Disappearing car door technology not yet widely adopted

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/18/disappearing-car-door-technolo.html


Jalopnik did a series of posts on that car a number of years back.


We’ve no idea whether it’s fact or fiction, but according to the nice people putting this one-of-a-kind up for sale on eBay, here’s the “lore” on this here '93 Lincoln one-off:

“Lincoln executives were concerned about the heavy and wide doors on the Mark VIII in the early 1990’s especially in large cities with tight parking spots. They were toying with the idea of a Mark VIII that had doors that disappeared beneath the car which would require no additional space for the doors to swing open in order to allow the occupant to exit or enter. Back in the day, the major auto makers would sub-contract their concept designs to other engineering firms who specialiazed in auto concepts and executions. In this particular case, this Lincoln Mark VIII was shipped over to Joalto Design Inc. near Detroit…who created this amazing, one of a kind concept car and shipped it back to Lincoln for executive approval…Unfortunately, the Ford Motor Company executives did not like the design and ordered the car (and the concept) to be sent to the junkyard and destroyed. The current owner had been tracking this car for nearly 20 years and finally convinced the previous owner to part with it.”


Well this guy is way ahead of his time.


Oh, that would be Such Fun in the Canadian winter!

When it does work, it’ll dump all the heat in the car as fast as popping a pressurized airlock. If there’s blowing snow, sleet or rain coming from the wrong direction, the inside of the car will be coated in it.

And when it doesn’t… That’s a design just begging to introduce water into the heart of it, where it will freeze solid until spring.

At least it would encourage people not to use a car door as a shield in a shootout.


In the 70s there were station wagons where the tailgate performed the same way. Motors were less reliable, they were a trouble spot, but it certainly wasn’t a major problem.


At least it would encourage people not to use a car door as a shield in a shootout.

It started with the aftermarket, but for many years now Ford has offered factory ballistic panels in police cars.




Yet the video is from 1997 and set in Detroit*, so I think the main audience for this was Americans. Still, it is unsettling how much they try to make it feel as if it were 1980’s England, but I think that says more about the U.S. of the Clinton era than the U.K. of the Thatcher era.

* You can tell the year by the Coke can at 1:49, and the location is obvious because the first shot is of the Fox Theatre.


I laughed- the guys AND the cop were all types of people I wish there were more of.

Cop’s like, yeah, they read the fine print, can’t charge em. As ridiculous as it is to drive around wearing a predator helmet and no doors…

Texas allows some weird shit


I would suspect the hinged door is common and has persisted because with an all out full on mechanical failure of multiple systems it still comes down to unlocking and manual labor to get you out.

when it comes to modern electric door locks there have been interesting stories of people thinking they were stuck in their cars not knowing there was a mechanism for a manual unlocking. an eighty year old man was stuck for days.

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It does look bike friendly, speaking as someone who was recently doored.


another youtube that shows up when watching those is one from Doug DeMuro. I hate how long his videos take but its cause they are thorough and they are a bit dry but my fascination with cars has had me watch many many of his vids in the past.

its of the BMW that was a production model with the door.


ten years ago you could put wiper technology on the back burner still waiting for the hack…
but don’t tell elon he needs the baseline for luggage

Oh, yeah, and just think about how gross the door sill gets in the winter. Now that nastiness gets to also be right next to you as you drive.


I don’t see it as all that bad.

As the video points out, no door dings, as @beauwillamson states above, no getting clobbered by a door. I would add not shutting one’s fingers, ankles, or other extremities in said door, and much more access to a backseat that has more room for storage, but not enough space to pass objects through the doorway on conventional two-door (and even some four-door) sedans.


would like to know how it performs during a crash (i.e. is it strong enough to not have a car come right into your lap) and how it performs after a crash (i.e. will i still be able to get out of the car).


My motorcycle doesn’t have doors, I have that going for me.


It certainly would be likely to confuse the heck out of whoever was trying to open the thing up with the Jaws of Life.

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I’m actually kind of shocked at how fast it moves - that is refreshing. So many automated / motorized features are agonizingly slow. I mean I guess the slowness leads to less amputated limbs…

But considering how many automated windows I’ve had issues with in my past cars - it seems a bit risky to have your entire door decide now to open or close.

Sort of related - you don’t see gulf-wing doors for sedans that have one long door. Seems like you could get this same access effect without the unreliability of the roll-down ones here.

My family had one such station wagon.

Another take on the disappearing door was the Kaiser Darrin, where the door slid forward into the bodywork, like a pocket door.