I’m not really sure if there’s a word like “fashion trend” for practical objects, something that describes the strange phenomenon of why various objects in our lives and society seem to ebb and flow in and out of use, but it does seem to be A Thing. I thought of this while rummaging through the vintage accessories brochures on The Samba, where I encountered this humble, workmanlike brochure for a pull-out table rig for a variety of trucks, vans, and station wagons. It’s cool!
From what I can gather, the thing is called the Ausziehboden “AZB,” and auziehboden translates from German as “pull-out floor,” because of course Germans have one word for “pull-out floor.”
The other side of the sheet gives the product its tagline, “ein Problem weniger,” which means “one problem fewer,” which is a remarkably exasperated tagline for a product, implying, as it does, that your life is full of furshlugginer problems, but at least we can help with one of them, the problem of not having a pull-out floor/table thing.
It looks useful as hell, really! It hardly takes up any cargo room, since it’s all folded up on the cargo area floor, and I imagine it has some runners or something to make it pull out easily, and a drop-down leg setup for the end out of the car. It looks like it only eats up like two to three inches of height in there.
I love how many vehicles they show it on: Volvo and I think Opel wagons, Volkswagen Type 4 wagons and VW buses and trucks—I especially like the perpendicular one that comes out of the VW pickup’s under-bed storage locker.
There’s full-sized vans and normal-sized cars, and some are just simple tables and some have drawers or full rack systems. Why isn’t something like this an option on every SUV you can buy today?
I remember early Honda CR-Vs used to come with little tables under the rear cargo floor:
...and, yeah, that’s pretty cool, but a slide-out setup like this would have been even cooler, I think.
One of you big automaker CEOs reading this on your yacht or in your panic room should take a moment and consider offering these in all your crossovers and SUVs. You know, after it’s safe to build cars again.