The front-opening car made by BMW during the reconstruction era WAS the Isetta:
I remember seeing them in the US in my childhood.
From what I have read, the driver was extremely vulnerable to head-on collisions. Most fatalities occured because the driver bled to death before he could be extricated from the car (This was before the jaws of lilfe).
Hey Rocky! Lots of really good banter on both sides of the Safety/Crash-worth discussion. But to a completely different issue, that of getting into and out of tight parking spaces, this car not only FOLDS, but all 4 wheels turn sharply, as it literally spins out of the parking space. Very unique, and impressive.
For a fun look at 60 year old technology that did something similar – check out this Cadillac video --- Just for fun.
I will say one thing-- This is thinking outside the box. I generally hate that phrase but I certainly feel it applies here. No way would I take this car on the Interstate. I do believe it might be OK for around town, provided defensive driving was practiced. Can anyone tell me if it has air bags? I suspect seat belts yes--air bags no????? I would imagine great difficulty in trying to get this vehicle approved for sale in the US.
This car looks cool, and would be fun to drive I think. However, as currently configured, I think it is too slow for even urban use in the US. According to the specifications listed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiriko#Specifications) in the Hiriko page of Wikipedia, it's limited to a top speed of 31 mph (50 kph). In the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex there are many streets within the urban commute that have 35 or 40 mph speed limits and traffic travels at least that fast except during rush hour (or when a police vehicle is pacing the "pack" - yeah, you know what I mean). I honestly don't know where one could practically use this car in the US.
I did notice the only other vehicles in this video are bicycles. That is the only thing I would share a road with in one of these things. It is a toy, pure and simple and to those people who think safety is no issue, check with your insurance carrier. This thing looks like a cute little coffin on wheels and I would not be caught dead in one, for fear that I would become dead in one.
To those who compared this to a motorcycle I could not disagree more. When I rode I always felt one of the things that helped keep me safe was the ability to see 360 degrees and the natural alertness that come with being exposed. I also had the ability to accelerate instantly if the need arose. I see none of those features in this vehicle.
Lastly, I wonder what would occur if this thing got pinned between two vehicles in a collision. Is safety my only concern? Of course not, but it has to be a deal breaker for all but the careless single rich guy without responsibility.
As an industry, we now need to up our game and provide contractors with easier ways to properly identify and report counterfeit products and build collaboration between manufacturers, design engineers, industry organizations, and government.
The shift to aluminum is gaining momentum and the demand from automakers for aluminum is soaring, "expecting to reach one billion pounds this year, up from 200 million in 2012, and to grow by more than 30% annually through 2020."
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