The automotive gimmick machine has moved to pickup tailgates. But there is a better idea 

In the 1970s, GM had a great idea that’s been largely forgotten.


Before there were SUVs, there were station wagons, and millions of families loved the fake wood panelling, roof rack, but importantly, a comfortable ride with plenty of hauling capacity.

In the age before the SUV, this was a hotly contested market for the Detroit Three. Ford claimed to own this segment, and a major selling feature was their innovative two-way tailgate, which flipped down like a pickup truck, or could open like a car door, courtesy of a very clever hinge and latch arrangement.

And how did General Motors respond? With a system so clever and useful, that the gimmick laden tailgates of today’s SUV’s and light trucks don’t even come close. 

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Written by

James Anderton

Jim Anderton is the Director of Content for Mr. Anderton was formerly editor of Canadian Metalworking Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of print and on-line publications, including Design Engineering, Canadian Plastics, Service Station and Garage Management, Autovision, and the National Post. He also brings prior industry experience in quality and part design for a Tier One automotive supplier.