Posts in Category: Automotive

Another way to carry a smart car

In June 2006 I wrote about Dennis Murphy and his unusual way to carry hist smart car.

The Solution
Solution: Carry a smart car.

Today I heard from Carl-Erik “Stina” Johnsson of Helsingborg, Sweden with his solution. The truck is a 1990 Volvo that he bought new and used for 2,300,000 kms in his trucking company. There is a hydraulic crane and on the cage top a loop to fit the crane hook. It take around 12-15 minutes to load or unload.

Amazing system Stina.

Traveling Smart

By Dorothea Helms

There are several ways to gauge whether a marriage is on solid ground. One is to do a long car trip together and see how it goes. My husband and I put our 35-year marriage to the test in May, except we added an extra challenge. We drove 3,800 km in total on our holidays – in his Smart Car!

When Rich asked me a few months ago whether I’d like to attend a microcar conference festival in Madison, Georgia with him in May, he was shocked when I said yes. He had already taken several long trips with the Smart – even as far as Arkansas – and I was always too busy to go. I’d ridden in the Smart many times, but never for long distances. I figured with months to plan, I could take a few days away from my freelance writing businesses. Plus, we were able to combine the car event with visits to family along the way.

Smart Living

By Rich Helms

Rich’s Smart Cabrio at Duke University in Durham, NC

I didn’t realize how my driving would change when my editor called me on Feb 10, 2004 and said, “Mercedes just announced the Smart car.“ An email to the local dealer and a fax the next day, and I had a Smart ForTwo cabrio on order. In October, I got to drive one for the first time and select the features I wanted. Then on Jan 2005, almost 11 months later, I took delivery of my green-on-green Smart cabrio.

91 Chevy Sprint Convertible


This is my toy. It is a 91 Chevy Sprint Convertible (called a Geo Metro in the US that year). In March 98, I bought this car in pretty rough shape. The list of fixes to the engine and body are very long. The engine required a rebuild as an exhaust valve had burned out. The car had only 113K kilometers on it.

Driving a 70 Ton Dump Truck

Each bucket Dwight dumps into the truck holds 12 tons of granite.

I wanted to drive a big truck, so I drove a tractor-trailer. Once I had tasted the big rigs, I wanted bigger. I rode in an 18-ton tug while towing a 100-ton airplane – better, but I couldn’t drive it. How about driving a 70-ton mining dump truck with a gross loaded weight of 250,000 pounds? ALL RIGHT!

Towing on a Grand Scale

In my quest to experience unusual vehicles, I spent a day with Air Canada. No, not in a jet, but towing a Boeing 767 around the airport. Air Canada has a total worldwide fleet of 335 aircraft; yet the company has 1,400 motorized vehicles at Toronto Lester B Pearson International Airport alone. Nine of those motorized vehicles are Douglas-Kalmar TBL-280 Tugmasters.

Running with the big dogs

I love to drive small cars, and my newspaper articles usually focus on compact and sub-compact vehicles. For this piece, I decided to drive something totally out of character. How about a Hummer? Nah – too small. I drive the smallest car in Canada – a smart car – so I figured it would be interesting to try driving the largest – a highway tractor-trailer. With the help of the Ontario Trucking Association, Challenger Motor Freight of Cambridge offered to host me for a day.

FAAC truck simulator. An ultimate video game, but watch for the hurl effect

It’s smart to carry a spare

Dennis Murphy and his wife Nancy Beck of Geneva Illinois like to travel with their fifth-wheel trailer. Their pickup was due for replacement, but they needed a medium-duty truck to tow the new fifth wheel they wanted to move up to. The solution Dennis Murphy found was to purchase a used road tractor. He bought a 1999 Volvo 610 with 602,000 miles on it. The truck was refurbished and equipped with a microwave, refrigerator and shore power so it could be registered as a motor home.

Now problem number two: what do they drive once the trailer is parked at their destination?

The Solution
Solution: Carry a smart car.

Good things in small packages

For smart car owners, Mecca is the Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia. Thanks to Joe Dew, a smart car collector in Atlanta, my pilgrimage to meet and get a tour of the collection by its owner Bruce Weiner occurred on my return drive from Orlando in my 2005 smart cabrio. After I took a drive in Joe’s 1999 original smart gas cabrio, we drove in our smarts to Dubble Bubble Acres, 50 miles east of Atlanta in Morgan County. Weiner grew up in the Toronto area and with two partners created Concord Confections, which bought Dubble Bubble in 1998.

Orlando Trip – March 2006

In late March 2006, I drove my smart car to Orlando Florida for a business trip. On the return trip I visited the Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia (link to article). Here are some of the pictures that I didn’t use.