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Speedway Motors Bear Jaw Car Door Latches

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As we upgrade our old cars for better performance, safety, and reliability, one thing that often gets overlooked are the door latches. When they were new, those old factory latches were in great shape, adjusted properly, and generally worked fine to keep those doors safely closed while puttering around town. But often years of wear, improper adjustment, and increased speed and performance capability can create an annoying and dangerous situation. Many of us have had the surprising experience of the door popping open at random while driving down the street. Even if the doors do stay closed, they often rattle around and kill some of the joy of cruising a classic car.

Here is a Mini Bear Jaw kit, shown with the striker pin and threaded mounting boss for the striker.

The solution is to use a more modern latch design. Bear Jaw latches are available from Speedway Motors in various configurations to work with just about any classic car or truck. They are a modern design “bear claw” style latch that locks around a striker pin. They work with both steel and fiberglass doors, standard and suicide opening.

There are multiple styles available, including Standard, Slim-Line, and Mini. All of them feature an arm with multiple holes and angles to make it easy to adapt that cable or rod from the interior and exterior handle. There is no provision for a lock, so a locking exterior door handle will be the ticket with these. They are also available in a kit that will include the latches and strikers as well as the mounting plates and cage nuts for the strikers. There are even a few Bear Jaw kits that are engineered to work in specific makes and models.

This is a Mini kit installed on a Model A door. In this case, a plate was fabricated to mount the latch, with oversized holes (behind the flat washers) to allow for adjustment of the door.

When it’s time to ditch those unreliable old latches and rattly doors, these Bear Jaw latches are just the ticket. You'll thank yourself when that door shuts with a satisfying "thunk" and stays that way while you're cruising down the road.

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