There’s quite a few different designs that manufacturers use. We’re going to learn about all the different car door types and specifically why each are used. In this article, we’re going to cover 10 different types of doors that come stock from a manufacturer. Since we’re all familiar with conventional doors or as some rich guys call them peasant doors like the ones on the Lamborghini Huracan Performante. I’m just not going to include them on the list.
Gold Wing & Falcon Doors
First up on this list I’m going to include 2 types of doors that are eerily similar, the Gold Wing doors with the doors being hinged to the roof of the vehicle and opening vertically for easy access to the cockpit. Then you also got the Falcon doors which also open upwards but because of a moving roof panel it actually doesn’t need as much space as the Gold Wing doors.
The legendary auto manufacturer Mercedes-Benz made these Gold Wing doors absolutely timeless with the W 198 300 SL. At the time it was not designed for aesthetic beauty took rather out of necessity. That car was launched in the 50s. When people saw this car in the flesh, that was probably the most beautiful and unique door design of the time. In fact, the design has actually stuck around with the SLS AMG holding true to its heritage and this time around, it’s a huge fashion statement. Now you know the slight nuances between Falcon and Goal-Wing doors. Which one do you like better, Falcon vs GoldWing, the Tesla or the SLS AMG?
Although this type of door isn’t common anymore, it used to be and I think a lot of us got a taste of how cool Suicide doors were because of this famous Lincoln Continental in Entourage. Nowadays, manufacturers don’t like to call them Suicide doors rather they like to call them rear-hinged doors.
Believe it or not, Mazda RX-8 was the first sports car to ever have this type of door design. I wish this design would catch on with, like the Mustang and the Aston Martin Vantage because it makes access to the rear so much easier. As for cars that you can currently buy today with rear-hinged doors, Rolls-Royce has got you covered. Models like the Phantom Drophead Coupe lets you open up your door in this extremely unique and rather rare way.
Have you ever wondered why they were called Suicide doors? There were 2 reasons. The first is if you were riding in the car and you were to open up the door, it could catch air which then would increase the likelihood that you may fall out of the car. The second is if you were getting out of a car that had a rear hinged door and the door was still open and a car were to come by and hit that door. Due to safety standards and popular demand, rear-hinged doors Suicide doors have really phased out over the past couple of decades.
These next set of doors were actually built out of necessity by Lamborghini. The Countach had an issue. It had such poor rear visibility that you couldn’t see out of the back when driving in Reverse. To fix that, they built a door that opened upwards. The driver could back up without the fear of hitting anything. The Lamborghini has kept using them. They’ve been affectionately known as Lamborghini doors or Lambo doors for years.
Current supercars like their Lamborghini Aventador still use this same style of door today. I totally agree with you guys and they look amazing. But, they have a big flaw and that is when you open them, you got to know what’s above you because they open pretty high. If you’re not careful, you could bang them on a ceiling or something else that’s above that you just don’t even know is there.
These doors have become so popular over the years. Aftermarket companies have had a field day with putting them on cars that just don’t deserve. I’ve seen Corvettes Mustangs, even Civics have aftermarket Scissor doors. It’s pretty much a plug-and-play piece. Because it’s that easy, a lot of people have done it. Basically, the regular mounting point for conventional doors is the same as Scissor doors. Instead of the door rotating out, it now goes up.
These may or may not be my favorite doors ever. Although they look the part, they do have the same shortcomings as Scissor doors. Butterfly doors are like Scissor doors except they open up and then in. The reason that they do this is it actually gives you a little bit easier access in and out of the car because you’re not blocked by some of the doors.
The reason they get the butterfly name is because it kind of look like butterfly wings. Again, if you have Butterfly doors or Scissor doors, you have to make sure that when you’re opening them, you have clearance. If you don’t, you’re going to bang them into something which could be tens of thousands of dollars of misery. These doors are a lot harder to ‘fake’ than the Scissor doors. They’re my favorite door.
They’re a lot like nothing else, totally insane! The way these things open where they kind of open to the side and then rotate upwards at an angle is really something that we’ve never seen before. This door design took a group of talented engineers years to create. They were able to make something that no other manufacturer has ever replicated.
Dihedral Synchro Helix doors are just as cool as the cars that they come on, like Koenigsegg Agera R, Jesko, etc. If you know one thing about ‘Eggs’, they’re built pretty much fully out of carbon fiber. So, if you park next to a high curb and you open one of these doors, yeah, expect a multi-thousand dollar bill. Watching how this door open, I could watch that all day long. That is one of the most beautiful automotive works of art that I’ve ever seen. Personally, I think the Dihedral doors that come on the Egg are about as legendary as the Scissor doors that came on the Countach. But, that’s just one man’s opinion.
Like Scissor doors are known as Lambo doors, Swan doors should be known as Aston doors. This type of door can be found on a Plethora of Aston Martin’s, including the DB9. But, they’re not the only ones to actually use the Swan door. In fact, the Chevy Corvette uses them as well as the Pagani Huayra Roadster.
Out of all the door designs on this list, I think that the Swan door might be the most practical. Supercars or Sports cars are naturally lower than most cars, so the doors should open up. By opening up, they miss objects that they’d otherwise connect with if they open parallel to the ground. When you look at a swan open its wings, they open up not parallel to the ground as well. It just kind of makes sense that these doors would be popular on sports cars.
I can bet that your friend’s mom probably had a minivan with Sliding doors. Did you know that they weren’t just used for vans? In fact, back in 1954 that Kaiser Darin used Sliding doors, specifically to make it easier for occupants to get in and out of the car in tight parking spaces.
Unfortunately, the trend really didn’t catch on with other auto manufacturers. Sliding doors for passenger cars was really short-lived except for your minivan and a lot of commercial vehicles like the UPS truck. I personally wish that they bring back the Sliding doors. I think they’re pretty cool.
Front Hinged Doors
Back in the day, BMW made an extremely weird BMW. They called it the BMW Isetta or affectionately known as the Bubble Car. Although it had 4 seats, it had this really unique Front Hinged door. Honestly, kind of added to the whole clown car look that it already had going for it. Under the hood, wherever the hood is, there was a 9-horsepower engine, yeah 9 hp! Just like sliding doors for the regular passenger car, Front Hinge doors really didn’t catch on. I really don’t know why.
I love it when auto manufacturers take place out of aviation playbooks. The Canopy door is one of the coolest ones that I’ve ever seen. Look how cool it is for the canopy operation on the fighter jet, it really is next-level technology. In fact, auto manufacturers have been playing around with the canopy idea for decades. Essentially this canopy opens up in off of the car.
Unlike every other car door on this list, you won’t really have any issues with obstructions to your door. But, if you got the best temperature in the car and you open that Canopy, it’s gonna let all of that out to the elements. If that vehicle were to roll over, how do you even open the door? I don’t think they really thought this through nor do I think that it was something that was actually going to catch on. Kind of a far-fetched idea. But, it was extremely cool nonetheless. Just to think that this could have been the future is a pretty big idea.