While admittedly known by a controversial name, the suicide door has been an important element of automotive design for nearly 100 years.
The Pick of the Day is a car featuring that very innovation: a 1968 Lincoln Continental listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Fort Worth, Texas. (Click the link to view the listing)
This blacked-out sedan is set up with a menacing stance courtesy of a lowered Ridetech suspension, tinted windows, and black wheels with chrome center caps. The overall exterior look evokes a “mobster” vibe, and the seller states that the car drives as well as it looks. The listing advises that this Lincoln has a “Fresh 460cid, fresh overhaul and transmission rebuild. Cold AC and reliable driver.”
The Continental name came to the marketplace in 1940 as a full-size luxury car and went through ten generations before being discontinued after the 2020 model year. This 1968 example comes from the fourth generation which debuted in 1961. At that time, the entire Lincoln model range had been consolidated into just the Continental due to financial losses from the prior generation. The car rode on a stretched version of the Thunderbird unibody platform.
The Continental was one of many cars over the past century that have offered rear-hinged doors – more popularly known as suicide doors. The layout was derived from horse-drawn carriages of old but evolved into automobiles via various forms. Rear-hinged doors were not only an exterior stylistic element but also allowed for more dignified ingress and egress to the rear seat, especially when opened by a chauffeur. The drawbacks of the design stem from the door’s susceptibility to be held open due to aerodynamics and the resulting safety concerns.
Today, rear-hinged rear doors are still alive and well, but in most cases, they are engineered to only open once the adjacent front door is already open as a safety precaution. Examples in recent memory include extended-cab pickup trucks, the Toyota FJ Cruiser, Honda Element, Mazda RX-8, and BMW i3. Worth noting is that even Lincoln brought back the design – which they officially called “coach doors” – for a limited-production run of model year 2019 Continentals.
“Close to complete,” the listing for this Continental reads. While it doesn’t expand on what is needed to fully dial in this big luxo-sedan, the asking price of $35,000 seems like a solid buy. Mobster hat and firearms are not included.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.