The Ride of a Lifetime.

I’m probably dehydrated and should drink water because I’ve been obsessed with what I’m about to write for a while now...

While smart may be throwing in the towel with their formula in 2020 (which may be the result of a lukewarm W453/C453 release), I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed their European adverts. The ads were so good, they dumped their US counterparts (which more served to insult Americans more than anything) and replaced them with ads like this:

I adore these ads because unlike many companies who just employ an ad firm to drive a CGI car around for a 30 second spot, smart actually hired a firm that went the extra mile and kept the digital effects minimal.

These fine ads are the work of BBDO Berlin. You may know them best for this spot that ended up in a Super Bowl. Other than some weird choices for sound effects, it too featured a real car.

My favourite of these absurd adverts is the “Big city cars. Big nonsense?” campaign. BBDO keeps their works under tight wraps, but using my extensive knowledge of smarts I was able to figure out that the big behemoth in this ad is also a real...thing.


And that’s the subject of this writing, my obsessive analysis with a smart I probably can never ever own. At least I have a shot with a 1 of 2 formore or a 1 of 9 roadster Brabus V6 BiTurbo.

Interestingly enough, this super large smart seems to be part 453, part 451...It’s actually a neat trick as it looks legitimately like a mule would.

In this shot, the big smart is wearing the mirrors of a 451 and the much expanded interior has the seats and seatbelts from a post-facelift 451. In the same shot, you can also see through certain parts of the bumper. This has me thinking they basically just took some large commercial vehicle chassis and built a smart on it.


In this shot, you get a small glimpse at what the new 453 boot would look like. Oh, and look at that, this thing has dually axle! Haven’t found what those lights belong to yet, I assume some Daimler commercial vehicle.


So this is nuts. This frontal shot gives you some design elements from the early 453 concepts. In this execution, there are rally lights in the lower bumper (which from what I can see is the concept lower bumper blown up in scale), the headlights are a round evolution of the 451, and the grille is for the most part, the same as a post-facelift 451.


Some more 451 design elements sneak through. For one, the belly pan from the 451 is present and sticking out like normal. In all irony, it appears to be normal-sized.

I can’t say about the wipers and the upper black vent though. Those seem to be just too perfect to be real...But then again, the wiper blades could just be from a Daimler/MB commercial truck and the vent is just plastic and could easily be made the rest of the panels on this Frankenstein.


Also, if this large smart were a real smart, it would be a pure or a passion without a clear roof.


Now this, this is beautiful. This shot right here confirmed to me that this monster smart is a real vehicle. First up, look at those lugs. I haven’t seen that many lugs on something smaller than a commercial chassis. I’m wondering what gave its life to become a too big smart?

That side vent there is on both sides, so I don’t think that’s real. Interestingly enough this shot also continues the mule-y weirdness. The rear end reflects what the new 453 generation would become, while the front is solidly a 451 generation.


The side indicator and front fender is all 451 (times two), as is that door. I like how they tried to hide the real door handle under camo, but I see it. Likewise it appears that the window support is actually the car’s B-pillar, and it has the seatbelts mounted to it. You can even see the door line right after the real door handle. It looks to even have the dashboard of a 451...How? I wish I knew.

I also wonder what trim name they gave it on the totally 451 mirror triangle. :)


Other cars, for scale.

I’m actually going to contact BBDO and see if I can get more info on it....I, uh...gah...I just want to know more about this thing!


ETA: Oh gosh, I’m basically David Tracy, just with unloved city cars.

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