When the prototype was unveiled at the Geneva Show in 2001, few may have imagined that it would make its way onto the roads in just over a year. In the event, the Smart Crossblade, a little two-seater with no windscreen, doors or roof aroused such enthusiasm that the MCC management was encouraged to take the calculated risk of a numbered, limited edition. The launch of the new Smart model in July offers further evidence of the playful style and flexible thinking adopted by Hartmut Sinkwitz, Smart director of design: “Life is earnest enough already”, he says, “and the Smart brand offers an ideal platform for experiment”.
Designed by Federico Fachini, the exterior bears all the signs of a free-wheeling approach and everything on the Crossblade promises plenty of fun and excitement for the happy few who can afford to indulge in what is essentially a caprice.
Once you get behind the wheel, the Crossblade feels very like a motorbike: in front of you a touch of windscreen that’s more like a visor; over-head there is nothing at all so as on a motorbike, if it rains, you just have to run for cover, the wheelarches are carved out of the wings.
The look of the interior was heavily influenced by the need to make all trim components and materials weather proof, which means waterproofed of dashboard and seat coverings, a floorpan with one-piece plastic cladding and four run-off channels to prevent water accumulating in the event of a sudden shower.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 135