Car doors are one of the areas of car design that never really change over the years. Car aesthetics, in general, have changed dramatically; headlights are more advanced, metallic creases have become more “creasy” and let’s not get started on mechanics or electronics. Somehow though, car doors have remained pretty much the same over time. To be perfectly honest, theres not much you can do to improve them really and regardless of class, model or price, almost all cars have the same conventional-style doors as 70 years ago. That said, here are seven weird door configurations on ordinary cars!
Lincoln Continental Convertible
Back in 1961, Lincoln shocked the car industry with the introduction of the Continental. It was a top-of-the-class limousine with powerful engines, exquisite styling, and superb ride comfort. Also, it featured rear “suicide” doors which added a touch of class and distinguished Lincoln from Cadillac and the Chrysler Imperial.
However, Lincoln decided to go a step further and introduce a convertible version with the same features, which was a significant engineering achievement. Torsional rigidity is often a big problem with convertibles. When you have four doors, especially the “suicide” type ones, heavy body, and ’60s technology, it looks like an impossible challenge, but Lincoln’s designers managed to pull it off and it’s still one of the coolest American convertibles ever made.
The idea behind the Veloster’s doors might be cool, but it was sort of plagued from the start. Back in 2011, Hyundai unveiled the Veloster, a cool-looking hatchback aimed at youthful buyers with a sense of style. One of the most prominent features was the 4-door, (not 5 door) configuration. For left-hand drive markets, there was one door on a driver’s side and two doors on a passenger’s side for a more comfortable and safer entrance.
On RHD versions it was totally opposite due to left-hand-traffic conditions. This meant that the side your kids entered in and out of at the back was the kerb side, yet you still got a sporty-looking coupe type hatch. The reviews were mixed, and the Veloster even had a recall due to concerns that that third door may open during a crash.
A few days back, I did a video on why the RX8 is a car you need in your life if you are true petrolhead, however, today we will mention it for a different reason. The Mazda RX8 is one of the very rare, quad coupe cars on the market which has four doors with rear doors oppositely hinged from the front in “suicide” style.
From a distance, you would never guess that this coupe has a same Number of doors as an ordinary family sedan and its even easier to get in the back since you can approach the rear seats from a different angle. Mazda managed to pull this off, and we have to applaud Mazda’s engineers for keeping the cars torsional rigidity. The only other cars in this configuration are the BMW i3 and the rare and unusual Saturn Ion.
If you’ve never heard of the Toyota Sera, you are can be excused since this is one of those obscure Japanese market-only cars which are never seen elsewhere. Produced from 1990 till 1996, the Sera was an economy car underneath a very innovative body and had 1.5-litre engine with 90 horsepower.
Although not exactly a “normal” car, the Sera was equipped with glorious “butterfly” doors which were similar to those used on the McLaren F1.
The Sera’s doors also covered a part of the roof and looked more like a fighter jet canopy than the part of the car. Painted in metallic colors and graced by futuristic styling, the Sera was real eye-catcher even though it wasn’t much faster than a period Corolla. Not that you’d care!
Apart from being one of the most affordable electric vehicles you can own, the Twizy is also interesting for being the only vehicle which is sold without the doors in base trim level. That is right; if you buy a standard model, you will not get any doors whatsoever. However, if you spend around 800 pounds more, your Twizy will get a pair of doors on each side which will open rather like Lamborghini doors.
Even though the Twizy is barely more than a motorized scooter, having doors will add to the comfort and practicality of this urban runabout and these ones are sure to turn heads.
Tesla Model X
Not only is the Tesla Model X the only electric crossover on the market, but it’s also a very controversial vehicle in lots of ways. Apart from its high price tag and electric drivetrain, the Model X’s “Falcon wing” doors are truly unlike any other vehicle.
At first glance, you might think that “Falcon” doors similar to those on many supercars, but no, Tesla managed to make them even more controllable. The secret is the hinges on the top of the door which are electronically controlled by sensors on the side of the car. Classic gull wing doors can be very unpractical when you are parked next to another vehicle, but “Falcon” doors can open almost vertically without protrusion, yet still allowing effortless access. Trust Tesla to think outside the box!
The BMW Z1 was a very interesting roadster, introduced in the early ’90s. It didn’t look like any classic BMW with its pointy front end and roadster body, but it was based on legendary E30 3-series. Under the hood was 2.5-liter straight-six engine with 170 HP which provided the Z1 with respectable performance. Despite being special, the Z1 isn’t exactly a supercar and although its fairly swift, nobody really paid attention to the engine as all eyes were directed to the crazy sliding doors! BMW patented an impressive system of sliding downward doors which disappeared in the lower half of the body, almost as if they didn’t exist. The doors weren’t convenient and took up a lot of room in the sills, but surprisingly you could drive with them in the open position, giving you an awesome feeling of openness. These days, say “z1” to any car fan and they will instantly say “yeh is that the one with the slidy doors?”
So, there you are. Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments.