- Dec 13th 2006 at 12:46PM
Smart Roadster reborn as new AC Ace
Shortly after launching the original Smart City Car, in the late 1990s, Daimler-Chrysler decided that they needed to expand the product line if they were ever going to make a profit from Smart. They teamed up with Mitsubishi to build the ForFour, a four door, four seat model and they also created a low slung roadster based on the ForTwo. The roadster had the wheel base stretched so that the seats could be dropped down in front of the drive-train instead of sitting on top of it. The roadster was only sold for a few years before being discontinued, although Chrysler did build a Dodge concept called the SlingShot in 2004. The slow selling roadster was eventually canceled along with the ForFour.
AC Cars is a small British company that built a car called the Ace back in the late 1950s and early 1960s that formed the basis for a somewhat more famous sports car that you might have heard of called the Shelby Cobra. Over the years AC was bought and sold by Ford and hovered in and out (mostly out) of financial solvency, and created at least a couple of different cars that bore the Ace moniker. Now another British group called Project Kimber has acquired the rights to Smart Roadster platform. Starting next fall they want to build up to 7000 new Aces a year with a new body on the Smart chassis, with eventual US sales. The legendary Gordon Murray of McLaren F1 (both road and track versions) fame is a technical adviser. The car features a 700cc turbocharged three cylinder engine, putting out 100 hp. This tiny car should be quick, fun and efficient with this drive-train.