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Hot Rods Lockable door handles

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by harleyd20, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. harleyd20
    Joined: Dec 20, 2020
    Posts: 37


    View attachment 4990498 View attachment 4990501 So..........I’m looking at my ‘37 Chevrolet pickup, of the 2 door handles, the passenger side has a lock where the drives side has a simple door handle without a lock. The big discussion has been WHY? I may never know why Chevrolet made the decision. If your going to place 1 lockable door on a 2 door vehicle why put a lock on it at all? I never really thought about it before but I did notice it in the past. Every Chevrolet pickup ( ‘36-‘37-‘38) I have seen has this mysterious design characteristic! Any one else own a pickup or car that shares this odd design thoughtATTACH=full]4990498[/ATTACH] View attachment 4990501
  2. Paulz
    Joined: Dec 30, 2018
    Posts: 62


    My 54 Dodge and my 48 International both only had an exterior lock cylinder on the pass side. But both doors locked by pushing the interior handle forward.
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  3. I had a '38 Olds. You were able to lock both doors if you wanted to (using the pin thingy at the bottom of the window) but only the outside passenger door handle accepted a key. If both doors were locked (and windows up), you could only enter the car from the passenger side.

    I have been told it was a safety feature as it meant you could only enter the locked car from the curb side (when parked at the side of the road) which was viewed as much safer than walking around to the drivers side (basically standing in a live lane) and flinging the door open, very close to passing traffic. True? I have no idea.
    jaracer, olscrounger, 302GMC and 3 others like this.
  4. 24riverview
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 934


    My Chevy cars are the same. Same as borntoloze, I think the idea was so you weren't standing out in the dangerous street locking/unlocking your doors or there were more gentlemen then who were going to be on that side anyway opening the door for their lady.
    72yenkonova likes this.

  5. Back in that Time period They thought it Was Saffer to Exit the Car or Truck
    from the Passenger Side of the Vehicle.!

    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
  6. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,502

    jimmy six

    My 49 pickup did it. Ok with me. Center console might be vary inconvenient.
  7. Still done today (returning feature) on some models that still use a key. Safety
  8. My two OT Japanese autos are both that way. Fortunately the key fob opens all doors.
  9. Safety. That is the key word behind the whole idea and the reason that Henry did not put a drivers side door on the early Model T's.
    olscrounger likes this.
  10. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,911

    from Oregon

    I got tired of unlocking the passenger side, and climbing in to unlock the driver's side on my '39 Chev coupe. So I simply pulled both handles off, and swapped them side to side. Easy fix, and now I can unlock it like a normal car. I later found a second lockable door handle and need to find a locksmith who knows old locks and can re-key it to match. Then I can unlock from either side!
    Budget36 likes this.
  11. harleyd20
    Joined: Dec 20, 2020
    Posts: 37


    I am looking now for a second handle that will hold a lock. I’m thinking the same thing you are, thank you.
  12. harleyd20
    Joined: Dec 20, 2020
    Posts: 37


    Safety did occur to me but I realized 1937 did not have many paved roads, in fact, this and any pickup sold during that year were tools working a farm. So I’m still thinking why didn’t they lock the drivers door making it harder to get into. Just a thought.
  13. I tried swapping the passenger side to the driver side on the '38 Olds, then figured I would buy an aftermarket to replace the original passenger side ... in my case, the original passenger side did not work on the driver side. I ended up leaving the car as it was originally designed.

    I always parked my car inside my garage at night but HATED entering the car from the passenger side (after locking it) when I was out and about ... my solution was to add a hidden switch that disconnected the battery, and not lock the doors.
  14. I can't relate.
    The PO of my truck put new handles in with no locks at all. :confused:
  15. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,977

    from Minnesota

    Watch any old movie from the 30's-40's and it's exit across the passenger side.
    Johnny Gee likes this.
  16. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,778


    I’ve done that on every TF truck I’ve had. I flipped the handles on the ‘57 as soon as I started driving it (77) after my dad turned it over to me.
    He bought it new and the day I did it he said “I should have done that 20 years ago”.
  17. harleyd20
    Joined: Dec 20, 2020
    Posts: 37


    Try “autonut2” on eBay. He is currently building two locks and a ignition switch that are keyed the same for me. He also has a bunch of NOS locks.
  18. Rod_Plans
    Joined: Feb 8, 2021
    Posts: 26


    With the 37 / 38 Chevy cars the handles will mount on either side so you can move the locking handles or install two of them to have a lock on both sides
  19. 1935ply
    Joined: Oct 21, 2007
    Posts: 174

    from peyton,co
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Rekeying a passenger side handle to match yours and putting it on the drivers side is the way to go. I did it on my 40 chevy p.u. I was told that because the roads in old towns were so narrow they made you lock the d/s for the inside and then slide out on the p/s and lock the door so you wouldn't get run over.
  20. While that is true as far as being a farm truck they still went to town. Model T's were not all farm trucks but were passenger cars and in the larger cities that is what Henry was after to buy his cars. Factory workers who didn't need a car but wanted one and could afford it. City delivery trucks running around with the other vehicles and horses with wagons and carts. During the 30's is when roads were starting to become paved due to the WPA and while not the best pavement alot of it has stood the test of time. US 250 in the Northern Panhandle of WV was paved at this time with hand labor doing alot of the work. Men with picks and shovels cutting and leveling the road surface. Horses with wagons bringing in the; water in barrels, gravel, sand, and cement in horse drawn wagons to be hand mixed by these same men. Placed and leveled and finished with alot of time no forms as the ground was used as the form. No real modern base was laid down and culverts were placed in existing gullies then filled over. Most places the pavement thickness is 4" of non-reinforced concrete of dubious quality as in alot of areas hand recovered creek gravel and sand were used with no modern quality control as the hardness of materials varied. Still some of those roads have held up as they were not designed for the modern high speed heavy loads.
  21. Ice man
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 984

    Ice man

    Streets were narrow, drivers were less cautious, a couple of beers were OK. I remember Dad was driving our 36 Cheby and made a quick stop slamming me into the dash board. I'm all bloody and he made a stop at the local bar to fix me up and he got fixed up also. Was he safe to drive/ NAAA But he wasn't safe to walk ether, so in the Cheby and home we went. If you were standing there trying to unlock your drivers side door, O well.
  22. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,705


    There should be a way to lock the drivers door from the inside. You lock the door from inside slide out passenger side and lock that with key at door handle. Most 30’s era vehicles are like that.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  23. hotrod37
    Joined: Aug 8, 2006
    Posts: 116

    from Indiana

    On my coupe, ‘38 body, you can lock the doors by locking (push the door buttons down), then hold the outside handles down like you are opening the door, and shut the door. Now the doors are locked.
    I had my car about 25 years before I read this in a manual from the online old Chevy manual site!
    You never quit learning!!
  24. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,943


    All those old cars from that era were like this. Somehow, I found a really poor driver's side door that had lock cylinder hole. Never seen one before so naturally, I had to graft it into my good door. Now it locks from the outside on either side. I think that it was probably made because Ford of Canada exported some cars made here overseas to markets that had right hand drive, somewhat like the T roadsters sold here that had opening doors on the driver's side.
    D-Russ likes this.

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