Time was that only the jet set could afford a car with space-age gullwing doors, but now door-lead design statements can be had for as little as £1000. Here are some of the best
1 - Delorean DMC-12 (1981-1982)
The sorry tale of the DeLorean DMC-12 is one of the best known in the modern motor industry. None of the complex politics, drugs, cash or Hollywood glitz should hide the fact that the car was as much a dynamic disappointment as it was a commercial one.
The technology was eye-catching, though. The brushed stainless steel exterior skin remains a style statement today, but what really made it stand out from the crowd was gullwing doors.
The Renault-derived engine was not butch enough to haul this stylish 1980s car around with any real urge, which was lucky, because the rear-engined configuration gave it tricky handling. It was built over such a short period that there was no time to develop the car or improve its build quality issues, either.
But popular culture has been kind to it and prices are strong; £18,000 may put you behind the wheel and £30,000 gets you the best.
2 - BMW Z1 (1986-1991)
The original BMW Z roadster is thought to have taken its name from its rear suspension: the first iteration of the firm’s multi-link rear ‘Z’ axle. However, the Z1’s doors are one of its most striking features, dropping down inside the sills.
The rest of the body is similarly space age, being a glassfibre shell based around a steel and carbonfibre monocoque. Beyond that, it used the engine and gearbox from the 325i. No bad thing, but it makes the 171bhp Z1 quick rather than devastatingly fast.
With just 8000 Z1s built, choice is limited and prices high. The starting price for one worth having is £20,000.
3 - Peugeot 1007 (2004-2009)
Adding sliding doors to a compact city car looked like the ideal way to conquer the difficulty of getting in and out of a two-door car in a compact urban parking space.
Sadly, the 1007 was a one-trick pony. Peugeot knows a thing or two about making great small cars, but the heavy, lethargic 1007 was a betrayal of its small car heritage.
At least the premium pricing when new is no longer an issue, because £1000 will net you a good one. Go for a strong colour and quirky interior and keep your fingers crossed that they develop a cult following. You might be lucky.
4 - Bond Bug (1970-1974)
Rear-wheel drive does not necessarily make something a driver’s car but, equally, numbers often don’t completely tell the story about performance. And so it is with the Bond Bug. It takes 23 seconds to reach 60mph from rest and is maxed out at 75mph, but you never want more.
The fabric doors and lifting canopy ensure that it feels faster, as does the inherently nervy stability that comes with a tricycle set-up with a single front wheel. They only come in orange and only basket cases are cheap. Although £4k will get you a runner, you should budget twice that for the best.
5 - Toyota Sera (1990-1996)
Although the Toyota Sera was never officially sold in the UK, plenty made the journey over here. Its doors are dihedral, not gullwing, and the solution was elegant enough to catch the eye of McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray, who incorporated them into his supercar.
Earliest examples are now 25 years old, but the Sera still has a futuristic air about it, helped by a ‘glass canopy’ look that makes it look like something from the Jetsons. Roadworthy examples are now available from around £2000, and they’ll never be worth less.