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THE HOME OF MODIFICATION AND MAINTENANCE FOR YOUR SMART

My fortwo started out as any other car from the smart factory. It was a totally standard black and silver mk7 Passion.

Modification runs thick in the family so the smart was no exception, and has been an ongoing project ever since.

The 'stares':

If you don't like a lot of attention, a modified car is not for you. Changing your car from stock to make it stand out from the crowd will, of course, turn heads.

Being bombarded with questions when you pull up in a car park, having pictures taken at traffic lights and having the boy racers try to race you off the line in their tricked-out Corsas is part of everyday life.

One of the aspects I really enjoy is after attending a show. It's fantastic seeing your car appear on various internet sites, such as Facebook, Photobucket and the majority of forums linked with the event. It's a little compliment, showing that people are interested enough, like your ideas and maybe want to know or see more.

The advantages:

A lot of people wouldn't ever consider buying a smart but a quick look round and a blast around the block usually turns their attention to the existence of the smart brand; always telling you when they spot one out on the road.

Strangely, I have found that the more attention my car has received, the less I worry about it being messed around with, as it stands out from the crowd and everyone remembers it.

Heavily modified cars can still be practical too: my car has been known to carry a passenger, and a fold-up push bike, on a 15 mile drive. OK, it's no luxury 5-series but does the job without too much of a fuss.

Petrol consumption is still great and the road tax remains the same at a crazy £35 (as of writing) due to the car's original specification at first taxation (thumbs up to the DVLA for that one).

At shows you meet like-minded people who share the same interest and over time you can see they have used each other's cars as inspiration for their own. It's fantastic seeing these ideas grow on such a large scale so quickly.

No two cars are the same, each one-of-a-kind and personal to the owner's taste. The smart is all about being individual, so driving your own modified version is almost in its own gene pool. It can give you a great sense of pride that a standard car just can't deliver.

Winning competitions: there is nothing more flattering than winning a competition! It is very rewarding to see that someone has recognised the hard work and the love that has been put into the car.

The disadvantages:

Sadly nothing comes without its disadvantages and modding has a fair few to say the least.

Fuel consumption - Well with the bigger wheels, tyres, body kit and remap the car's consumption goes up slightly but to be honest, that's probably down to my over-enthusiastic driving with all my new bits fitted.

Speed humps - These are a bit of a pain now with the lowered suspension and low profile tyres, much more care has to be taken now even at slow speeds.

Racing - Now you look the part, everyone wants to race. 'No thanks, Corsa boy!'

Police attention - I have only been pulled over once late at night for my number plate as it was spaced illegally, but if you go too far, the consequences can be a regular spot at the side of the road with your local 'bobby'.

Last of all, its not uncommon to have photos of your car looking a sorry state when something's being done (see below).

The comments:

I had one of the drivers from work ask me what car it is. When I said a 'smart' he replied "oh I thought so, but people like you confuse me when you de-badge it".

After giving a friend a lift he directed me over a stretch of speed humps, he stumbled from the car claiming he felt sea sick due to the car being so high up with the hard suspension.

So far, I have heard the car described as a Tardis, bug, can of sprite, roller skate and, luckily, a Porsche 911 GT3; at least someone understood the idea...!

Well, believe it or not, I actually got stopped in a car park at our local supermarket and asked "Is that your exhaust coming out the side of your car?"

Feeling slightly embarrassed (for them) I replied "No, that's my air intake".

Kirsty...

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