December 11, 2023
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Why Did Cars Have ‘Suicide Doors’ and Do They Still Exist?

The term ‘suicide doors’ might evoke a sense of mystery or intrigue for those unfamiliar with automotive history. These unique doors, which open in an unconventional way, were once a common feature in cars of the past. In this blog, we will explore the fascinating history of suicide doors, why they were used, and whether they still exist in today’s automotive landscape.

Why Were They Called ‘Suicide Doors’? The term ‘suicide doors’ originated due to safety concerns. These doors hinged at the rear, opening opposite to the direction of travel. This design posed a potential safety hazard because, if not securely latched, the doors could fly open while the car was in motion, leading to accidents. Such incidents led to the grim nickname ‘suicide doors.’

Why Were They Used? Suicide doors were initially popular in the early-to-mid 20th century. They offered several advantages, including easier entry and exit for passengers, especially in larger, luxury cars. The design allowed for a wider opening, making it more convenient to step in and out of the rear seats.

The Decline of Suicide Doors: Several factors contributed to the decline of suicide doors:

  1. Safety Concerns: As mentioned earlier, the safety issues associated with these doors became a significant concern, leading to their decline in the automotive industry.
  2. Regulations: Stricter safety regulations and standards pushed automakers to adopt safer door designs, such as front-hinged doors.
  3. Changing Aesthetics: Design preferences shifted towards more streamlined and aerodynamic looks, which often favored front-hinged doors.

Do They Still Exist? While suicide doors are a rarity in modern car design, they haven’t entirely disappeared. A few luxury car manufacturers have reintroduced them in recent years, often as a stylistic choice to make their models stand out. These modern suicide doors come with advanced safety features to mitigate the risks associated with the traditional design.

Conclusion: Suicide doors, with their unconventional hinging, have a rich history in the automotive world. While they were once a popular feature in luxury cars, safety concerns and changing design aesthetics led to their decline. However, some manufacturers have resurrected them in select models, blending classic design with modern safety measures. Whether they’re seen as a nostalgic throwback or a bold design statement, suicide doors remain an intriguing part of automotive history.


Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright


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