Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pumpkin Rollers in No Man's Land

We drive a Smart to Oklahoma's Panhandle and become an object of vast and lingering amusement.
Car and Driver, April 2005

Look at a map and you'll notice that Oklahoma resembles a human hand with an index finger pointing west, as if suggesting to occupants that a U-Haul adventure in the direction of California might be a swell idea. Not one inch of interstate freeway intrudes upon the Panhandle, and the towns are minuscule and named as if the founders had no time for reflection: Hooker, Eva, Felt, Gray, Straight, Mouser. At the eastern edge of the Panhandle is a town called Slapout, population 8. At the western edge is a town called Wheeless, population 0.

Photographer Greg Jarem and I had never met anyone who'd set foot in the Panhandle—it seemed as alien and uncharted as Neptune—so we naturally drove there in an alien car. The Smart ForTwo is 8.20 feet in length, not much longer than my living-room sofa. Feel free to correct me on this, but I feel confident we were the first persons in intergalactic history to drive a Smart into the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Read the complete article here.
Follow the long running saga of whether the smart will be sold in the USA here.
With thanks to Lynn Willmette Porter.

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