What happened to the two-door car?

What happened to the two-door car?

During the 1990s, an American car that had been around for decades was on the verge of extinction. Big, inefficient, not very practical but show-stopping and handsome, they still evoke a certain period of over-the-top American style.

These are cars like the Chrysler Cordoba with “Corinthian leather” seats – roll the Rs like Ricardo Montalbán in the ad – the Buick Riviera, the Cadillac Eldorado and the Oldsmobile Toronado. (Spanish-sounding names are big, too.) Driving one of these “personal luxury cars” makes a statement about your superior taste and, also, your carefree lifestyle that doesn’t require the mundane practicality of a tailgate.

There are still two-door cars today, of course, but they’re almost all high-performance sports cars that aren’t intended for comfortable cruising. But forty- and fifty-year-old “personal luxury coupés” can fetch higher prices from car collectors than their four-door peers, a testament to their continued appeal.

“I think the term started in the ’60s,” says Brian Rabold with collector car company Hagerty, of the so-called personal luxury coupé. “But that was the heyday of the 70s. There were still some deals, but it started to decline in the ’80s and ’90s.”

First touch screen
Long, low and stylish, they are design and technology showcases for their respective car brands. In 1986, the Riviera offered the first touchscreen in a production car, according to GM. Car companies can do that because these cars sell in lower volumes, though, than four-door models.

“Because you have lower volume, you can afford to use higher technology,” said Kevin Kirbitz, a former GM engineer who now heads the company’s heritage collection. “You have also set a premium price.”

Over the years, these cars have left their mark. Even today, one of these big two-door American models has a certain appeal at auto shows. With their long hood, extensive chrome and two large doors that allow awkward access to the often reasonably sized – once you manage to get in there – back seat, they still make a statement.

For car designers, two-door models can offer more playful proportions, a long hood that evokes power and a tapered aerodynamic rear end.

“They could get a more sweeping windshield,” Kirbitz said. “They can get the longer parts they’re looking for.”

Many models are offered with two- or four-door bodies. Today, two-doors are typically worth about 67% more to modern car collectors, attesting to the appeal of the style. Of course, someone buying a 50-year-old car may also be less concerned with practicality than a buyer in the past, Rabold points out.

Enter Thunderbird
Two-door cars have been around for about as long as cars have had doors but Rabold credits the real breakthrough in “personal luxury” styling to the Ford Thunderbird. Introduced in 1955 as a competitor to the Chevrolet Corvette. Thunderbird soon went in a different direction. As the Corvette evolved into a serious sports car, Ford designers added a rear seat and turned the Thunderbird into a comfortable cruiser. The style quickly caught on.

“That set the stage and then a lot of cars followed after that,” Rabold said. “So every manufacturer must have an entry to compete with that segment.”

Four-door cars are still more common, but two-door cars say something about you, says Scott Krugger, vice president of design for the Dodge Stellantis division.

“Over time, the two-door car became an individual statement, or a performance statement, or a niche statement, where the four-door was more of a practical need, a family need, and they diverged like that,” he said.

The roomy two-door model’s run lasted several decades but, by the 1990s, something had changed. Today, it’s rare to see a two-door car that isn’t a performance model like a Mustang or Corvette. Even the cheapest cars on the market, such as the Nissan Versa and Kia Rio, come with four doors. Tailgates, even on pickups, are just the default these days.

Why did they become extinct?
Several factors have conspired to propel two-door cars to their current niche status. First, the rise of SUVs has pushed many types of cars – like, personal vehicles that aren’t trucks, vans or SUVs – to the edge, no matter how many doors they have. Today, actual cars make up less than 20% of all new vehicles, according to data from Cox Automotive.

In addition, child safety regulations, no doubt, play a major role, Kirbitz said. By the 1980s, child safety seats were required across the United States, so the days of children climbing into the folding front seat to strap themselves – or not – into the back seat were over.

Today, if you have a two-door car and you have children, you also have back pain. You have to lean back awkwardly to strap the youngsters in and, before that, install the seat yourself.

While some two-door cars used to be bargains – the cheapest entry-level cars are almost always two-door hatchbacks – today two-door models are seen mostly in European luxury car showrooms.

BMW and Audi have two-door models available as hardtops and convertibles. Mercedes-Benz has just introduced the new CLE Coupe. It’s keeping the two-door not a sports car at American Mercedes dealerships because, practical issues aside, there’s still a market for it. Some customers still value style over practicality, says Gorden Wagener, head of design for Mercedes-Benz.

“A car is a representation of yourself and your taste,” he said. “And you bring it out more expressively with the coupé, don’t you?”

About Kepala Bergetar

Kepala Bergetar Kbergetar Live dfm2u Melayu Tonton dan Download Video Drama, Rindu Awak Separuh Nyawa, Pencuri Movie, Layan Drama Online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *