suicide door latch ideas

What ideas do you have for inside door safety latches (36 Tplane coupe)? Nothing fancy or expensive. Had the passenger door fly open today after hitting a bump in the road. Luckily a side road going 35 mph. I will troubleshoot the OEM latch, but regardless, I would like to install safety latches/catches.


  • bob ward
    bob ward Senior Contributor

    On my 35 roadster the guy doing the panel work fitted modern door catches for me. I've had experience with self opening doors in old cars and I wanted to ensure it did not happen on this car.

    I'm not sure what they were from but if you have look at modern catches they are all of a similar pattern. There is a loop that fits to the body in place of the original striker and a 2 pincer (bear claw?) door catch that securely latches onto the loop. Some fabrication cutting and welding was involved. I'll post photos of the finished job, not sure that I have any photos of the process.

  • Thanks Bob - yes, self openers - not a good thing! I will do some research on the type you describe.

  • 54coupe
    54coupe Member
    edited May 7

    I bought "bear claw" type latches for my '54 on Amazon. I think they were about $40 per pair. I haven't installed them yet.

  • barrysweet52
    barrysweet52 Expert Adviser

    My first thought was that shims were needed possibly because of worn parts. Hitting a bump in the road can cause the body to flex and a door to open. Are the shock absorbers and suspension in good cond. Passengers can be funny about doors opening.

  • Old Fogey UK
    Old Fogey UK Expert Adviser

    Are you locking the doors after you get in ?

    Sorry if this sounds a silly question but locking the doors on my '34 is part the routine on starting off.

    Despite knackered bump stops (that I'm about to replace), I've never had a locked door bounce open driving over rough surfaces.

  • Thanks for added input....suspension is good and has new shocks (but bias tires). Not a silly question re: locking doors. No, I had NOT locked them but certainly will going forward! I am still of the mind to have some kind of safety lock or catch.

  • tigermoth
    tigermoth Expert Adviser

    I have never had a door fly open while driving, but I have on occasion pondered an additional latch. I never could come up with one that I thought if the body shifted in an accident that I was confident I would be able to get out. The ‘35 latches are so stout I cannot imagine how much the body on my sedan would have to shift to get them to open.

    regards, Tom

  • 54coupe
    54coupe Member
    edited May 9

    Google "suicide door safety pin". There are a couple of options from Auto Loc, used in the street rod world that are available. Speedway motors has an offering too.

  • Thanks everybody. I'll look at the 'safety pin' options as well as the 'bear claw'. I could opt for the easier solution (always have a passenger, and we'll both hang onto the inside handle as we drive along). 😉