Changing a flat tire is one of those activities that you can almost always assume you’d rather not be doing. When you are doing it, it’s not unlikely that you’re doing it in non-ideal circumstances, on the side of a road or late at night or in crappy weather – you know the drill. That’s why I have so little patience for tire-changing-related bullshit, some of which I’ve mentioned before. When it comes to spare tires and changing tires, I think it’s up to the carmaker to do all they can to make the process as painless as possible. You know who seems to be pretty good at this? The French!
I say this because there’s at least a few examples of popular French cars that address a significant issue with changing tires: how to get access to the spare tire without having to unpack all the luggage and stuff in your trunk. Flats can definitely happen when you’re on a road trip, trunk all packed up with stuff, so when you have to change the tire, possibly in dark, shitty weather, you also have to unpack all your crap. It’s not great.
But the French offered solutions like that Peugeot 404 up there, which dropped the spare down under the rear bumper, or this Renault Dauphine, which could stick out its spare tire like a tongue:
The Peugeot 304 also had a similar under-car drop spare tire:
What I can’t figure out is why this was almost unheard of in American cars? Traditionally, American cars have valued comfort and convenience, often at the expense of pretty much everything else, so why couldn’t we ever be bothered to have a solution like one of these?
Am I forgetting a car that did this? I suppose the closest American cars have come to this spare-outside-the-trunk phenomenon are in pickup trucks, which often sling the tire under the bed, or in the often-absurd “Continental”-style spare tire kits, many of which ended up being like a back deck you could add onto your car:
That’s just ridiculous. You could stick a couple of lawn chairs on that thing. And, I think it makes luggage access even worse! Why did people do this?