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< back table of contents may 2008 >

  the five smart ownership stages  
1. how it all began 2. the reservation 3. the configuration 4. "congratulations" 5. "come and get it"

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april bookmarks
  how it all began...
the reservation
the configuration
i got my cocomats!
freddie visits smart
2008 smart fortwo nhtsa crash test results
cargo tracking
voyage details
hella horns
smart USA meeting
april smart michigan users group meeting
mark looks at the hella horns
itibiti's here!
it's getting close!
it's getting close!

posted: 04.30.08
i called shane reed at smart center bloomfield today to ask him some last minute questions about the smart payment process. i want to take care of the all details early, before we actually take possession. he told me he thought we'd be be able to pick it up on saturday, may 3rd. previously, it was to be the week of may 5th, so this is exciting news!
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itibiti's here!

posted: 04.29.08
i got a call from mark hovis, the service & parts manager at smart center bloomfield, letting me know itibiti had arrived! they've had it for a few days and just finished installing the hella horns i ordered. he asked if i would like to come check them out. i previously requested he call me when they began installing the accessories i ordered, so i could drive over and take pictures. while the hid headlamps, painted brake calipers and powder coated rims are installed, they are still waiting for the front & rear rocker panels to come back from paint, and the left & right side painted rocker panels are sitting on the table. it's possible it will be ready by saturday, may 3, 2008, but most likely won't be until the week of the 5th. at this point, while i would love to get it sooner rather than later, i'm just thrilled knowing it's here, safe and sound. i just can't get this smile off my face! :)

you can see the accessories i added here.
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mark hovis

posted: 04.22.08
i went to smart center bloomfield today to meet with mark hovis, their service & parts manager. he called me yesterday to discuss installation of the hella horns i purchased (see below). after looking them over, he said they could "probably" do it, saying you have to take off the front end, there is not much room for them and they've never done it before. i truly believe he'll get the job done. more on this later.
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april sMUG meeting

posted: 04.20.08
saturday, 04.19.08 10:30am to 12:00pm

the smart michigan owners group had their april meeting at classic appreciation, a high-end detail shop located in birmingham, mi. i counted 13 smarts and about 30 members in attendance. kasey hopper, and his wife hope, provided a lot of professional tips to keep our smarts in tip-top condition. after the seminar, almost all attendees headed to woodward avenue for lunch at duggan's irish pub, in royal oak, mi.

for a peek at some video of the meeting, look here.
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smart USA meeting

posted: 04.20.08
saturday, 04.19.08 09:00am to 10:30am

i had the good fortune of attending, along with six other members of the smart michigan owners group, a meeting with ken kettenbeil, media relations director for smart USA, rick cortright, brand manager/smart center bloomfield and melanie ricketts, customer relations/smart center bloomfield. ken presented mock-ups of the upcoming smart owners website and forum. they hope to have it go live by 05.01.08. it looked very promising, maybe best described as a cross between smartcarofamerica and myspace. the words "highly customizable" and "lots of content" come to mind. ken also mentioned that they will give some of us early access to the site, so we can get a "real world" feel for it, and help with any fine tuning. i'm looking forward to the experience.

we discussed many other things, but one that i particularly liked was a postcard sized hand-out for people who are curious about the smart. it will have information printed on both sides so, instead of answering the same questions over and over, you simply hand out an information card, allowing you to move on, while still being a smart advocate. if you are reading this, you most likely know what i'm talking about. individual dealerships will incur the cost, and smart owners will be able to stock up while visiting their local dealer. smart center bloomfield has 10,000 on order for us to try...then smart USA will roll out the program to all other dealerships.
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hella horns

posted: 04.18.08
my wife has expressed concern on "being noticed" while driving itibiti. "will other drivers see a small car like that?". "will they hear the horn on that little car?". "i think the red color will stand out more on the road"...and so on. so today, i ordered some hella horns from griot's garage. when i honk the horn, it's for a very good reason. i want to be noticed...especially when a big rig doesn't see you and moves over into your lane. i emailed mark hovis, the service & parts manager at smart center bloomfield, to ask his advice on installation. he emailed me back saying he would look into them on the following monday, and get back to me (note: he did, look here). i certainly hope there won't be a problem, as i can't wait to hear these bad-ass horns coming from itibiti. it'll make my wife a happy camper, too!
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voyage details

posted: 04.14.08
today, i decided to check itibiti's progress. it docked in new york wednesday, 04.09.08, then was on to baltimore by friday, 04.11.08. i doubt if it will be here anytime this week, but i'm hoping to hear from smart center bloomfield sometime during the week of 04.21.08.

this is what i learned:

Voyage Details



Voyage: EB813-PAT

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The sailing schedule and ports of call are subject to change without notice.
Note: Red ports of call means the vessel has already sailed.
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Port Country Arrival Departure
BREMERHAVEN GERMANY 25/03/2008 27/03/2008
ANTWERP BELGIUM 28/03/2008 29/03/2008
ZEEBRUGGE BELGIUM 30/03/2008 30/03/2008
SOUTHAMPTON UNITED KINGDOM 31/03/2008 31/03/2008
NEW YORK, NY U.S.A. 09/04/2008 10/04/2008
BALTIMORE, MD U.S.A. 11/04/2008 12/04/2008
CHARLESTON,SC U.S.A. 14/04/2008 14/04/2008
CHARLESTON,SC U.S.A. 15/04/2008 15/04/2008
BRUNSWICK, GA U.S.A. 16/04/2008 16/04/2008
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cargo tracking

posted: 04.06.08
with information i found at smart car of america (on this thread), i checked out wallenius wilhelmsen logistics to track itibiti's movement. i know it takes about 2 weeks from port to port, so my semi-educated guess is that it will arrive in baltimore friday, 04.11.08. it will then be off-loaded, inspected and loaded on a car mover and begin the journey to smart center bloomfield, mi. it will then be prepped, my accessories will be added and then i'll be notified. i'm hoping it will be mine somewhere around monday, 04.21.08. yippee!!

This is what it looked like...

Cargo Status History

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Cargo Id: WMEEK31X68K133xxx  
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Booking Number: DEBRB629497 Bill Number: MEB813BAL02
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Vessel: PATRIOT Port of origin: BREMERHAVEN
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Voyage: EB813-PAT Port of Destination: BALTIMORE, MD
Priority:   Customer Ref. Number: 0871606176
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This information includes the status, status dates, and location of cargoes during transit with WWL and does not indicate availability of cargoes for delivery.
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Status Port Time(dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm)
BOOKED BREMEN 06/03/2008 11:43
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2008 crash results

posted: 04.04.08
i just received the following e-mail from smart USA. it's concerning the nhtsa front and side crash test. the results from front impact were good, but the side impact test was rated excellent. the media i heard today concentrated on the front impact results, so i think smart USA is trying to get out in front of it by sending out this message to all smart enthusiasts. i posted the crash test video here:

Dear smart Enthusiast,

This week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its results of the smart fortwo frontal and side crash tests.

The results are consistent with our expectations and what we have been communicating to you. The NHTSA evaluations and video of the crash testing can be found on their website located at We encourage to you view the site.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety also performs crash testing on vehicles in the United States. We expect these results within 30 days and we will share the results with you once we receive their final report.

Safety is a top priority for Mercedes Benz and smart USA. All crash data is currently being reviewed by Mercedes-Benz engineers as we continue to look for ways to make the smart fortwo an even safer vehicle.

Warm Regards,

The smart USA Team
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fred visits smart

posted: 04.03.08
i went to smart center bloomfield today with my friend fred who just turned 73 a week ago. he has been in the car business most of his life, and was anxious to see this little car i've been telling him about for the better part of a year now. i sat down with samantha to go over the details of the sale, and went over all the accessories they had to offer. being that the dealership is only a 20 minute drive from my home, i've been going in there every couple of weeks, and pretty much knew what i wanted...and so did samantha. we just verified everything. as time has gone by, i've been accumulating the accessories i wanted. things like cocomats, a very high quality sisal floor and cargo mat. i also have smart all-weather floor mats, smart liners for the glove box and dash compartments and the  smart net set and retractable luggage compartment cover for the luggage compartment. i'm also having all 4 of the rocker panels painted to match the rest of the car...which is red, by the way. it really makes the tridion bar stand out! they had something new, though, and it really caught my eye. on one of their demos, they had powder coated the wheels black, pinstriped them the same color as the body panels, and painted the brake calipers with a heat resistant red. it looked awesome! well, i had to add them to the list...didn't i?

by the boy freddie loved the smart!!
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posted: 04.02.08
today, a "congratulations" e-mail arrived from smart center bloomfield letting me know my smart is on a ship, somewhere in the atlantic ocean, making it's way to new york, then on to baltimore. it should be here with-in a couple of weeks or so. of course this is very exciting news, and i called samantha (my smart brand specialist), to go over a few things. i told her i would be in the next day to finalize far as accessories go. should be fun.

note: if you have your vin number, you can track your smart on the cargo ship by going here. click on "auto cargo", plug in your vin..and hit enter.
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i got my cocomats!

posted: 03.27.08
Below is something i posted today on smart car of america:

I got my, if I could just get my car!

So let me start by saying I doubt if there is a stronger smart car advocate (obsessive much?) anywhere than I am.


last week, I received my red & black cocomats and decided to take them to my local dealer (bloomfield, mi, in the same building as smart USA) to see how they would look in the red passion they have on display, as that is the same color I have on order. the general manager, rick cortright, took one look, loved them, loved the quality and asked me to send him the details.

i went home, emailed him the Cocomats info, and within the hour he emailed me back thanking me, and telling me he ordered 3 sets of mats and a swatch for customers to look through when they order their accessories. Cocomats are going to be part of the accessory line at their dealership!

I then got an email from Jeff at Cocomats thanking me for the hook-up. He was very excited, too!

Who knows where this might lead, as smartBloomfield has the ear of Roger Penske and
Dave Schembri because that's their home base.

All this good will because of a post in this forum by 124tom.

I learned two things...

1. I hope all smart General Managers are as open minded to listening to customer ideas as Rick was. Please listen to us, Mr. General Managers!!! We know quality products when we see them! After all, that's why we ordered smart cars!!


2. This is a VERY powerful place for smart enthusiasts to gather all kinds of information, good and bad, and share it in and out of this forum. Just do it!

If you don't believe me, ask Jeff from Cocomats.

Again, now if I could just get my car!
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the configuration

posted: 11.26.07
i received an email from dave schembri today asking me to go to smart USA and configure my smart fortwo. my wife said "it's so small!! i want to stand out on the road...i want people to see us!!", so we decided on red with a black tridion cell and the comfort package. you know, all the bells and whistles.

see for yourself:

fortwo Passion Cabriolet, 1.0 L, 71 HP, 3-cylinder engine


Base price

$ 16,590.00

body panels in red metallic

$ 225.00

Black leather seats


tridion safety cell, black   N/C

Standard Equipment



smart premium sound system


smart premium radio-AM/FM, mp3-compatible 6 disc CD changer; incl. 2 speakers, Aux input jack for MP3 device

smart sound system-2 tweeters, 2 mid range, subwoofer

Engine & Drive Train


1.0 L, 71 HP, 3 cylinder engine

5 speed automated manual transmission

Paddle shifters

Wheels & Tires


9-spokes alloy wheels (15") with front tires: 155/60 R15; rear tires 175/55 R15

Tire pressure control system



Fully automatic convertible top with glass rear window

Projector beam halogen headlights

Side indicators in yellow

Exterior mirror cap in tridion color



3-spoke leather sports steering wheel with steering wheel shift paddles w/leather gear knob

Basic seat with weight detection and seatbelt recognition

Flat folding passenger seat with backrest adjustment

Storage areas beside the steering wheel and in both doors

Coin holder

Dome light

Mirror in passenger sun visor



Lockable glove compartment



Hydraulic dual-circuit brake system

Tire repair kit

Top Tether for child restraint system

Panic button on key

esp - electronic stability program with hill start assist

Anti-lock braking system (abs) with electronic brake force distribution

Full-size driver and passenger airbags

Head/Thorax-Side Airbags

Integral safety seats

Seat belts with belt tensioner and belt-force limiter

Drive lock - auto-activation of the central locking when driving

Functional Electrical Equipment


Air conditioning with automatic temperature control-including dust & pollen filter

Power windows with one-touch lowering function

Electronic and heated side mirrors

Central locking system with remote control

Instrument cluster with multifunctional display including fuel-level indicator, coolant-level indicator, residual fuel indicator, service interval indicator, trip mileage indicator and clock

Outside temperature indicator

Indicators with lane changer function

Front windshield wiper with speed-dependent interval wiping and wiper/wash function

Electric rear window defroster

Electric tailgate release

Locking gas cap

12-volt socket, with cover

Special Equipment

Comfort Package-includes the following features

$ 850.00

Black leather seats

Heated seats

EPS-Electric power steering

Rain sensing windshield wipers

Light sensor w/autolight

Auto-off headlamps with exit delay




Fog lamps

$ 110.00

Additional instruments-analog clock & rev counter

$ 120.00

Anti-theft alarm system

$ 160.00


Total Price:

$ 18,055.00

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the reservation

posted: 04.25.07
i logged on to smart USA today and gave them my $99.00 reservation fee. i don't remember how i heard about the offer...i think i read about it in the detroit news/free press...but when i did...bam!!! i couldn't give it to them fast enough! little did i know it would be a year, almost to the day, before i would sign ownership papers for my very own smart fortwo, eight years after my first sighting!
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how it all began

spring, 2000:
i first saw a smart fortwo in the fall of 2000. it was at the mercedes-benz USA company picnic on the beautiful, sprawling grounds of their headquarters in montvale, n.j. my wife (who had seen the smart car while traveling for her job in europe) worked for m-b at the time, while i worked for bmw USA. i immediately fell in love with it (see the original photos here) and asked my wife about u.s. availability. she said m-b was attempting to bring them over, but they were running into one difficulty after another, and that it probably would never happen! i told her "if that thing ever comes to the u.s., we have to get one!". little did i know it would take 8 years for that to happen.

here's a bit of trivia for you: the mercedes-benz vice-president that was overseeing the attempt to import the smart to the u.s was current smart USA president dave schembri.
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