Home > All Content > Automotive History > Door Jammin' - A Quick Overview on the most Popular Car Door Types

Door Jammin' - A Quick Overview on the most Popular Car Door Types

Mar 16, 2015

lambo doors


Doors have always been a fantastic part of any vehicle.  Over the years they've evolved and become not only extremely functional but extremely fashionable as well.   Here's a rundown of the most popular door types  you'll see in cars today.  (Excluding the traditional car door!)



Sliding Door - Typical door of choice for soccer moms and van owners across America.  They are built on a track on the side of the vehicle and slide open usually toward the back of the car as one big panel giving plenty space.  Built to give delivery men easy access to cargo and mom plenty of room to load the kids and dogs into the car and make sure everyone is safely buckled up!  Thanks MOM!   Best part about this door is that your kids can’t open it up and slam it into the car parked next to you.   Genius.  




Gullwing Door - not to be confused with Scissors or Butterfly doors, but definitely became popular in the early 80’s when Doc Brown’s Time Machine DeLorean showed up on the silver screen.   These doors are hinged to the roof at the top of the farm and open upwards to give the car appearance of sea “gull” wings.  The biggest problem with these doors was the consumer fear that they would become trapped inside the vehicle if the car was ever rolled over.  Other popular cars to have gulling doors were the Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. 



Scissor Doors - or rather, what people call “Lambo” or Lamborghini doors… these are doors that are hinged at the top front corner of the door frame and open by rotating  upwards.  Typically about 90 degrees, but some cars have them rotate open as far as 130 degrees. They are the signature trademark door of choice for Lamborghini and they were the first auto maker to use scissor doors in a production car.  Alfa Romeo was the first to use them in 1968 in a concept car designed by Marcello Gandini, but it never went to production.   Quite useful in very tight parking spaces, and you’ll never have the risk of injuring an oncoming cyclist or having your door ripped off by oncoming traffic.  Definitely our top pick.  You may still however be in a little trouble exiting the vehicle if you are to flip a car with scissor doors.  





Butterfly Doors - extremely similar to Scissor doors in the fact that they are hinged at the top of the door and open upward and outward, sort of fanning out, as opposed to straight up like Scissor doors.  Butterfly doors are typically hinged along the A-pillar making for a super cool arrival at any red carpet or automotive event.  Hell, you’d look bad ass getting out of your car to walk into the supermarket if your Jetta sported a set of these.  To enhance the dramatic effect, we highly recommend having a fog machine handy as the doors are open.  They can been seen on McLarens, Ferraris, Bentleys, Porsches, and Mercedes super cars.  In fact, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren became an extremely sought after and recognizable vehicle due to it’s butterfly doors.  The general population knew nothing else about that car - stats, horsepower, engine type— just that those doors made it super cool, and most likely, extremely expensive.   Heard often was “I want that Mercedes with the “lambo” doors that slide up."  (Even though they weren’t lambo doors).  It still not only brought a lot of attention to Mercedes, but created a lot of fans and interest for McLaren as well.  



Suicide Doors - These are doors that used to be found on high end luxury cars like Rolls-Royce Phantoms or Ghosts and Bentley Limos, but now can actually be scene on most trucks with extended cabs, and even sporty SUV type vehicles such as Honda Elements that have what they call “suicide half doors” for easy access to the back seats.  They are doors that are hinged toward the back of the car and swing out toward the rear.  They are usually paired with a normal car door with sometimes no pillar in between them giving plenty of room to get into the vehicle.   Why were they called suicide doors?  Because it was said that if you attempted to close them while the car was in motion, or if they unlatched and opened while the car was being driven due to the wind  resistance you’d end up falling out of the car and killing yourself.  They were also hard to be seen when opened up into oncoming traffic and had a higher risk of getting hit by a car and severely injuring the passenger trying to get out.  The traditional door, being hinged forward, would close easier if it became open and if an oncoming car was to hit it, the door would be ripped forward away from the car and passenger.  They also didn’t have very good seat belts back then.    




Canopy Door - The roof and sides are usually hinged at the front and slide or lifted off the car, typically forward.  Not used very often at all… The most recognizable car with a canopy door?  Probably the Batmobile.  Val Kilmer and George Clooney’s Batmobile, not Christian Bale’s or Adam West’s Batmobile.  There are no real rules when it comes to canopy doors… as long as the car opens from the top.  If you roll over in a car with a canopy door, you’re beat.  Hope you got your boots on because you’ll be kicking out your windows.  Another downside is that there is no way to enter or exit a car with a canopy roof in bad weather without soaking your interior.   Positives, excellent when picking up chicks or when fighting the Joker.  


swan door


Swan Door - they open outward like a conventional door but hinge slightly upward for better ground clearance.  Swan doors are a popular choice for Aston Martin who has them on their Vantage, DB9, Virage, DSB, Rapide and One-77 models.  The Jaguar C-X75 and Honda HSC also have swan doors.    


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