The Rules of Cool – Part 2: Doors

As a family man there is an obvious advantage to running a daily driver with 4/5 doors: you don’t get soaked extricating drowsy kids on a school run downpour; it’s easier to get out of tight parking spots; elderly relatives (especially those whose limboing days are long passed) can keep their dignity when alighting from the rear. But they just don’t look as cool, do they?

MotorPunks purely interested in aesthetics will always plump for the coupe rather than the sensible multi-doored option. In fact, most of the coolest (and hottest) variants of mainstream cars have only ever been offered in three-door trim (205 GTi, mk1 GTI, E30 M3, Sierra Cosworth … I could go on) presumably because their shells were that little bit stiffer. 5 doors are therefore always the luke warm option in the Rules of Cool.

It’s not just us who subscribe to this general rule. If you ever watch those American car restoration/customisation shows that litter your Sky box you’ll know our US cousins think the same thing – anything with 4/5 doors just doesn’t get their burger juices flowing.


So a three door GTI or M3 wins in the Rules of Cool; while a Sapphire Cossie, or even the brand new five-door MINI, will always be the dowdy, sensible also-ran, right?

Well, as usual, there are always a few exceptions:

• If the car was only ever offered as a four-door (Mitsubishi Evos, Mercedes 190E Cosworth or even the new Ford Focus ST) then that is exempt since you’ve not deliberately ticked the ‘compromise’ box.

• Estates. ‘Not cool by definition Dr. O!” I hear you bellow. Well what about a classic Citroen Safari or a Volvo T5 in BTCC trim. I actually think my chum’s fully restored 1980 Merc W123 in original ‘70s pale green is off the spectrum of cool … only dogs can hear how cool it is … or something like that.


• And my personal visa versa caveat to this general rule: the gawky Renault Avantime, the dreadful Suzuki X90 and possibly even early ‘70s Rolls Royce drophead coupes. These are cars that labour the quest for that coupe cachet and miss the mark, perhaps. The Rules of Cool are a not necessarily fast and hard.


Agree? Any other thoughts on the Rules of Cool? Add them below.


Photo credits: Lars Christian Evenrud, Rudolf Stricker – Wikimedia Commons & Volvo Media

About The Author

Darryl can usually be found up to his elbows in some unloved piece of BL detritus when he isn’t snapping and scribbling for various print magazines or producing the book on road tripping or tally-ho adventurers. As an occasional presenter on CBS's Carfection YouTube channel, his other hobbies include vintage Scalextrics, ‘60s Bang & Olufsen and dabbling in grassroots motorsport.

3 Responses

  1. Notso Swift

    All RWD Volvo’s are cool, regardless of the number of doors
    Something can only be so cool by being inherently uncool
    (And, no, I do not own one)

  2. Mitch

    I’ve always liked the Renault Avantime. Admittedly I’m in a minority…

    But two doors or four doors for coolness? Doesn’t matter much – I think the overall design of the car is more important.

  3. Steve

    The E36 looked better in 4 door than 2 IMHO (unlike the E30), and as the 2 door M3 was the default choice, I think the 4 door E36 M3 is cooler.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.