At the Birmingham motor show of 1999, not quite 15 years ago, I made one of the daftest car purchases in a lifetime of fairly flakey transactions.
I bought a grey-imported Smart Fortwo directly off the importer’s none-to-impressive stand, paying all the money to have a car that at the time was considered a rarity.
I was so beguiled by the its petite shape and technical wonders (which of us had owned an 2.5 metres long, 599cc turbocharged three-cylinder car before?) that I didn’t care that it didn’t steer or ride very well.
I didn’t even mind that the major plastic panels were lipstick pink, though within a few days I did change those to black, because at the time it was easy.
The car stayed with us at our semi-rural home for three years and was quickly improved in both handing and ride by a fat set of Brabus wheels.
It was also driven uncomplainingly by my missus until two things happened: she started having to ply the motorways to get to a new job (early Smarts were rubbish in crosswinds) and early one morning she came into sharp contact with the world’s largest badger, which shook her up quite a bit. We traded it for a Mercedes soon after.