Five cars with incredibly weird doors

Tesla Model X has Falcon doors at the rear. A dollar if you can jump right through without touching anything.
DAVID LINKLATER/FAIRFAX NZ

Tesla Model X has Falcon doors at the rear. A dollar if you can jump right through without touching anything.

 

Everybody's talking about the Tesla Model X at the moment, with its elaborately contorting Falcon doors at the rear and the annoyingly sensitive electric-opening conventional apertures at the front.

But there have been much stranger doors in automotive history: today we look at five outrageous examples.

BMW Z1

You could legally drive the BMW Z1 with the doors retracted. Any takers?
SUPPLIED

You could legally drive the BMW Z1 with the doors retracted. Any takers?

The Z1 from 1989 was a largely conventional-looking (if a little bit weird around the headlights) convertible with a 2.5-litre inline six that BMW only built in left-hand drive. But it had one feature that set it apart - super-weird doors that slid vertically down into the car's chassis.

While this did make for very awkwardly high and wide sills that made it difficult to clamber in and out of the car, it did bring one advantage of sorts - the huge sills offered independent crash protection, meaning that the Z1 could legally be driven with the doors down. Although we have no idea why you would want to do that.

BMW Isetta

Oddly enough, the Isetta idea of attaching the steering wheel to a door never really caught on.
SUPPLIED

Oddly enough, the Isetta idea of attaching the steering wheel to a door never really caught on.

The tiny Isetta was a microcar designed and built by Italian company Iso, but also licensed out to a number of other manufacturers, including VELAM in France, Rome in Brazil and, of course, BMW in Germany.

The Isetta became famous for a number of things, including having a front-opening door that swung outwards with the steering wheel attached to it, and forward-only gears, meaning it was technically possible to trap yourself in the car if you parked the front too close to a wall. Except that last bit was only true of some of the British-sold BMWs. To make it legal for the Isetta to be driven on a motorcycle license, the UK cars had only three wheels (the rest had four) and a disconnected reverse gear. 

TVR Cerbera

TVR Cerbera was a car full of surprises. A lot of them were unpleasant electric surprises.
SUPPLIED

TVR Cerbera was a car full of surprises. A lot of them were unpleasant electric surprises.

While the Cerbera (and several other TVRs for that matter) had normal looking doors, it was actually the manner in which you opened them that was weird. To open from the outside you pressed a button on the door mirror and from the inside you pressed a button on the centre console. Or not.

Ad Feedback

You see, the Cerbera suffered from a legendarily bad electrical system that turned the doors into an exciting lottery on wheels. Would the door open when you wanted it to? Would the door you actually wanted to open actually open, or would the other one? Would nothing happen at all? Or would they open when you weren't expecting them to?

Kaiser Darrin

Would you drive a car called Darrin? That's right, hardly anybody did.
SUPPLIED

Would you drive a car called Darrin? That's right, hardly anybody did.

The Kaiser Darrin was an American sports car that came out in 1954, a year after the Chevrolet Corvette. It was underpowered and incredibly expensive, so failed rather badly.

But it was impossibly pretty (except for the weirdly high shell-shaped grille) and featured some rather remarkable "pocket" doors that slid forward into the car's body. While this was very novel and helped the Darrin's sleek lines, the openings were impractically small and they jammed a lot. A lot. So much that even Kaiser dealers were reluctant to order the Darrin, which didn't help sales in the slightest.

Panthermobile

We know you're humming the Pink Panther theme instead of reading this. We'll just leave you to it.
SUPPLIED

We know you're humming the Pink Panther theme instead of reading this. We'll just leave you to it.

Okay, so this was a one-off car built for the original opening credits of The Pink Panther Show, but it had some awesomely weird doors on it! Plus it was seven metres long, 1.8 metres wide and bright pink.

While the driver's compartment was open and had no doors, the passenger compartment had a massive opening on the right that dropped down to form a step, while a section of the roof swung upwards for easy access.

Well, easy access if you were three feet tall. Or a cartoon Pink Panther.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback