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  • "suicide" doors

    They were so popular for many years then rear doors started to be front-hinged. Anyone know why?
    peter lee

  • #2
    Well...there's a tiny hint in the first word of this thread title.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

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    • #3
      The 34 Ford had front doors hinge at the rear, imagine what would happen if one opened at speed!

      Comment


      • #4
        Actually, the original use of the term, "suicide doors" applied to 2 door coupes and convertibles with rear hinged doors. Over the years, folks have applied the term to any rear hinged doors as well.
        Rog
        '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
        Smithtown,NY
        Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club

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        • #5
          So, is there any record of anyone being injured or killed due to a rear-hinged door coming open while the vehicle was in motion?
          Ed Sallia
          Dundee, OR

          Sol Lucet Omnibus

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          • #6
            Allegedly, gangsters liked suicide doors for pushing bodies out of cars. At least that's how they did it in the movies.
            Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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            • #7
              Standardization to front hinged doors was done for conformity. Companies stopped daring to be different.
              American iron, real old school
              With two tone paint, it sure is cool

              Its got 8 cylinders and uses them all
              With an overdrive that just won't stall

              With a 4 barrel carb and dual exhausts
              With 4.23 gears it can really get lost

              Its got safety belts and I ain't scared
              The brakes are good and the tires are fair.

              Tried to sell her, but got no taker
              I"ll just keep driving my Studebaker

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Commander Eddie View Post
                So, is there any record of anyone being injured or killed due to a rear-hinged door coming open while the vehicle was in motion?
                No "Record," but a 1930 era story. It's about my grandfather, who died in 1951. So, since it was much later when I first heard this story, I never got a chance to ask him about it. The story goes that grandpa had bought himself some kind of 1930's car with front opening doors. He was traveling down one of the many dirt roads near the flatlands of the South Carolina coast. Suddenly needing to "spit," he intended to crack open the door just enough. Instead, the wind caught the door, jerked him out, flinging him clear of the car! The bottom edge of the door dug into the dirt, spun the car around and wrecked into the ditch. Word was that grandpa was not seriously injured, but bruised up. Story went that he sold the damaged car that very day.
                John Clary
                Greer, SC

                SDC member since 1975

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                • #9
                  A friend of mine, while he was a child, fell out of the rear door of a relative's 1947 Studebaker while it was moving. He was very lucky not to be hit by the rear tire.

                  When our 4 children were travelling with us, I installed Studebaker's child-proof rear door locks on our 1947 Champion. Technically that's not original, as Studebaker did not introduce them until 1948. (A lot of people think the first child-proof rear door locks were on the 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit --- once again, Stude was ahead of its time.)
                  Bill Jarvis

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                  • #10
                    If you're a gangster & wanna throw someone out of the car I reckon 'tis quite a better idea to have front-hanged doors so the throwedout one don't get caught in the door... just my opinion...
                    sigpic

                    Josephine
                    -55
                    Champion V8
                    4d sedan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Noxnabaker View Post
                      If you're a gangster & wanna throw someone out of the car I reckon 'tis quite a better idea to have front-hanged doors so the throwedout one don't get caught in the door... just my opinion...
                      after having suicide doors on the '40 Champion, i agree with "Noxnabaker". but it would give a gangster a steadier platform to pop some caps on a rival outside the car on a drive-by.
                      Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

                      '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

                      '40 Champion. sold 10/11. '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.

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                      • #12
                        Why does a '34 Ford get mentioned on a Studebaker forum as having front-opening front doors while '34 and '35 Studebakers (all body styles) which also have front-opening front doors are not mentioned?

                        '35 is the last year for Studebaker to utilize this style and is one of the reasons I targeted a '35 Commander as my latest Studebaker buy. The other two reasons are that I really like the '35 grille and '35 is the first year for hydraulic brakes.

                        I've had a couple of other front-opening front door cars (Cords) and I can testify that, while they look really cool, if they have rigid front seat frames, they are not all that comfortable to get into or out of for someone my size

                        Tom

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                        • #13
                          Story I heard was a cousin of mine (now age 68), as a tyke, opened the rear "suicide" door of the '49-'51 era Lincoln the family had and went rolling out down the hi-way. Got some road rash from what I understand. I don't know if Lincoln had rear door safety locks like Studebaker had as an accessory but seems like it would have been a good thing for that style of door for sure. Of course, nowadays some pickups and vans have rear hinged doors but they are designed so they cannot open separately from the front door being opened first.

                          Edit...

                          I believe the early 60's Lincoln's again had rear hinged rear doors and also those late 60s Tbirds also. I've never had a chance to look at one of those so don't know if there is a interlock on the rear doors or not, preventing them opening when the car is moving.
                          sigpic
                          Jeff in ND

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                          • #14
                            In the mid-1950s, I was riding at speed in the back of a 1948 Dodge/Desoto when the door opened. It was a scary experience but I managed to stay within the car.

                            You can buy a brand new Rolls Royce with rear hinged doors.
                            Gary L.
                            Wappinger, NY

                            SDC member since 1968
                            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                            • #15
                              My childhood best friend's sister can testify a 1960s Lincoln suicide rear door will open while moving. Except for some road rash, she was uninjured. The door was never quite right afterwards.

                              Another friend's father said watching a woman in a skirt exit a car with rear hinged doors could be a rewarding experience.

                              JT

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