Hooniverse Asks: Suicide Doors- BRAH! Or BLAH?

rolls-royce-suicide-doors-automobiles-de-luxe
One of the key differentiating features of Rolls Royce’s current lineup is the application of reversed-hinged, or more colloquially called “suicide” doors. Now, there are in fact a lot of vehicles with such doors, however almost all of those presently on the road are trucks – the Saturn Ion and Mazda RX-8 having long gone out of production. And even when they were being sold by the dozens, they, like others and the current pickup trucks, featured half doors, which I don’t think really even count.
No, if you’re are going to commit to suicide doors – this is National Suicide Prevention Month so we need to be cognizant of how we joke about such things – you’re going to want to go all the way. Rolls Royce does so, and the last American production cars so equipped were the 1969 Lincoln Continental and Ford Thunderbird. Before that the form was a feature of everything from the First Ford V8 to the Fiat 500.
Why did they all fall from favor? Well, consider that name for a moment. The rear-hinged doors allowed a door accidentally opened into traffic to be slammed back against an exiting passenger, while a forward-hinged one would simply be knocked into the front fender. It makes sense, as well as better egress to the back seats. Still there’s  a certain sense of romance surrounding the suicide door, which is why Rolls sees fit to build cars with them. Do they still hold an equitable sense of mystery and adventure? What do you think about suicide doors, are they Brah! or Blah?
Image: automobilesdeluxe.tv

26 Comments

  1. Factory – I am a huge fan. Aftermarket – garbage.
    To be fair I love them because of the cars that wore them.
    Lincoln Continental mostly, but to some extent the RX-8 and FJ Cruiser as well.

  2. Actually, the Thunderbird kept its suicide doors through the 1971 model year. Oh, I say Brah! of the doors.

  3. I had a F-150 with the suicide half-doors for a while. It was wonderful. If they still made two door cars in any quantity, I’d love to see them with such a feature. I can only imagine how my son’s Focus ZX3 would be even more practical with them.

    1. I love them on my extended-cab Dakota, but the best iteration of the pickup half-doors I’ve experienced was on my granddad’s previous extended-cab Silverado (he has the new model w/ small front-hinged doors now). The back-seaters got their own door release handle in case the front-seater forgot to pull the handle in the jamb, and the hinges had a 2nd stage to swing past 90 degrees and almost back into the box.

  4. I was ejected from the back of a Lincoln Continental via the Suicide Door when I was about 2 years old.
    I still think they’re awesome.
    (I was told the name came from the danger of an improperly latched door blowing open at high speed and sucking the passenger out. In my case it was a 30 pound budding mechanical genius toddler pulling the latch on a 80 pound door.)

    1. I thought suicide doors are first row only, but what do I know. Your explanation makes sense to me, and is totally applicable to subsequent rows.

      1. I understand your confusion. I’m almost 60 and it was explained to me as a child that a “Suicide” door was rear hinged, either front or rear or both.
        If the front door was hinged at the firewall with the rear door hinged at the C pillar, it was called a “Clamshell” configuration.

    2. The exact same thing happened to me, except I was a 4 year old genius at the time.
      Road rash in the strangest of places…
      Fortunately my dad was just pulling away from a stop sign and was probably only going 20 in the big Lincoln

      1. We were a block away from home, so about the same speed. I got lucky and went out the right side into a snow bank.

  5. Brah! Our 2000 GMC 2500 has them.

    Pain if you’re in the back and want to get out, but nice for getting in, with no pillars or anything.

    Oh, I had always thought that the name came from when you tried to jump out a moving vehicle equipped with them.

  6. I live in constant fear that a sniper will be trying to take me out. Therefore, being able to exit my vehicle protected by the doors is a huge selling point to me. BRAH fo’ sho’.

  7. My father’s 1939 Rolls Royce Wraith (also the name of a current Rolls Royce with suicide doors) had them and it was magical when I was young, the good thing is that it didn’t wear off when I got older.
    http://a1classiccars.co.uk/sites/default/files/imagecache/DetailImage/SANY0014_2.JPG
    Interestingly my dad’s car had suicide doors on the front and rear doors unlike the Lincoln Continental.
    http://www.pa-wood.co.uk/preowned/classic-rolls-royce/crr-0008-1932/img/thumbs/thumb-a.jpg
    I saw this exact car last weekend at the ‘concours of elegance’ in Edinburgh where I live. It was wonderful. (Background info. it was Rolls Royce’s official demonstrator car for the Phantom II range.)
    It is for sale here http://www.pa-wood.co.uk/preowned/classic-rolls-royce/crr-0008-1932/default.shtml
    http://www.pa-wood.co.uk/preowned/classic-rolls-royce/crr-0008-1932/img/large/large-b.jpg

  8. For a coupe with a seldom used (or no) back seat, putting the hinge on the back would make it easier to get in/out in tight parking quarters, but the difference it makes it fairly trivial and so it just seems like a styling thing.

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