The Dodge Deora is a legend that’s lived two very different lives since its creation in the late 1960s. Its first incarnation was an eye-popping concept car that wowed crowds on the auto show circuit. Its second form brought it even more renown: In 1968, it became one of Mattel’s very first Hot Wheels models. Could the Deora be ready for a new transformation? A Danish engineer and designer came up with a design that is an attempt to answer that question. Meet the Deora 2022.
Let’s start with a quick look at the surprising history of the original Dodge Deora. For one, it didn’t originate within Chrysler, it was instead a private project built by the famed Alexander Bros. custom shop in Detroit, Michigan, and then leased to Chrysler before it hit the show circuit. While it’s nominally a Dodge, the Deora incorporated a lot of Ford parts—which Chrysler didn’t seem to mind. As its designer told us some years back, those parts included a 1960 Ford tailgate, a 1960 Ford sedan rear window, 1964.5 Mustang taillight bezels to house the exhaust side vents, and Thunderbird sequential turn signals.
Chrysler leased the car for two years before it was sold to an enthusiast, and put into storage after that owner’s death. A restoration of the truck started in 1998, and it was the star of the 2002 Detroit Autorama—the 50th anniversary of that show—where it sat at the center of a special display of other Alexander Bros. concepts.
Since its debut, the Deora’s legend has only grown. The year 2022 marks the 55th anniversary of the original Deora’s debut, so Zenvo Automotive designer and engineer Frederik Steve Kristensen came up with this remaining that has captured our eye. It incorporates many of the original’s memorable features, like the door on the front of the vehicle that opens skyward to allow entrance into the futuristic cabin. Kristensen’s concept is theoretically autonomous, so the major controls are all designed to fold flat into the floor—a fantasy design element for a fantasy beach cruiser. The driver and passenger also sit in retro-futuristic saucer chairs, and the interior itself is lined with wood.
At its rear, the Deora houses space for a couple of surfboards, just like on the Hot Wheels model. At the front, there’s the expected extreme cab-forward element, but also LED strip headlights and deep indents inboard of the sharply creased fenders, adding a modern veneer to a classic shape. We think the Deora 2022 succeeds at invoking the original without being slavishly devoted to it. What do you think?
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