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(1) 2 »

Two door vs. Four door
#1
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humanpotatohybrid
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I had a thought the other day and even though it's not Packard-specific it does concern the era so I figured I'd post here and see if anyone has an opinion on it.

To state what is commonly known, starting in the 40's and continuing through the 70's or so you were often able to buy the exact same size of car, except that one was a two door and the other a four door. For example in '55, the Clipper Super, Clipper Custom, and Patrician/400 all came in 4door/2door pairs that aside from that difference were essentially identical, aside from unnecessary differences in interior options, with the Clipper Deluxe and Caribbean being the only two out of the eight without a "door" option.

I'm certainly not against any body style or anything, but to me, 2-door cars have the minor disadvantages of: harder to get in and out of the back seat, and the front seatbacks push you forward during hard braking, compared to a 4-door. The only advantage I see is that the B-pillar delete adds a bit to the styling, especially with the windows down. I discussed this with a middle-aged mechanic friend of mine and he didn't have a whole lot to explain the prevalence.

Anyone have an idea why mid/full sized 4-door sedans having 2-door versions was popular for so many years? I know this is a very open-ended question, I'm just interested to hear anyone's thoughts on it.

Posted on: 6/12 17:54
Owner of '55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#2
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Owen_Dyneto
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From a prewar junior car perspective, two door cars and especially coupes and broughams (a/k/a coupe-sedans) had a strong popularity with families of modest financial means and with young children for two reasons: (a) difficult for rear seat passengers to accidently leave the vehicle, and (b) the lowest cost body styles available. Of course these advantages were minimized when coupe and coupe-sedans morphed into 2-door hardtops. By then the appeal became the sporty nature of the style.

Posted on: 6/12 18:18
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#3
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HH56
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In a lot of circles then and maybe still, the two door HTs were considered more "sporty" while four doors were more considered a boring family car. On the HT, as long as the windows were down leaving the wide open sides, in the "sporty" aspect they were almost as desirable as a convertible which was considered the ultimate sport model in most mfgs lines but also more expensive and out of reach for many. Packard did make a two door B pillared model in the early 50s but I think that model was mostly for economy minded people.

Packard even went to some effort to perpetuate the sporty aspect in 55-6. In 55 only the Caribbean had a different and slightly modified transmission which had a bit better performance but in 56 all the hardtops got a different torque converter which had a higher stall speed so those models would feel a bit peppier than the sedans.

Posted on: 6/12 18:29
Howard
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#4
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PackardDon
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I think that a more important question is sedan vs hardtop regardless of number of doors and the hardtop would probably fetch a higher price over a 2-door or 4-door sedan. Of course, Packard did not offer a 4-door hardtop as other makes did but comparing a 4-door sedan with a 2-door hardtop is comparing apples and oranges as they were build with two different target audiences in mind.

Having said that, it might be slightly more difficult to get into the back of a 2-door car whether sedan or hardtop but, of course, the doors are also wider and the seat-backs tilt forward so not all that difficult to do on the older cars.

As for convertibles, for me and given a choice, I would take a two-door hardtop over a convertible any day but I am also one who likes sedans. On my '60s era cars, one is a 4-door hardtop and the other is a 4-door pillared hardtop and I like both.

Posted on: 6/12 19:21
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#5
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acolds
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One advantage of two doors are the doors are longer giving more room to get in seat with out hitting the b post. Even more important to tall people who want seat all the way back. 2dr not hardtops usually are quieter due to less moving parts like back two doors.

Posted on: 6/12 19:41
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#6
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Wat_Tyler
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Post-war first generation Clipper coupes blow my skirt up. Never was a sedan fan, but I seem to own a few.

Posted on: 6/12 20:20
If you're not having fun, maybe it's your own damned fault.
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#7
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Duane Gunn
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My wife makes me buy 4 door cars. I asked why and she said, "For the grandkids." I didn't argue.

Posted on: 6/12 22:00
1955 Clipper Custom
1940 160 Touring Sedan
1953 Patrician
1948 Super 8 Limo
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#8
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packardsix1939
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It all comes down to styling. In the 1950's and 60's, styling was one of the top considerations for auto buyers in making a purchase decision. I recall reading an auto marketing survey taken at some point in the 1950's which listed styling as the second most important consideration for consumers with previous experience with the brand being the top consideration. Face it, a two-door hardtop or a convertible is just more desirable than a four door. We still see this today in the collector car hobby. Hardtops and convertibles get eagerly snapped up while four doors in the same model largely get ignored, even if they are in top condition.

Today, people's attitudes towards automotive styling have changed considerably. It is just no longer something that has any significant importance. The vast majority of buyers see a car as a functional appliance, nothing more. So, two door cars and convertibles are virtually extinct in the marketplace and all brands look very similar to one another. I work for a used car auction as a driver I often can't even tell what make or model I am behind the wheel of unless I look at the logo on the steering wheel or glance at the information on the key tag.

The recent SUV craze has accelerated the trend towards bland and boring automotive styling. Actual cars are rapidly disappearing and are being replaced by homely boxes on wheels whose main attraction is the ability to haul around a lot of stuff. It is indeed a sad time if you care about and appreciate good styling in an automobile. And I don't see this ever changing, even with the emergence of electric vehicles. Most of them look just like contemporary gasoline powered automobiles, the basic exterior design of which has not changed in about 25 years. Tesla's designs are at now least 10 years old, yet they continue to enjoy increased sales every year. When I first saw pictures of the new highly touted Lucid electric car, I thought that it bore an uncanny resemblance to my late mom's 1998 Olds Intrigue. As the era when styling mattered retreats further and further in the past, I believe that far fewer people will be interested in cars as a collector's item, something that does not bode well for the future of our hobby.

Posted on: 6/13 12:38
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#9
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point
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as far as the SUV,s there just short, very short station wagons ,most the quarter panels isnt 2 ft long, i tell alot there driving a sawed off station wagon, and it upsets a few, if u look close at one ,u are not getting much for the money,

Posted on: 6/14 0:24
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Re: Two door vs. Four door
#10
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Jim in Boone
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Thought for the day:

Is it that we really don't care about styling or is there simply no choice available? I can choose a sedan, SUV, van, or truck, outside of that difference most brands are pretty much the same style.

Why SUV's, well if you are old, tall, or larger it is bigger inside than the sedan.

Our family "car" is a 4-door pickup. I may not need a pickup that often, yet it is the closest thing to the cars of old, I'm not packed in like a sardine. It just doesn't fit well at the doctor's office which is our frequent destination these days.

Daughter has one of those nice "little" sedans. Easier for the wife to enter, but I have to plan the attack to get my head in the door and lean the seat back to fit.

Posted on: 6/14 5:25
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