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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's No Aston Martin for Secret Agent Maxwell Smart

NEW YORK — Unlike some of this year's movie superheroes, Maxwell Smart will not be found behind the wheel of an Audi R8, a Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 or an Aston Martin DBS. Instead, the modest and fuel-efficient Vespa LX 150 will be the klutzy secret agent's personal transportation in the Warner Bros. film Get Smart.

As you might expect, the promotional efforts for the movie are ramping up. Vespa has teamed with Warner Bros. and restaurant chain Subway in an effort that bundles an online instant-win game and sweepstakes. The grand prizes are 10 Vespas, free food and gear. Vespa said it is offering a free $5 Subway card with a test-drive or product demonstration at its dealerships. More information can be found at VespaUSA.com or SubwayFreshBuzz.com.

Vespa has a long relationship with Get Smart, back when it was a TV show. The Vespa-Alpha was developed by Alpha-Wallis in 1967 for Maxwell Smart, the main character in the TV series Get Smart. The vehicle was not only roadworthy, it could fly and even be used under water.

The Get Smart movie debuts June 20 and stars Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway.

The Vespa is an excellent foil to Carell's role as something of a bumbling antihero. In contrast, Robert Downey Jr.'s character in the blockbuster movie Iron Man drives an Audi R8. The new Batman movie will feature the superhero behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, while the Aston Martin DBS plays a major supporting role in the new James Bond movie.

What this means to you: With gas prices what they are, the Vespa suddenly might seem like one of the hippest vehicles on the road, even without the influence of Maxwell Smart. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent


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