SMART Car Seen in Wild in Portland

The Sunday O had an article about the trials and travails of trying to import the European SMART Car into the U.S (part 2 from Monday).

But meanwhile, reader Miles Hochstein has documented one here already!

Can anyone tell us the story of how he got it here?

10 responses to “SMART Car Seen in Wild in Portland”

  1. Also, from the Oregonian article (buried towards the bottom of part two):

    Plus, Penske’s group had no presence in Oregon, where a handful of Portland-area drivers already were earning stares for Smart cars imported by California’s ZAP.

  2. Id hate to see what one of those econoboxes look like after a 45MPH collision with a regular, gas burning sedan or SUV.

    Sounds like a good way to get tree huggers out of the gene pool.

  3. I’m the owner of the Smart car photographed by Miles Hochstein. The car was purchased at I-5 Motors ( up in Fife Washington about a month ago. The importer is G&K Automotive Conversion (, who turns around and passes these cars off to dealers. The car itself appears to be the German model, retrofitted for the US (emissions improvements, additional accident padding, etc…).

    I-5 Motors had about ten smart cars on the lot that day, and indicated that more were on their way. Buying it was not much more complex than a regular out of state vehicle purchase.

    So-far, the best fuel economy: 59MPG!

    Anthony: How about 70MPH head-on into a 20 ton concrete barrier, these things are pretty solid for their size:

  4. So-far, the best fuel economy: 59MPG!
    This is the path to a lower energy future, not mass transit.

    For comparison, a Trimet bus gets about 27 passenger-miles to the gallon. You are twice as efficient as riding a bus! That also means that you pollute less. You are also more efficient than MAX.

    Also, it will be easier to convince people to get small cars that to convince people to walk a 1/4 mile, wait 10minutes (in the rain) (next to a drug deal) for an overcrowded standing room only bus (or LRT) where you have to stand next to someone sniffling, hacking, coughing and shivering. Then walk another 1/4 mile in the rain to you destination. Yeah, right we are all going to abandon our car sitting just outside our front door for that! Not to mentioned the handicapped who have trouble walking. (Contrary to popular opinion, there are many wheelchair bound people who drive.)


  5. With that note, JK, I must agree 100%. These types of cars are the path into the future. With electronic guidance, train type mechanisms to control their speed and distance between each other, literally the efficiency and amount of throughput one could acheive on the roads with cars like this are massive.

    But on the same topic, another reason I don’t want to drive, another reason why it will continue to be a lame, boring, trite, waste of time. Especially for people like me who have more productive things to do than putz around in a daily commute in a car for 15-30 minutes per direction, or heaven forbid an hour or two.

    I’ll drive my car at the race track, but the Smart Car doesn’t exactly make me want to get out there and drive places when I can chill and get billable hours completed. Then of course, this car isn’t a solution for places like Chicago or New York until people are willing to give up the throttle and steering to run a train of these things on the interstate.

    …but i digress… gotta get some sleep so that I can get up, not commute, and get some work done. :)

  6. I recently had the pleasure of driving a friend’s Smart ForFour from Bremen to Berlin and back on the Autobahn. While it was fun spinning it up to 180 kph for short periods of time, I was mostly impressed by its performance in the city. Berlin is not known as a very car friendly city, but I managed to get around alright. It’s quite zippy and I could park it anywhere. The fuel economy was great, although it would have been better if I kept it at a reasonable speed. It’s quite an advanced car and I’d like to see it on Portland streets.

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