Engineers and designers who work for OEM automobile manufacturers spend years working on their education. When they do finally land a job with a carmaker, and finally get to work on something interesting and important, they usually end up producing systems and parts that are, at the very least, well thought out and reliable.
That’s why I keep stores of parts I’ve removed from the various cars I’ve owned, built and raced. You never know when you’re going to need the most arcane piece, and they often come in handy when you’re building a racecar, which I’m doing. Again.
Inside door handles are almost always something you have to remove to make room for the NASCAR bars that jut out into the shell of the door itself. That leaves you looking for a way to recreate a door handle so you can get out, and get out quickly. Reaching over top of the door to use the outside door handle isn’t an option. That’s dangerous under certain circumstances such as a fire.
For the construction of my first car, I figured bicycle cables would be a good substitute for the factory rods that actuate the door latch when you pull on the inside handle. I could use the factory release handle, route the cable any way I wanted around the NASCAR bars, and as long as I mounted the casing firmly, it would stay put and be as reliable as a factory setup.
The best news is this is a cheap system to fabricate. The parts from a local bike shop, cable, casing and screw-on cable stop were like $20. I used the factory inside door handle mounted on a couple of bushings that came out with the side windows, all of which were essentially free. I rigged it all up in an hour or so. I’m almost certain you could do this on any chassis popular for road racing.
Here’s a quick video of the finished product. It works just like a factory setup and leaves plenty of room for the door bars of the roll cage.