Van transforms a Speedster into a speedboat

It is my opinion that the worst drivers in America drive cars that have ZipCar stickers all over them. Like my worst enemy, I pay close attention to them. I also try to stay away from rented vans and trucks as many people driving them don’t have a lot of experience with larger vehicles. I’ve seen some crazy stuff. It turns out that in Europe, or at least U.K., I don’t even know if they’re still part of Europe or what’s going on there, isn’t much different. 
A replica of the classic Porsche 356, a 2004 Chesil 356 Speedster, was peacefully parked along the Regent’s Canal in north London. Then, a wham and bam, and the speedster becomes a speedboat. Someone backing-up their rented cargo van simply did not see it. 

It’s a good thing that back-up cameras will be mandatory on all new vehicle starting this year, at least here in the United States. Hopefully that includes stripped-out commercial-grade rental cargo vans, too. 

Not surprisingly, the vehicle is expected to be a total loss. Nearby parked Mercedes wagon (damn you and your Euro market wagons) and questionably modded Miata survived. 


  1. That parking lot should have its own Twitter feed like the low bridge that routinely scrapes the tops off of box trucks. I can’t imagine that’s the first vehicle to end up in that bit of canal.

    1. I’m a real Anglophile, and one of the things I love about the British is their cavalier attitudes around protecting citizens from injuring themselves. Top Gear complains a lot about the Nanny State, but this wide open expanse of wharfside where if you’re too stupid to walk & chew gum you’ll fall in and rid the country of your embarrassing self belies that complaint, and proves a healthy interest in laughing at idiots.

      1. Funny how this works the other way around, too. Friends of mine who went hiking in US national parks complained about concrete walkways, railings and helicopters. They felt nannied.
        When I worked in Norwegian mountain cabins, American customers considered our ‘family friendly granny hikes’ extreme mountaineering experiences. Lots of heated discussions…

        1. The U.S. tort law system costs ~$300 billion annually. That’s within spitting distance of the entire Norwegian economy.

    2. Take a look at @putneyhtc on Twitter for people who don’t realise that the River Thames is tidal, and come back to find their parking space underwater.

      1. Came here to post something like this. Many years ago I was staying on a friend’s house- boat in Richmond, London, on the Thames. Across the river from us were some little sheds all in a row built into the embankment, with a garden bar on top. I thought that they were garages as some cars were parked in front of them. My host informed me that they were boat sheds, which he knew were emptied out because an exceptionally high tide was due that night, and that he hoped someone had told the car’s owners.
        No-one did, and we were woken by the sound of a late VW Beetle 1302 bumping into our steel hull at dawn. It had floated right across the river. The SD1 Rover that had been next to it, was still on the other side, submerged halfway up it’s windows. In what I see now as a metaphor of the entire British car industry, the Rover was sunk and the VW bouyantly voyaged forth. Until we accidentlly sunk it while trying to get it ashore. They don’t float nearly as well when they are inverted.
        Cars were parked where boat trailers are in this picture.

  2. Having rented a van from Zipcar in the UK, they have parking sensors, probably for this exact reason.
    (Though vans from Sixt etc tend not to)

  3. Yesterday I was at the bank which has a small tight parking lot. It’s suppose to be one way but it’s not marked very well so you get into some situations. This time a full size Ram pickup came up the wrong direction and wanted to park next to me. I waited 5 minutes while he tried to maneuver into the spot. Fortunately he didn’t hit me, nor was there a body of water to push me into. Finally he gave up, pulled out to let me out and go on my way. The advantage of a car, even it’s a rather large midsize (TSX Sportwagon)

  4. I had to Google “ZipCar” to understand what you meant. I really need to get out of my cave more often.

    1. Haven’t seen many Zipcars. But I do find that although not every Uber/Lyft driver is a bad driver, it DOES appear to be true that all bad drivers are Uber/Lyft drivers.

  5. So, I work for a rental company, and we have a handful of high-roof Transits in the fleet. About six months ago, one was driven into a parking garage, or something else too low for it, and the driver just kept going. The cost to repair the roof (might have been a little unibody damage too, the back windows were blown out) was enough to write it off.
    What I’m trying to say is that even with the cameras coming, someone will still screw something up.

    1. Have been a passenger in a rental moving truck that had to do a u-turn (at mild inconvenience to traffic) to avoid a low rail bridge on the ‘usual’ route… Neither of us thought of it until we had turned onto that road.

    2. I bought a former rental van. First thing to check was the roof – those get washed nearly daily, so rust wasn’t a problem, the dings and dents were taken care of, and the clutch was new, so it was a keeper.

    1. I saw that on Jalopnik (Ka-plopnik?) I didn’t realize it had been executed with extreme prejudice. One wonders if the van would have stopped at all if it hadn’t hit the bathtub.

  6. Going to have to disagree with the pro-mandatory backup camera stance. Mandatory anything is the enemy of the lightweight sports car. I still can’t believe a Miata would need a backup camera.

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