Another Mystery Car

This is a small item that hinges (as it were) on perceived quality. I am sure many of DTW’s readers will identify the vehicle immediately.

I am not so sure many of them would have expected the exterior design to be hiding messy interior detailing as is shown in this screen shot. My own car has the same design of hinge by the way. That’s justifiable because it’s an affordable car built to a reasonable standard. This one costs rather more…

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

53 thoughts on “Another Mystery Car”

    1. My, how the Ghost looks a lot like a Rover 75 from that angle. I wonder what the boot hinge in a 75 is like?

    1. I really like the Wraith – it would be my choice of a stupidly expensive car.

    2. The Wraith it is. Time to hang my head in shame and eat some humble pie.

    1. Astonishing indeed – I’ve yet to see a Wraith and am still not entirely convinced that it doesn’t only exist in the virtual world…. I don’t really believe in Ghosts, either – though I think I might have seen a matching pair in use as wedding cars a year or so ago. I obviously don’t move in the right circles…..

  1. I too thought a Roller but at this hour couldn’t remember the name…

    One wonders if the designers merely said, “yeah, that’ll do. Only the driver/butler will look here” which then goes against most things RR stand for in attention to details

    Here’s the Volvo S90 version. Apologies for the poor photo as the weather is fowl

    1. Does anybody remember the discussion on the VW Phaeton’s boot hinges we had about a year ago? What a different attention to detail they showed.
      I find the plastic sill panel unforgivable for a car of this (pretended?) class when even cheap cars like Audis have stainless steel trim.

    2. Spot on. The exposed hinges are bad, but the plastic sill trim, if it is really as it looks, is shockingly poor. The only explanation I can think is pure arrogance from RR.

    1. Does any manufacturer still use the parallelogram hinges? My car has them and many other manufacturers used them too. I always look at them when I open or close the boot and I always like what I see.

    2. I don´t know which was the first car with parallelogram hinges in the boot, but I do remember when my uncle and me visited a Nissan dealer in 1990 to see the new Primera and I was rather intrigued by the boot lid aperture (intrigued as a 14 year old boy could be by a couple of hinges)

      I hadn´t ever seen them in other car. Nissan could do it in a cost effective way 32 years ago but nobody can nowadays? There should be another reason.

    3. It’s just that no one cares about hinges and what they could say about the product underneath them.
      They do care however if it comes with Android Auto or apple-whatever, and engineers and product planners react accordingly.

    4. First car I saw it one was an Audi 80 B3, but there were more manufacturers who used it. Car manufacturers are saving money in areas like these and no surprise given the challenges they face.

    5. The University of Dortmund’s faculty of mechanical engineering had a department dedicated to the design of such hinges. They worked for car manufacturers on a pay-per-contract base.
      Maybe they were too expensive.

  2. I can forgive the rudimentary boot hinges (and the cheap plastic sill protector) because Rolls-Royce cars are so handsome and elegantly styled. It’s hard to believe that they come ultimately from BMW. Here’s the Wraith in an appropriate colour:

    The only problem, and it seems to affect the Wraith in particular, is the vulgar tastes of many owners and, consequently, the hideous colour schemes inflicted on many of the cars, not to mention Mansory’s equally hideous garnishes.

    The only significant design misstep for BMW-era Rolls Royce was the awkward A-pillar treatment on the Phantom Coupé:

    It’s usually not so apparent on dark coloured examples, but the awkward front quarter window and, in particular that joint across the roof behind the windscreen top rail, is really rather nasty.

    One final tnought: Rolls-Royce seems to suffer, at least in a minor way, from the ‘Fiat Charter’as we have coined it on DTW in that the cars are never improved after a facelift. Moreover, the second generation Phantom and Ghost aren’t quite as beautifully resolved as the first.

    1. Maybe the Phantom Coupé’s a post was meant to look like this

    2. Daniel, in my dream world I would own a Ghost (among other cars) and a darker shade of red than that, but if forced I’d accept it in the red shown.

      That Phantom coupé though, what were they thinking of? Being in central London most weeks I’ve seen a fair few Wraiths, Dawns etc but I’ve been lucky enough to have escaped the coupé.

    3. I think the somewhat unusual design of the A-pillar on the Coupe (as well as on the Drophead) is probably intended to allude to a yacht.

      The boot hinge is not worthy of a vehicle in this price range. Cost savings truly cannot be the reason. As a customer, I would feel a bit cheated.

    4. And what quintessentially British town would be the backdrop for the indeed rather nice Wraith? 🙂

      Maybe even BMW is returning from the Path of Most Aggression, judging by their newest “Vision”:

      …if you disregard the color changing paint and windows…

      …it looks quite nice, actually.

      (images: BMW via Dutch Autoweek and The Verge)

    5. I desperately hope that concept is a sign of things to come from Munich, even if there’s more than a hint of the 2012 Opel Ampera about it:

      As to the “quintessentially British” town, my guess would be somewhere in Bavaria…

    6. In the DLO and the black bit beneath it, yes. I do think the Beemer is better proportioned, though. I suppose the colours (also) refer to BMW’s many art cars.

      There are far worse cars to be reminded of than the Kadett C and Ascona B, both very accomplished designs. I don’t really see the E36: the proportions don’t necessarily cry ‘BMW’ to me; rather, they seem to evoke ‘generic sixties or seventies’ sports sedan’, which also isn’t a bad thing to my eyes:

      Nissan did a similar thing a decade ago:

      (image: Nissan via Conceptcarz)

      Mind you, I’m not suggesting the BMW is in the same league.

    7. There’s even a little of another Nissan in there: the Bevel concept:

      (image: Conceptcarz)

  3. Like Daniel, I’m almost afraid to hope the Vision Dee might represent a turning point for BMW. It’s probably meant to evoke a race-prepped 2002. Oddly, though, it reminds me even more of the Opel Kadett C four door, and the early Maserati Biturbo:

    I think I must be going ga-ga under the influence of man-flu, because side by side comparison reveals very few points of resemblance really. Nevertheless, that’s the effect as it appeared to me, your Honour…

    1. Michael, I got a similar impression from that BMW: (Ascona B)

    2. It seems there is hope yet for BMW that it will come to its stylistic senses; I really, really hope this is a preview of a new and much preferable styling direction.
      As for visual likeness, like Daniel I thought of the Ampera’s DLO surround too, and agree with David Walker on the E36 reference. From my side I would add that the overall stance and looks with its short, pert rear also reminds me of the lovely Alfa 156 as well which can not be a bad thing…..

    3. My initial thought after seeing the i Vision Dee was Biturbo and 156 after that. I like it a lot.

      The interior is very different from what we see nowadays. No screens, but a full width HUD, which, if we have to believe BMW, will make it into series production. Still no physical buttons, but touch sensitive areas on the steering wheel. That steering wheel is rather interesting as it has vertical spokes. Apparently that is more ergonomic and there are no instruments behind the wheel anymore.

      The door cards are weird. Not so much because of the absence of door handles, but there are no armrests.

    4. I hadn’t made the 156 connection, but now that you mention it, I can see it. I did think ‘imagine if Alfa had come out with this car and said “that’s our new Giulia”‘. That would have brought the house down.

      That the Dee can conjure up so many different – and rather nice – cars in our minds speaks for its design, but not particularly for its ‘BMW-ness’ I fear.

  4. Very nice to see the i Vision Dee (Tom’s post, above). I think it’s a really nice piece of design. Amazing. Here’s a pretty good video from Carwow which explains more about it (and avoids the BMW ‘reveal’ video at CES, which takes uncomfortable viewing to new levels).

    On the subject of hinges and openings, cars used to have simple, sprung props to hold things like bonnets open. What happened to those?

    1. You mean flat steel arms with a spiral spring like at the R16’s boot lid?
      These take up too much space, are a pain to handle on the production line and the spring can snap. Gas struts can be bought in for very little money and are much more compact and easier to handle on the production line.

  5. I recall cheap and simple solution to supporting a boot lid I came across on a Citroën C-Elysée hire car in Tenerife three years ago. It had the usual goose neck hinges but they were connected to a pair of steel rods anchored to the body that acted as torsion bars, which slowed the descent of the lid. Cleverly, the lid stayed in the open position simply by moving up and forward beyond its centre of gravity, so that it instead fell forward towards the rear screen. Here are a couple of photos of the boot lid in operation:


    And here’s the review of the car I wrote at the time:

    “I Dreamed I Moved Among The Elysian Fields”

    1. The 4 door R400/45/ZS had exactly this design of spring. You could even increase the tension by wedging a block of wood under one end…

    2. Hi SourDiesel. Well, that’s a surprise. The C-Elysée is very much a budget offering, but I’d have expected better from Rover, given their premium aspirations.

  6. I imagine there are two reasons –

    1. Most of the hinge is carried over from a 7 series

    2. It is easier to ‘hide’ the hinge mechanism under the trim using the design they have chosen. As engineers we may admire the effort going to save space and give a wider opening by developing the parallelogram hinge but I imagine a lot of RR customers would deem it messy especially as the car ages and dirt gets ingrained.

    1. Number 2 would raise the question why an expensive car like a 7 has such a cheap hinge.

    2. If it’s not the cost, then maybe “safety reasons”?
      (This sentence may contain slight traces of sarcasm).

    3. Well, I do remember hearing years ago that in a crash and resulting fire, the heat could cause the gas struts to act as harpoons, which could be fairly lethal to any fire crews.
      To be honest I’m surprised at the enthusiasm for gas struts, given they’re heavier and more expensive than a simple strut for the bonnet or a hinge in the boot.

    4. The first gas strut was designed and made by Stabilus in 1962 but don’t ask me in what car it was used. Stabilus is still by far the largest gas strut manufacturer and car makers buy struts for low single digit Euro prices per piece.
      After the strut is crimped shut during manufacturing it is not possible for the piston rod to escape it. Otherwise it would not be possible to pressurise them.

      I prefer gas struts since the moment when a wind gut lifted our Punto’s bonnet off its prop and rammed the safety latch in my scalp…

  7. The first car I saw that used gas springs for the boot lid was the Renault 19 4-door saloon, called “Chamade” in some European markets.

    Regarding the Rolls lid hinges, I think they’re needed for the automatic open/close boot lid system.

    The boot sill trim in black plastic is really not worthy of a Rolls.

    1. Not strictly necessary for an automatic system, evidenced by the many liftbacks that have actuators integrated with their gas struts.

      Here’s another contemporary parallelogram design:

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