As many of you already know, half-assed ideas about vehicular packaging and cargo management are one of the primary things I produce, right after solid and liquid wastes. Happily, I’ve created new batches of all three today, and I’m sharing one with you! The idea one. Meet the Lidbed 3000, which entruculates your sedan!
The concept of on-demand entruculation — that is, the ability for a car to perform at least some of the tasks of a truck as needed, has been a holy grail for idiots like myself and the designers of some cars, like the Dodge Business Coupe or the Subaru Baja.
Recent advances in trunk hinging and latching technologies have made me realize that there’s a lot more we could be doing with conventional trunk lids than we’re currently doing. Look at hardtop convertibles like the VW Eos, with its trunk that hinges and opens/latches at the same point, changing depending on whether or not the trunk is being opened or the top is being raised/lowered. Skoda has also done some interesting things with their combination hatch/trunk lid on the TwinDoor system used on the Superb.
Clearly, some very black magic has been employed for these systems, and it’s basically irresponsible of us not to look to find other uses of it. Which I have, and the result is this, the Lidbed 3000, named as a portmantau of trunklid and truck bed, with the ‘3000’ tacked on so everyone knows this is some futuristic shit.
Here’s the basic idea: the Lidbed system works with any sedan or coupe with a conventional trunk and lid. It can perform essentially just like a conventional trunklid if desired, hinged under the rear window and raising up, likely with some power or pneumatic assist.
Alternately, the lid can be hinged at the base, and open from below the rear window, and fold out, flat, to form a long load bed. To support the bed, a pair of slide-out struts would pull from under the car. Actually, my quick GIF of that sort of blows, because, really, the struts should be higher and not require any kind of flip-out mounting hardware. I want to finish this soon, so just imagine that working a little better.
Also, the rear licence plate could be mounted between the support struts, so when the struts are deployed, the license plate (and associated light) would slide into a readable position under the bed.
The trunk itself would be lined with a tough, weather-resistant bedliner material, producing a decent-sized and quite usable cargo bed. Tie-downs could be built into the inside of the trunk lid to compensate for the lack of sides on the rear half of the bed, too.
This isn’t meant to be a total replacement for a truck, but for people who like sedans and/or coupés, (either for aesthetic reasons or because they have the ability to hide and protect cargo) but find themselves in frequent occasional need of a pickup truck’s flexibility, this sort of thing could be exactly what’s needed.
I think a car with this setup could be incredibly useful, possibly even more so than a hatchback or wagon. I can’t believe I’m even typing that, but there it is. Also, there’s sort of a historical precedent for this, on, of all cars, the original Mini.
The original Mini used a bottom-hinged trunk. The trunk was tiny, but the brilliant Alec Issigonis reasoned that, for as infrequently as people actually did need to carry more luggage, the lid could drop down like a tailgate and luggage could be stacked on it. I’m just proposing a development of this same basic idea.
As always, I’m curious to hear your opinions on this idea. Is it more idiocy, or is this one actually viable? I can’t even tell anymore.