The team by the McLaren F1 takes over the design of the smart roadster and will relaunch under the AC name
One of the most interesting new cars planned for 2007 is the re-branded and re-engineered smart roadster to be re-launched under the world-famous marque of AC (think the AC Cobra). Last year the oddly-named Project Kimber purchased the rights from Mercedes for the smart roadster and the latest news is that the engineering team will be headed by none other than world renowned Formula 1 and road car designer Professor Gordon Murray. Murray is best known for engineering the McLaren F1 road car (the fastest car in the world for several years) and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren but for the last three years, Murray has used a smart roadster coupe for his personal day-to-day transport. As a result, he not only brings to the project his extensive knowledge of design and engineering, but a unique understanding and experience of the core product. Murray's team will include chief designer John Piper, formerly of Williams Grand Prix, Benetton and Reynard. Piper led the Visioneering team which supplied the engineering capabilities to JCB for the Dieselmax car which set a new diesel land speed record last year. The new car will be available in both normally-aspirated and turbocharged versions using the latest 1.0-litre, three-cylinder Mitsubishi engine running through a Getrag manual gearbox.