a propane turbine engine.

  12. Davecat writes:

    In the interest of full disclosure, I drive a Ford Nucleon. It’s got pretty good pickup and really good mileage, and apart from the fact that I get blinding migraines whenever I drive it, and it causes me to glow in the dark, it’s a fine car, a fine car!

  13. MontiLee writes:

    RJ has a black Mini. They put the controls in the weirdest places. While in Chicago this weekend I got to hold him hostage because the hood release in on the passenger side.

    Me: “You will take me to Lush Watertower or I will kill us Both”

    RJ: *whimper*

    I never did find the door handles.

  14. Laura writes:

    Such a smart ass.
    But I love you anyway.

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