Alan Brask's Blog (11)

New Armrest

I'm EXTREMELY happy with my new armrest from Armrest Kingdom. At $109.99, it is one of the better-priced options, and it matches the Smart's upholstery well. (Not perfect... the smart has contrasting stitching.



I first saw these at the dealership in Knoxville when I stopped to buy the CD holder while on vacation there. I think they wanted $149 or even $179, so I didn't go for it then. Problem was, I found myself wanting an armrest every time I'd get stuck in traffic, so I began to do… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on August 8, 2009 at 6:06pm — 5 Comments

Comfortable with thinking differently...

I've read recent MSN.com blogs and other postings "trashing" Smart cars with a certain degree of amusement. As a long-time Apple Macintosh user (early 1985... about a year after the original Mac was introduced), I am used to having my decisions questioned, attacked, and even mocked by others. But through it all, I enjoyed the benefits of working on the Mac platform and learned to ignore the comments of those who hadn't even used one before forming their opinion. (Or the comments of those who,… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on May 24, 2009 at 12:35pm — 10 Comments

Finally a comfortable "top down" day!

It's hard to believe that it took until the middle of May for Chicagoland to have a day warm enough to really enjoy the Cabriolet with the top down and the side rails stored. I've driven with the top down a number of times recently, but always had to had the heater blasting to stay warm (commuting early a.m. and late in the evening). But today was INCREDIBLE! Sunglasses on, windows down, and stereo blasting (is it considered blasting if it's opera?)... I didn't even mind the… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on May 12, 2009 at 11:05pm — 3 Comments

She hurt my Smart!

My wife and I were driving home from dinner late last night—sitting at a stop light just as innocent as can be. I glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw a car approaching very quickly. I move up a little closer to the car in front of me thinking I'd give them more room to come to a stop. When I looked back in the mirror, I could see the top of the driver's head just above the steering wheel just as she slammed into the back of our car without so much as hitting the brakes.



It turns… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on April 11, 2009 at 1:20pm — 11 Comments

It’s the Other Guy I’m Afraid Of

Like a few others posting on this site, I’ve allowed Chicago winter weather to temporarily interrupt the enjoyment of my Smart. pulled mine into the garage about ten days ago, with twelve inches of snow on the ground and near zero temperatures, and didn’t even attempt to drive it. Little of that interruption was due to concerns about how the Smart handles snow or inclement weather. I find it handles as well as anything on the road—not as much traction as a AWD SUV, but less weight and thus… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on December 28, 2008 at 10:53pm — 4 Comments

A Christmas Present For Floyd

Years ago, I wrote the following story for a little magazine... absolutely no connection to Smart, but I hope it gives a some readers a warm, happy moment this holiday season....



A Christmas Present for Floyd



A broad grin erupted on Tom Bennet’s normally serious face as he caught his reflection in the office window. A forty-seven year old corporate president dressed in an Armani suit sneaking scissors back into a desk drawer like a naughty schoolboy. Outside,… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on December 14, 2008 at 4:15pm — No Comments

Warm and Fuzzy

I’ve seen a few posts by folks either suggesting that the Smart’s heater wasn’t up to the task or expressing concern that it wouldn’t be. We’ve now had some single digit temperatures here in the Chicagoland area, and I can report that I’ve had no problems getting the Smart’s interior warm and fuzzy in relatively short order. I have to admit that the average Mercedes can heat up its passengers faster (I used to kid that I rented out my CLK to glass blowers and blacksmiths on weekends for extra… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on December 7, 2008 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

No Snow Tires? No Problem!

If you live anywhere in snow country, you may have been asking the same question I have been... “do I really need to plunk down more hard-earned cash for snow tires?” I know I’ve been anxious to feel my own Smart (with only the standard issue Continental tires) on snow before I would be able to say with confidence that I was comfortable with its handling.



Well my Chicago suburb provided the perfect proving ground this morning. We got 3 or 4 inches of icy snow overnight, so before… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on December 1, 2008 at 11:35pm — 10 Comments

Another Hurdle

Like most Smart drivers posting on this site, I’m loving my car. While fuel economy was a major motivation behind its purchase, I have to admit that lower fuel prices have allowed me to rationalize that it’s okay to “drive it like I stole it.” So instead of easing my way around town, I’m having a blast with the paddle shifters and tachometer... winding out each gear and leaving surprised SUV drivers behind. The stereo is fantastic and the ride is better than expected. Until this week, the big… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on November 26, 2008 at 7:43pm — 5 Comments

Are You What You Drive?

In my last blog entry, The Sand Crab Theory, I explored the motives behind the reactions of friends and acquaintances to my decision to replace a perfectly fine, older Mercedes with a Smart Cabriolet. I’ve now been driving the car a couple of weeks, and while those reactions are no less interesting or entertaining, they are nowhere near as enlightening as the reactions I’ve had from people I don’t know. I think, quite simply, driving a Smart will eventually make one a better person. Don’t think… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on November 22, 2008 at 6:15pm — 10 Comments

The Sand Crab Theory

I once attended a motivational seminar where the speaker used sand crab behavior to explain why “misery loves company.” He told the audience that when collecting sand crabs off a beach, it wasn’t necessary to put a cover on the bucket in which they were carried. He explained that no matter how hard an individual sand crab might try to climb on top of his brethren to escape over the side of the bucket, the others will just pull that crab back into the bucket in the effort of escaping themselves.… Continue

Added by Alan Brask on November 14, 2008 at 6:11pm — 12 Comments

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