How many Dutch revelers does it take to dump a Smart car into a canal? Not many, according to recent reports that pranksters have taken to chucking the itty-bitty vehicles into Amsterdam’s waterways. The hapless owners of the eco-friendly cars aren’t laughing though.
The diminutive Smart Fortwo, weighing in at a mere 725 kg and measuring under 2.7 m long, has been a fixture on the narrow streets of Europe since it appeared more than a decade ago. Its ability to squeeze into tight spaces have made it popular in Amsterdam, where it’s not uncommon to see the lightweight roadsters nestled perilously close to the edge of the city’s many canals. Apparently, the urge to hoist them onto their hind wheels and send them into the murky water is one that drunken young men have been indulging. As victim Casper de Jong, whose Smart was found adrift in the waterway outside his apartment, told De Telegraaf, “The same thing happened to my companion’s Smart. Both cars are a complete write-off.”
This is not the first time tiny vehicles have been made the objects of mockery. The recent shenanigans are reminiscent of those that have befallen Volkswagen Beetles for decades. Engineering students at the University of British Columbia have used bugs in a number of pranks, and several students were recently charged after their failed attempt to dangle a Beetle from a Vancouver bridge sent the car plummeting into the waters below.
Though the Amsterdam prank is well-known enough to have earned it the moniker Smart smijten (Dutch for “Smart throwing”), Michael Minielly at Smart Canada insists the incidents are “isolated.” As for whether they will deter potential buyers, he says the car’s “compact dimensions” and “safe and fun package” are precisely what “makes it so great.” Unfortunately, that’s also what makes dunking Smart cars so difficult for pranksters to resist.