What Do You Do When You Have A Low Car And A Very Steep Driveway?

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The cars: we love them! But the world itself often does not, and not all of it is made to accomodate their car-needs. This is a shame and a tragedy, especially if you have a car that’s low to the ground (and not just grounded to the ground, okay?) and a very steep driveway. What do you do in this situation?

I’ve never had to live with an especially steep driveway. My parents’ houses and the various ones I’ve lived in have always had reasonable grades. But I’ve taken some low cars up a few very steep driveways—I think most of us have—and it’s always an exercise in extreme caution. And when I think of this, I’m reminded of learning to drive stick on my father’s C5 Corvette Z06 when I was a teenager, and living in fear of speed bumps for lack of experience. Low cars can be perilous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Just ask the stance crowd.


Anyway, I ask because of a question sent to us by Jalopnik contributor and Tempest podcast host David Obuchowski. He’s seeking advice for a friend, and I thought I would put his problem before the Jalopnik hive mind for solutions:

Hey, nerds. I have a car question. A super goddamn specific car question. Been talking to someone who would very much like to purchase a Porsche/Porsche-UH Cayman. He lives in west Hollywood, and his driveway is very short and very steep. Actually, what happens is that it’s a super steep grade/lip up to the sidewalk (which is flat or slightly canted in the opposite direction), and then another steep lip from the sidewalk to his driveway, which then leads to his garage.

In other words: pull in, the car scrapes the nose/right under the nose. Backout, the rear scrapes/hits.

So, aside from a lift kit, what are the options. Because of where they live, they cannot put down anything that goes over the sidewalk and leave it there. What they really want is some sort of bridge/ramp type the thing that can live on their driveway but maybe like fold down over the sidewalk and on to the street to make it more gradual.

What do people who can afford really fucking nice cars but who have bad driveways do in this situation?


Here, from David, is an incredibly detailed diagram:


So as you can see, it’s a tall order for a sports car. And I’m wondering how he should handle it.

David O.’s friend should know that many newer Porsche models, including the current 911, have a front axle lift option that electronically raises the front of the car for exactly these situations. If he wants a Cayman, there’s an aftermarket kit that does much the same thing. And I’ve driven quite a few new cars—Mercedes-Benzes in particular come to mind—that raise the ride height electronically on command. So some automakers do consider this a possibility.


But maybe there’s something here we haven’t thought of yet. Maybe you’ve been in this exact situation yourself. If so, let us know how you handled it beyond just driving slowly and carefully, and getting to know your paint guy on a first-name basis.