15 Car Styling Cues For The Ages Page 3

July 8, 2013
1965 VW Beetle with suicide door

1965 VW Beetle with suicide door

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Dura sliding doors

Dura sliding doors

1975 AMC Pacer X

1975 AMC Pacer X

1929 Chevrolet rumbleseat roadster

1929 Chevrolet rumbleseat roadster

11. Suicide doors
Many features found on concept cars never make it to production, and suicide doors are a prime example. True, they look convenient, and on rides like the long lost Honda Element, they came in  handy for professional schleppers. Unfortunately, they're difficult to engineer, and they present some serious safety concerns -- for example, they make B-pillars almost impossible, and if they're opened in traffic, they can slam shut on the person exiting the vehicle. Ouch. But despite all that, nothing looks cooler, with the possible exception of...  

12. Gullwing doors
Like suicide doors, gullwings often show up on concept vehicles, then magically transform into conventional doors once lawyers and accountants start attending design meetings. That's too bad, because few things are as impressive as opening a gullwing door, except opening both at the same time. 

13. Sliding doors
Sliding doors have taken a bad rap because they're a standard feature on dull-as-dishwater minivans. But not all sliding doors on automobiles are made to facilitate getting rugrats to school. In fact, quite a few 20th century models used sliding doors like the pocket doors found in houses, with doors that slid into the front or rear fenders. Production problems and safety concerns nixed most of those cars, but one day, someone's going to figure out how to do sliding doors right, and we plan to be there for the celebration. 

14. Cab-forward compartments
Cab-forward designs are common on vans and commercial vehicles, with passengers sitting directly above or just behind the front axle. But the cab-forward design is found in cars, too. American Motors is often given credit for introducing cab-forward cars by pushing axles away from the center of the vehicle, allowing for greater interior space. Unfortunately, the vehicle that best demonstrates this trend is the Pacer, which is what sent many motorists into the loving embrace of the cab-forward's antithesis, the shooting brake. 

15. Rumble seats
Let's face it: rumble seats were a terrible idea. The thinking was, like, "Hey, what if we put a pop-up seat on the back of the car? It won't be as sturdy or as safe as an interior seat, and anyone who rides back there is liable to get soaked or sunburned, depending on the weather, and of course, it'll eat up all the trunk space, but man, won't it look cool?" We don't know who said that, but they were damn right.

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