Suicide door

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
VW bus (1950s) front doors standard design, passenger doors as portal doors
Mazda RX-8 with (half) portal doors, called “Freestyle-doors” at Mazda
Škoda Vision E , concept car with portal doors
Fiat Multipla 600: minimized production costs: both doors are hinged on the B-pillar
Rolls-Royce Phantom: portal doors
Delahaye 135 Cabriolet with rear-hinged doors
Renault 4CV: minimized production costs: both doors hung on the B-pillar
Ford Thunderbird (1967-1971)

Suicide door is colloquially called a vehicle door that is not hinged at the front but at the back. This type of construction is usually more convenient because of the larger space available when getting in and out (keeping the step area next to the car free and the door opener more accessible). The combination of front doors hinged at the front and rear doors hinged at the back is called the portal door . Is thereby also column B dispensed with, this solution offers under the action doors the ultimate in convenience when entering and exiting. Rear-hinged doors have been common since the early days of closed bodies.

Danger from doors

The rear-hinged doors were banned for new vehicles in Germany in 1961 because if they were opened unintentionally while driving, they would not be pushed shut by the airflow, but would be torn open and twisted by the great air resistance of the door surface. If an occupant holds the opening door with his hand while driving (e.g. to close it again), the force is underestimated at higher speeds and the person can be pulled outward by the arm. The protruding door can become wedged against oncoming traffic or an obstacle on the roadside. There was a particular danger for children who were previously neither wearing seat belts nor sitting in child seats . In addition, a carelessly opened door on the street side is slammed shut with force by a vehicle colliding with it, which can cause severe injuries to a passenger who is about to get off.

The opponents of the prohibition pointed out that in the event of a collision with the vehicle, the rear-hinged doors would not open, even if the body was warped, and the occupants could not be thrown out of the vehicle. Another argument was that doors hinged in the front could be torn off if opened carelessly by a vehicle coming from behind, while a suicide door would then slam again.

There were manufacturers who adapted the door hinges to the new legal situation while production was running: the Fiat Nuova 500 is an example of this. Early models have the door hinges at the back and the door handles at the front, while the later models from 1965 onwards did the opposite. Because the legal situation forbade the rear-hinged doors earlier, Fiat had obtained a special permit for the last three years of production of the D-model, which was noted with a special stamp in every vehicle registration document.

Today's requirement for the operating permit is a safety device that prevents the doors from being opened while driving. In addition, this type of construction is still very widespread in vehicles with a low top speed such as tractors , construction machines and the like.

Renaissance of rear-hinged doors

For a while this door shape experienced a small renaissance in the form of portal doors , and various automobile designers are experimenting with this stylistic device again . Luxury vehicles in particular are equipped with it. So there were and are in the fleet of the British royal family (with vehicles from Daimler, Rolls-Royce and Bentley) practically only portal-door vehicles (with the exception of the Range-Rover off-road vehicle):

  • 2002 Bentley State Limousine , a custom-made model designed by Bentley under VW management, only two of which were manufactured as a representative vehicle for the British Queen. However, this portal door version did not flow into the general Bentley product range as a style element. The production vehicles from Bentley (and Maybach too ) are equipped with normal doors.
  • Rolls-Royce model range since 2003: All models are equipped with the portal doors called “coach doors” by Rolls-Royce, which were reintroduced under BMW management after the handcrafted RR models Phantom V + VI from 1959 to 1992 had been fitted with portal doors. In the two-door models from 2003, the two doors are hinged at the rear.

Automobiles with rear-hinged doors (selection)

Modern models

Portal doors with B-pillar front doors hinged at the front, rear doors hinged at the back

Portal doors without B-pillar

The rear door halves of these vehicles can only be opened when the front door is open.

Historic vehicles

Maximized passenger comfort: portal doors = front doors at the front - rear doors hinged at the back

Characteristics of portal doors: front doors hinged at the front, rear doors hinged at the back. The best comfort for passengers on boarding and alighting arises when the B-pillar is dispensed with. Portal doors and brand-specific designations: Rolls-Royce = coach doors, GM / Opel = Flex doors, Mazda = Freestyle doors,

Maximized ease of entry: all doors hinged at the back

Feature: Front and rear doors hinged at the back or, in the case of two-door vehicles (e.g. Coupé), the doors hinged at the rear.

Minimized production costs: all doors on the B-pillar

Feature: Both doors hinged on the B-pillar: front doors hinged at the back, rear doors hinged at the front

Web links

Commons : Cars with Suicide Doors  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ford F150 , accessed August 25, 2014