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A Detail To Appreciate: Side Door Handles Repurposed For Tailgates

Illustration for article titled 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 3,000 pounds 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.

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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.

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

Illustration for article titled A Detail To Appreciate: Side Door Handles Repurposed For Tailgates

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

Illustration for article titled A Detail To Appreciate: Side Door Handles Repurposed For Tailgates
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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 realized 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.

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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!

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

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A Detail To Appreciate:  Door Repurposed For Tailgates