I should totally make this a yearly thing! Last year, it was 2100 miles, 36 hours, 1 smart fortwo. This year, we are only going half the distance (thank heaven) but it’ll still be just as fun!

If you didn’t read about it before, here you go. It’s confirmed, I’ll be getting a third smart!

I called up the owner to get the scoop. Alrighty, so he’s had this car for some years registered in other states, but getting it registered in Colorado has always been a problem as the car doesn’t show up in their OBD database for emissions testing. He got a two year extension on this that allowed him to register the car without doing an emissions test, but the state never added the car to the database. This unfortunately means that come September, the car’s registration cannot be renewed at all.

He was thinking about selling it to family, but decided to give back to the smart community instead. I was lucky enough to catch his ad only 10 minutes after he posted it.

The car only has two problems. The door windows don’t roll down due to the motors burning out (common 450 problem) and the windscreen is cracked (common problem with all smarts). Otherwise, it’s a 2005 with 20,000 miles and in rather spectacular condition.

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No photos of course, I’m not going to spoil the surprise early! :P

Some back story on why W450 smarts are hard to register (and even insure) in the USA:

The first generation smarts were never sold in the USA. Various import companies (like G&K) worked with the government to allow them to be importable. So they had to be crash tested and otherwise federalized (big $$$$$$). This would make them something called a “gray market” import. Gray market imports are basically cars that are exempt from the 25 year import rule because someone was willing to invest the big dollars to federalize the vehicle for the US. The first generation fortwo (specifically model years 2002 through 2005) were imported by roughly two or three importers.

Unfortunately, even though they are legally within US borders not every state will allow a gray market vehicle to be registered in the US.

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I talked it over to the owner. He’s giving me his bootleg Mercedes-Benz STAR computer with the car. The title’s clean and all we have to do is sign it into my name then drive home.

I booked a $40 ticket with the worst airline in the world and on Sunday I’ll be hitting Denver on a beautiful Airbus A320!