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November 27, 2007 3:13 PM   Subscribe

Disappearing Car Door: Damn, this is cool. Everyone will want one. Until the inevitable car accident which renders it unopenable.
posted by bwg (60 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can a site be down if it hasn't even been up yet?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:17 PM on November 27, 2007


This is exactly what I need for meeting my besuited friends outside my mansion.
posted by chrismear at 3:20 PM on November 27, 2007 [9 favorites]


This could make carjackings much more orderly and efficient.
posted by brain_drain at 3:21 PM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll have the coolest Taurus in town when I retrofit these babies.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:22 PM on November 27, 2007


I want a disappearing car.
posted by brundlefly at 3:22 PM on November 27, 2007


Automobiles today still use the same door principles as demonstrated by this 19th-century Benz coupe.

You mean that of having a door?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:25 PM on November 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I want a disappearing car.
I had one, but now I can't find it!
posted by trip and a half at 3:26 PM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


What happens when the door re-emerges from underneath your car with it's leather and cloth inside skin covered in salty slush?

What happens when the battery's dead, or the door motor seizes?

These questions will hopefully be answered when they put up a FAQ.
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:28 PM on November 27, 2007


How will this work when installed into my DeLorean?
posted by boo_radley at 3:29 PM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is very cool, but if i got them, i know i would leave my lights on one day, and then not be able to get in.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 3:29 PM on November 27, 2007


Dude, Where's My Car Door?
posted by fandango_matt at 3:33 PM on November 27, 2007


What happens when the door re-emerges from underneath your car with it's leather and cloth inside skin covered in salty slush?

What happens when the battery's dead, or the door motor seizes?


I'm no engineer, but I don't see how the first question is an issue; doesn't the door go inside a cavity on the underside, instead of just covering it?

And as for the second question, I'm sure those kinds of concerns have come up every time some aspect of automobiles has been replaced by an automatic or electronic function. In this case, I'm sure some sort of manual override wouldn't be that hard to design.
posted by hermitosis at 3:34 PM on November 27, 2007


Hermitosis, I would find that more reassuring if some of the automatic or electronic functions on cars actually currently had manual overrides, rather than simply not working when the battery goes dead.
posted by kyrademon at 3:37 PM on November 27, 2007


Disappearing Car Door httpd: Damn, this is cool. Everyone will want one. Until the inevitable car accident fpp which renders it unopenable. fixed etc, etc.
posted by finite at 3:40 PM on November 27, 2007


Here is a youtube that shows what is going on without the lag.

I remember seeing this a while back, and I suspect that the problem isn't that it would be hard to get someone out of one of these after a wreck; I fear that it would be all too easy. This seems to be removing a lot of the rigidity and armor that a normal door brings in an accident.

It also gets rid of the arm-rest, which I wouldn't like.
posted by quin at 3:45 PM on November 27, 2007


This seems to be a development of this prototype, which did the rounds a few months ago.
posted by cillit bang at 3:46 PM on November 27, 2007


Doors are for sissies.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:48 PM on November 27, 2007


Perfect for flying cars, which should be hitting the market any day now. It is the 21st century and all.
posted by spilon at 3:53 PM on November 27, 2007


Back in 1972, my dad bought an Oldsmobile station wagon, one of the full-sized dreadnoughts. The tail was curved forward dramatically. The glass slid up into the roof, and the tailgate slid down behind the bumper. People who saw the rear of the car in its open state sometimes assumed the back door was missing.

So, yeah. We're looking at 35-year-old technology here. GM nixed this design, I'm guessing because it must have been very heavy. If there were a real benefit to doing this with side doors, it would be done. As it is, these retractable doors are just for showing off. Like this monstrosity.
posted by adamrice at 3:57 PM on November 27, 2007


A similar system was on the BMW Z1, the predecessor to the US market's Z3 and now Z4. Luckily I was furtunate enought to get to ride in a turbo Z1 about 15 years ago, in Germany. Even the Germans were taking pictures. It's kinda fun to drive with no doors, a convertible top at 160 mph or so. I can;t see how they would be able to integrate this type of no door system while driving here in the US, but I wish they would.
posted by efalk at 3:58 PM on November 27, 2007


The inside of those cars are going to get a bit messy when the doors open and close in rainstorms.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:58 PM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


... just for showing off.

Yeah, I was just thinking that it's just a matter of time before it appears in a rap video.
posted by bwg at 4:00 PM on November 27, 2007


That's nothing, my friend has a truck that beats this hands down.

(Weirdly, he talks to it, and has named it "Optimus Prime" for some reason.)
posted by JHarris at 4:00 PM on November 27, 2007


Doors? Where we're going we don't need doors.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:00 PM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. They have a slide presentation demonstrating their amazing door. The technology! It's just... so... remarkable!
posted by koeselitz at 4:10 PM on November 27, 2007


I guess the people who designed this have never transported overly excited, 50-lb dogs who like to bolt outside as soon as the rear door opens just the tiniest crack.
posted by sotalia at 4:14 PM on November 27, 2007


I parked my car in the Bronx and found out it had disappearing wheels, a disappearing stereo, and disappearing air bags.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:22 PM on November 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'd rather have a side airbag than freedom from dodings, whatever those ah.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:30 PM on November 27, 2007


Guess I'm the only one who read it as disappearing cat door, huh?
posted by fish tick at 4:34 PM on November 27, 2007


The future. Finally!
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:39 PM on November 27, 2007


Wow. They have a slide presentation demonstrating their amazing door. The technology! It's just... so... remarkable!

I'll wait for the filmstrip, thanks [beep].
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:41 PM on November 27, 2007


I liked the way the door panel elegantly wrinkled up in the youtube video.

On most modern cars, the bulk of the strength of the car is carried fore-and-aft by the sills below the doors. This looks like it does away with those, so I bet the car is really being held rigid by its roof.

(Z1's top speed was 140, incidentally. Not that isn't plenty fast sans doors.)
posted by maxwelton at 4:43 PM on November 27, 2007


Hmmm, shades of the haughty fine styling of a Mercury Sable
posted by greenskpr at 4:50 PM on November 27, 2007


no, what you really need is one of these
posted by pyramid termite at 4:57 PM on November 27, 2007


The OhGizmo video shows one downside that the company's own footage misses: The inside and outside surfaces of the door have to be smooth. So there are no armrests, grips, or window controls that can extend past a predetermined surface profile. That's not the sort of rider amenity that sells big-ticket cars.

Totally unrelated to that, I'd bet it wouldn't take much of a side impact to pop the door off its track. Mmmm, safe.
posted by ardgedee at 5:00 PM on November 27, 2007


I'm almost certain Red Green has built something like this.
posted by erpava at 5:22 PM on November 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


fish tick: Nope. I saw cat door too. Why can't we have disappearing cat doors? It is the 21st Century after all.
posted by AstroGuy at 5:35 PM on November 27, 2007


That guy in the suit with his fancy schmancy house and disappearing car door was wearing white socks. Money can't buy style, I guess.
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:41 PM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I bet the car is really being held rigid by its roof

Actually, it seems that the compartment under the car that the doors slide into is basically a large steel tube, which would increase the rigidity of the frame.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:08 PM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, I fail to see how these would be any more unsafe in an accident than a powered sliding minivan door, or a gull-wing, or a Lambo-style forward rotating door.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:11 PM on November 27, 2007


Now entering their golden years, Bo and Luke welcome this novel method of vehicular ingress and egress.
posted by Tube at 6:42 PM on November 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey, I know that guy.

This is all the work of a friend's stepfather. I got to see these cars in person and poked around them quite a bit a few years ago.

The footage speaks for itself but it's pretty old. They should update it. The cars are cool and it was fun crawling around them when I was at their shop. The prototypes I saw were in various stages of torn-apartness, but all of the ones I saw were more advanced than the ohgizmo prototype (the door interiors are more finished, etc).

And adamrice: the concept is 35 years old, the technology to do it is a lot more advanced than those old Oldsmobiles. As far as weight goes, the design doesn't add much, if any - the doors themselves are reasonably light (lighter than a swing-out door with all the structure needed to support the hinges), the tube frame adds some but not much to the overall weight of the car. Or so I was told - I remember asking about weight the first time I saw the cars in person.

These prototypes were seriously assessed and poked and prodded around the big three and the tier-1's for at least five years - the auto industry took some serious hits after September 11 and I think that's when the idea was finally kiboshed. But there was talk there, for at least a couple of years, that major deals were underway, joint ventures and such to develop it further.

The disappearing door is cool, but the inventor of the thing actually has some cooler stuff he's done with safety restraint and air bag technology. Very creative engineer with a lot of talent.

A few years back the inventor and his wife moved to California and I didn't know if the idea died or not. It's good to see they're still working on it, now under a new company name, etc.

But that website sucks.
posted by disclaimer at 7:18 PM on November 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


Like this monstrosity.

That is fucking ridiculous. Was it my imagination, or were the top of the rear wheels actually angled inward?

Yes, you, too can have some FUCKED up camber.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:26 PM on November 27, 2007


The fountain was beautiful and the lawns were immaculate. I also loved the decorative brickwork which set off...

Wait, there was a car door?
posted by Zinger at 7:36 PM on November 27, 2007


It'll be so great to be able to get in and out of the car wearing my jetpack.
posted by unSane at 7:41 PM on November 27, 2007


disclaimer: yeah, I was coming in here to say that the disappearing car door is really a time machine, because those outfits are very 1991.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:43 PM on November 27, 2007


I was hoping that the Disappearing Car Door would be like a normal door, but would be seamless when closed.

I was disappointed.

Also, what's with all the comments on the (lack of) safety? I bet the scientists who perform all those safety tests on vehicles would be ecstatic to know that all they have to do instead is post a question to AskMe.
posted by ODiV at 8:41 PM on November 27, 2007


I saw a demo of this thing back 'round '95 while deep within the bowels of Unnamed Big Three Automaker. It was an impromptu thing for Important Others and I was more than 50 feet away -- I saw the door, looked away, looked back, the door was gone. It was truly a magical thing. Later after seeing this and some other magical seats that rose up into a vehicle's ceiling, one of the engineers said to me "maybe first we should work on keeping the water out of the taillights."
posted by user92371 at 8:49 PM on November 27, 2007


the auto industry took some serious hits after September 11 and I think that's when the idea was finally kiboshed.

Well then, it's pretty clear that the terrorists have won.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:56 PM on November 27, 2007


I misread the post title as "Disappearing cat door" at first and was thoroughly confused by the comments about potential accidents. Imagine my disappointment when I actually visited the link.
posted by katillathehun at 9:27 PM on November 27, 2007


That is fucking ridiculous. Was it my imagination, or were the top of the rear wheels actually angled inward?

They must have taken the back end out of a late 80s 300ZX. Shee-it, they had some wacky camber on the back.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:42 PM on November 27, 2007


The truly rich have people who open the car doors for them.
posted by moonbiter at 10:12 PM on November 27, 2007


in soviet russia, car door opens...

wait, what?
posted by CitizenD at 10:42 PM on November 27, 2007


How would this affect the frame of the car? Aren't side open doors used for structure reinforcement?
posted by I-baLL at 12:45 AM on November 28, 2007


Interesting idea; the main problem in my opinion, structural concerns aside, would be that it is not possible to open them "just a bit". If rain's pouring down or snow falls you probably don't want to expose that much of the interior of the car to the elements. This way, it basically removes the complete side wall each time the door opens - imagine a car passing by, splattering muddy slush, just as you get into the driver's seat.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 3:49 AM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Conversely, I can't count how many times the wind has kept pushing the door closed on me while I was getting in or out of the car, or just looking for something.

And when both the front and rear doors are wode open, any car is almost just as exposed anyway-- there's only a certain range of angles that are blocked by an open car door, and rain falling from above isn't one of them.
posted by hermitosis at 6:12 AM on November 28, 2007


Pretty cool idea. But I think PontifexPrimus has a good point.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:18 AM on November 28, 2007


I'm sure that these have to allow airbags as well
posted by __ at 6:35 PM on November 28, 2007


An example of creating a need then filling it.

Who needs this? Who wants this? It makes almost no sense. There's no advantages over a regular door, several profound disadvantages (who wants a door that opens when everything else in the car is working in perfect order?), and at a much higher cost!

God, if anyone buys one of these, I am going to mail them a box of my own shit.
posted by tehloki at 7:47 AM on November 29, 2007


EXPRESS.
posted by tehloki at 7:47 AM on November 29, 2007


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