If some filthy hooligan crawled out from a manhole and seized you as you were returning from your daily donut store run, pinning you to the ground and sending your donuts bouncing and rolling away like a dozen lost spare tires, and then demanded, at shiv-point, that you tell him something a Ferrari 500 Superfast has in common with most Tokyo Cabs, do you know what you’d say? Do you? DO YOU?
If you try to give him some weaselly answer like “f-f-f-four wheels?” or “an engine? Sir?” it’s just going to piss him off more, causing him to sink about 1/8" of shiv into your neck as he hisses “I mean some unusual shared feature! Something unexpected, you worm!” so don’t even try that.
Luckily, I’m here to save your sorry ass, because I happen to know about a strange and frightfully useful feature that very few cars share, but among that very limited set of cars are Ferrari 500 Superfasts and Tokyo Cabs.
I can’t imagine a pair of cars with less in common than a classic ’60s Ferrari and a taxi-spec Nissan Cedric, but here we are. You want to know what that one strange, common feature is? Of course you do. Here it is:
Remotely (and mechanically) opening passenger doors.
Yes, yes, you read that correctly, stay calm! Remote opening doors! On both an incredible V12, exquisite-looking, Pininfarina-designed, most-exclusive Ferrari, and also on a boxy, staid, humble Japanese workhorse.
On a Tokyo cab like the Nissan Cedric I mentioned, the curb-side rear door was opened by pulling a knob that looks like this:
...which actuates a hydraulic mechanism to open the rear door, a thrilling process you can witness for yourself here:
It’s cool, no question! The system in the video uses a different sort of setup, with what looks like a cable-operated lever system, and can close the door as well.
Now, on the Ferrari, there’s a little lever under the dash, to the left of the steering wheel on a right-hand-drive car (opposite for LHD):
Pulling that lever would unlatch and kick open the passenger door a bit, saving the Ferrari driver from the miserable indignity of having to lean clumsily over that high center tunnel and flail at the door opening lever like some sort of filthy animal.
We’ve all had to perform that act in cars before, and, let’s be honest, it’s not great. If you have the money to lay down for a Ferrari 500 Superfast, it seems like this absolutely should be a feature of the car.
That’s why they almost named the car the Ferrari 500 Superconvenient, but a last-minute decision pushed them back to emphasizing the speed, though, to be honest, I think both are pretty compelling reasons to desire the car.
From what I can tell, the remote passenger door opening lever was an option that could be ordered on its own, or part of a di Lusso specification.
While I know there’s plenty of modern minivans with remote-actuated power sliding doors, and the Tesla Model X has remote-opening Falcon doors, I can’t really think of any other passenger cars that have mechanically-actuated remote-opening normal, hinged passenger (not cargo or hatchback or trunk) doors, other than this Ferrari and the Tokyo Taxis like the Cedric.
Are there any others? Or is this just an amazing glorious category of car with two wildly divergent members?
If anyone can think of others, please let me know here, and that way I can petition car museums to have a whole exhibit of these remote-door cars, which would be fantastic.
(Thanks, Chris, for keeping my weird feature fetish going right now)