Who said car companies are faceless corporations, obsessed by sales and with no time for having the odd chuckle?
This week I have been mostly driving around in this distinctive Smart Fortwo, enjoying its dimensions and perky nature in the rat race of commuting around London.
The official explanation for its arrival at our offices was that it showcased Smart’s Brabus customisation programme – different coloured bodywork, fine leathers on the interior and so on. But then it dawned on me that there might be more to it than that.
Doesn’t this colour scheme remind you of some of the works Aston colour schemes from Le Mans back in the day? You might say the combination of greens was an accident, but that yellow nose means it can’t be a coincidence.
And then there’s the numberplate. Some of you may remember the awful teaser videos put on YouTube in the build up to the Aston Martin Rapide launch, in which four spies went on various missions. They appear to have been subsequently blocked from public viewing, but one key detail was that one of the characters was a keen harpist.
So here’s the Smart, which looks like an Aston and bears the numberplate KHA – Keen Harpist Aston, anyone? And then, finally, it all clicked. Last year Aston claimed to have launched the first bejewelled, luxuriously bedecked supermini in the shape of its Aston Martin Cygnet.
And here, I suspect, is Smart’s gentle reminder that it came to the party long before Aston, and that it can turn out practical city cars with high-end interior and exterior decorations for a fraction of the price.