It's not clear how far the exhibit will go into the deepest origins of the Smart program, which actually pre-dates Daimler-Benz's involvement. The Smart was originally conceived by Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek and was referred to as the Swatch mobile, who originally teamed up with Volkswagen for development and production of the car. The plastic body panels were supposed to be easily swappable to suit the mood of the driver, much like the plastic trim on the Swatch watches that were popular at the time. In the early 1990's there were spy photos floating around of the first prototypes built by VW. The Wolfsburg car-maker eventually bailed out of the project and Mercedes stepped in. After losing a lot of money, Mercedes eventually bought out Hayeks's interest. You can see more photos and DaimlerChrysler's press release after the jump.
Exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz museum:
"smart story" shows the history of the brand – including the new smart fortwo
Not yet at dealerships and already a museum exhibit - those who would like to see the new smart fortwo before it is launched in April 2007 now have an opportunity to do so. From 06 December 2006 to 14 January 2007 the new smart fortwo will be part of the "smart story" exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.
Visitors to the exhibition will see that the design language of the new smart fortwo is a consistent evolution of the original shape. This applies to the design, and it also applies to the engineering of the new car.
The new smart fortwo can do everything that the current model can do - but better. This means that the new smart fortwo is even more comfortable, even more agile, even safer and even more environmentally friendly than its predecessor.
smart story: unusual design studies,
prototypes and show cars
The "smart story" at the Mercedes-Benz museum follows the history of the smart brand based on 18 vehicles. These include unusual design studies, prototypes and show cars, some of which have never previously been presented to the public.
Anders Sundt Jensen, Vice President for Marketing and Sales at smart says "The smart fortwo belongs in a museum - because it challenges the status quo and calls on people to rethink their perceptions, because following its market launch in October 1998 it quickly became a cult vehicle. And last but not least, because we are not only showing the past, with the new smart fortwo we are also showing the future."
The earliest models on display are the two forerunners of the smart, the "Eco Speedster" and the "Eco Sprinter" dating from the year 1993. In addition to these vehicles, prototypes, show cars and special vehicles for use on the airport runway or by the police or fire brigade are on display. All vehicles exhibited stand for the development of the smart brand and the classlessness of the uncompromising concept of a car that has the clear purpose of ensuring personal mobility for its users in towns and cities.
Last vehicle destined for the museum
A total of 770,256 smart fortwos were produced at the production plant at Hambach in . The last vehicle of the current smart fortwo series rolled off the production line at the end of November. Anders Sundt Jensen will hand this car over to the Mercedes-Benz museum at the opening of the exhibition.
To date more than 770,000 people have decided to switch to a smart fortwo - often to replace a larger car with the lively two-seater. Because the smart fortwo is something special and stands out from the crowd, because it gives them a totally new kind of personal mobility in the city, and last but not least, because it is quite simply fun to drive.
The Mercedes-Benz museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 to 18:00. Last admission is at 17:00. Admission to the "smart story" exhibition is free of charge. The museum is closed on 24 and 25 December 2006, on 31 December 2006 and on 01 January 2007.
Studie eco speedster (1993)
Show-Car Paris (1996)
Show-Car Paris (1996)
Studie fashion victim (1997)
smart Feuerwehr (1998)
Show-Car professional (1999)
Studie transparent (2000)
smart cabrio rhd (2001)
Show-Car smart crossblade (2001)
Show-Car smart crosstown (2005)