A Detail To Appreciate: Side Door Handles Repurposed For Tailgates

A Detail To Appreciate: Side Door Handles Repurposed For Tailgates

Being interested, deeply interested, perhaps clinically interested in cars involves an awful lot of attention to detail. Cars really can be thought of a 1.3 tonnes of details, hurtling along all around you! So let’s take a moment to reflect on one particular detail, the detail of the practice of repurposing one car’s door handles on another car’s tailgate.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t alway sure how I felt about this; conceptually and use-case-wise, a side door handle and a rear tailgate handle should, somehow, feel different, and many door handles just wouldn’t feel right as hatch or tailgate handles.

If you consult our chart, for example, I think you’d agree that most classes just wouldn’t work. But a few are flexible enough to do both jobs, specifically Classes 6, 7, and 10. Maybe 5, too.

Consider the 1980s Honda Civic Wagon, for example. The rear tailgate hatch is a side door handle from the 1978-1981 Accord:

The Jeep J10 pickup truck is another example, taking the Class 10 flap-handle from the AMC Pacer/Hornet/Matador, etc:

When the right handle is chosen, you know, because it feels natural in both its contexts, and it shouldn’t hit you that it’s a repurposed door handle until you reflect on it. If it’s obvious, something’s not quite right.

I also just realised that I’ve been assuming these started as side door handles and were re-purposed for tailgates, but I don’t know for certain that’s the case—perhaps the other way around is possible? Somehow that feels less likely.

How do you feel about this? Impressed by the ingenuity and perfidy of the designers, or do you feel cheated out of a proper, specially-designed handle?

Let’s discuss, in painful detail!