Cars with doors that hinge at the rear instead of the front were popular in the first half of the 20th century, but they were so dangerous they were dubbed “suicide doors.” It was easier for passengers to fall out of the cars if they weren’t wearing seat belts, and passengers were more likely to be injured of killed if they were struck by a vehicle while entering or exiting the car.
Lincoln first featured the center-opening doors on its 1961 Continental, and is bringing back the signature feature with 80 special-edition models, a move that’s guaranteed to drum up interest in the sedan, which has waned in popularity.
“This Lincoln Continental echoes a design that captured the hearts of car enthusiasts around the world,” Joy Falotico, president of The Lincoln Motor Company, said in a release. “It’s something bespoke only Lincoln can offer in a thoroughly modern way.”
The limited run of Continentals will also feature a six-inch-long wheelbase, a pass-through rear seat console, stowable tray table, tablet holder and wireless charging pad. Rear seat passengers will have extra room due to the larger coach doors. Passengers can open the coach doors 90 degrees and turn to sit down. They exit by stepping forward and out. It will have 400hp and a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6.
“The center-opening doors became synonymous with the Lincoln Continental, even though they were only featured primarily in the ’60s, but they struck such a chord that they’re still remembered so fondly today,” noted David Woodhouse, design director at The Lincoln Motor Company.
Its worth noting that mobsters preferred vehicles with suicide in the 1930s because it was reportedly so easy to push passengers out of them.
The 80 special edition units are expected to sell for at least $100,000 each, according to enthusiasts. Each one will feature a special door sill plate with its number in the run. Additional Continental Coach Door Edition sedans will be available in 2020 models.
“People appreciate elegance and glamour,” Woodhouse said. “And they want the easiest way to get in and out of a vehicle. These doors answer to both.”
Lincoln is not the only brand to offer suicide doors as an option. The Rolls-Royce Phantom reintroduced the option in 2003, and it also became available on the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II. Citroën, Lancia, Opel, Rover, Saab, Saturn,Volkswagen, and other automakers have also made models with suicide doors.
The Continental Coach Door Edition sedans will be available in its signature Lincoln Black Label themes, including Chalet and Thoroughbred. Those who choose this label are treated to annual vehicle detailing, car washes, and restaurants that provide curated dining packages.