While a door may not be the defining feature of a vehicle, its design can actually have a significant impact on its overall appearance, comfort, safety and price. Many may be unaware of the huge variety of car doors now available in the market and the purpose of each particular type, such as scissor doors, butterfly doors and many more. Turborevs gives an overview of some of the most popular types of car doors below.
Invented in 1968, scissor doors are typically seen as a high-brow feature and have become a trademark of exclusive brands like Ferrari, McLaren and especially Lamborghini (which is why they are commonly referred to as ‘Lambo’ doors).
They are so called as the front of the door is fixed to a frontal hinge, allowing it to open vertically at 90 to 130 degrees, like a pair of scissors. Apart from being a distinctive feature, they are also quite practical — drivers can park their cars easily in tight spaces as scissor doors don’t require much outward space to open. However, parking can be an issue in areas with low ceilings. In addition, these can make it difficult for passengers to escape in the case of an upturned vehicle.
Butterfly doors are similar to scissor doors, apart from the fact that their front hinges fan them outward as well. Hence, they require less clearance than standard car doors, and they provide better interior access in comparison to scissor doors. They are often used in high-performance cars.
However, these also have the drawback of making parking difficult in spaces with low overhead clearance.
Suicide doors have hinges on the back of the door frame, which makes them swing open horizontally towards the back. These are also known as coach, flex, freestyle, rear-hinge and side-opening doors. Their biggest advantage is that they make it easier to climb in and out of the vehicle due to the extra foot space. They are commonly used in luxury cars like Rolls-Royce Wraith/Phantom.
The origin of its unfortunate name dates back to the 1960s, when its design flaws were brought to light. For instance, there is a significant safety risk as an improperly latched door could easily be opened by high wind pressure in a moving car. However, modern designs now include safety systems that prevent suicide doors from opening while driving.
The hinges of gull-wing doors are fixed on the roof, so that they slide upwards (up to about 27.5 cm) and stretch out like the wings of a bird. They are also called up-doors and falcon-wing doors.
Designed in 1939, these were not officially introduced until 14 years later when they featured in the Mercedes 300SL race car. They have appeared in several car brands since then, and have also been used in the manufacture of aircraft such as the French four-seater Socata TB series.
Explosive bolts were later added to its design, to make it easier to escape the car if there is a rollover accident. However, this design is not compatible with convertibles and lacks practical benefits as such.
Inspired by the design of jet fighter cockpits, this door type can be hinged to the front, back or sides. The windshield, roof and side windows are integrated into a single unit, allowing the door to slide forwards, rise upwards or open to the side.
Apart from the unobstructed views, it is also useful when it comes to parking the car within inches of another. But parking can be difficult in closed spaces with a roof as the door opens vertically. Entering and exiting a car through a canopy door can also be cumbersome to some extent, and the interior can easily get damaged if you are getting in or out during bad weather.
In a Nutshell
Whether you are looking for doors that open outwards or upwards (or both), doors of conventional designs or bold style, there are a range of options to choose from, for your particular vehicle.