No License? No problem!
January 3, 2003 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Not old enough to drive a car? Get a minicar! It seems that Italy's teens have solved the problem of not having a license to drive until they are 18 years old, through the use of minicars. Supposedly, they have a governor that holds them to around 30mph (though kids say they get souped up), and they can't be over 772lbs... But the key is you can drive them if you can't see well enough for a license, have your license revoked, or are as young as 14, you can drive one off the lot right now! Some links to manufacturers are at the bottom of the Washington Post's article.
posted by djspicerack (18 comments total)
Come on man! No more posts without pictures! Feed the fires of our television culture. Feed the need.
posted by Satapher at 7:15 AM on January 3, 2003

Huh. I'm in Italy and I don't see many minicars around. It may be because I'm living in a smallish town, but I dunno... I can't recall the last time I saw a minicar, but it definitely was more than a year ago.
posted by sailoreagle at 7:15 AM on January 3, 2003

Yes, it is disappointing how frequently certain sites, like the Post, do not provide photos with articles that scream out for them. Interesting link, though.
posted by rushmc at 7:55 AM on January 3, 2003

a lot of times it's articles off the various wire services that show up without pictures, so that could be part of it. At least they had links to the makers' sites....
posted by djspicerack at 7:57 AM on January 3, 2003

Oh no! What happened to the Dolce Vita?

When in Rome, ride the Scooter! How could the Italians have the heart to give up their Vespas? Surely a criminal mastermind must be behind all this "minicar"-nonsense.
posted by cx at 8:32 AM on January 3, 2003

i reckon that the poor acceleration of these cars would limit the market to the subset of italian automobilists (and their parents) for whom safety, rather than style is paramount.
posted by asok at 8:40 AM on January 3, 2003

They're quite cool. Wish they were around when i was 14.

I'm a big car fan personally. More crumple zones. Makes me feel safer. I wouldn't like to be in one of those mini cars if a truck smashes you. Also, Italy has a bad enough road safety record already without 14 year old kids tazzing round in souped up minicars!
posted by derbs at 8:43 AM on January 3, 2003

Just what we need in America. Do they come with the left blinker permanently turned on?
posted by bondcliff at 8:48 AM on January 3, 2003

sailoreagle's right

it's a cute little story, but minicars are far from popular in Italy, far from it

if you're over 18 they're a terribly expensive nonsense, if you're younger the cool way to get around town is a moped, a classic 50-cc Vespa or similar, or a bigger 125-cc bike (you're technically not allowed to carry a passenger on those, but you know how it is...)

cool under-18 kids wouldn't be caught dead on those ugly, slow, eminently un-cool minicars
posted by matteo at 9:03 AM on January 3, 2003

The Aixam comes with a CVT. Neat. I'm happy to see them being used in applications where they truly make sense.
posted by jammer at 9:08 AM on January 3, 2003

They should be immediately marketed and sold in Florida, so dangerous drivers would become dangerous AND hilarious drivers.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:07 AM on January 3, 2003

Not posting photos with the article is one thing. Not making URLs hyperlinked *in the online article* is quite another.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:33 AM on January 3, 2003

I almost can't type this, I'm laughing so hard! Thanks PrinceValium! :)

Cute cars BTW... woulda loved one when I was a kid.
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:16 PM on January 3, 2003

Most of the mini cars in France are driven by older folks who live in smaller towns -- they need a car but for some reason can or choose not to have one. I have never seen a teenager driving one. Always with the mopeds or dirt bikes those youngsters are. Noisy little buggers too because they've been modified. /shaking fist angrily
posted by Dick Paris at 1:51 PM on January 3, 2003

I'd love to see some crash-test pics of those nice mini cars..uhm..and the ones of Mercedes Smart as well :)
posted by elpapacito at 4:09 PM on January 3, 2003

A four-seater is a mini-car not requiring a license? Those would be mid-size cars in Japan. We have tiny electric cars for rent at charging stations in kyoto.
posted by planetkyoto at 1:47 AM on January 4, 2003

Just got back to the UK from a new year in Rome - didn't see any minicars, but did see a lot of Smart cars - so I don't think size is the issue with these minicars, but the lack of zip and style. The scooter's still king in Rome, for young and old.

Also, why on earth does the article worry about bad driving by 14 year olds, when everyone in Italy drives atrociously anyway?
posted by simcd at 4:45 AM on January 4, 2003

Uhh..... You still need a motorcycle license according to this.

I can see the appeal if you could drive it without any license, but since you need a motorcycle license, why bother? Motorcycles with small engines will blow these mini cars away.

posted by Witold at 3:51 PM on January 4, 2003

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