Mostly, we enter our vehicles in the same manner: we lift or squeeze a door handle, and hinges near the front tire allow the door to open. Then we climb into a driver’s seat and begin our journey.
But why open doors in an old-fashioned manner when you can just place those hinges anywhere you want? Gullwing doors, such as those found on the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL from the 1950s, have hinges located at the top of the door, causing it to lift upward and resemble the wings of a seagull. Scissor doors, such as those found on the Lamborghini, feature a hinge at the front, but instead of opening outward as is customary, the door slides upward and away from the driver’s path. This feature was created to allow the driver to see behind the Lamborghini Countach when reversing the vehicle. That’s how bad the back visibility was in that car, to put it mildly.
What are Modern Suicide Doors
Nevertheless, before World War II, it was fashionable in the United States to place the hinges of the rear doors towards the rear tires, so that the doors would open “backward” when opened. They had the advantage of making it easier for passengers to enter and depart the vehicle because they were rear-hinged. The origin of the moniker “suicide doors” is a mystery to this day. Of course, there are a plethora of hypotheses.
Doors that are hinged at the back, according to some, could be blown open at high speed if they are not completely fastened. If someone in the rear seat attempted to grab for the door handle to close it, they would be thrown out of the automobile and onto the road. This appears to be a doubtful claim; for starters, that appears to be more of an accident than suicide. Another argument is that gangsters would be more likely to shove enemies out of these doors, which is not truly a case of a person inflicting violence on themselves. Another hypothesis holds that someone getting out of the back seat on the street side of a car that is parked at the curb may be crushed by an oncoming vehicle striking the door. It isn’t a very convincing answer, to be honest.
Suicide doors were a popular design element on Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury automobiles during the 1950s and 1960s. The center-opening doors of the Lincoln Continental of the 1960s made it a popular choice among car enthusiasts. The Continental was available in a limited edition with suicide doors in 2019 and 2020, and it will be available again in 2019. It was Continental’s last performance, as the nameplate was scheduled to be removed in 2021.
Rolls-Royce is the only manufacturer that still uses rear-hinged doors. They are still used on the company’s four-door sedans. A chauffeur would open the rear door from the outside, allowing the rear passengers to escape more effortlessly and gracefully in these super-luxury automobiles, according to the concept. Even if this doesn’t entirely explain why the Rolls-Royce Dawn, a two-door convertible, has doors that open from the back, it does, at least in part.