It is no brainier that to attract more buyers, automobile companies try to innovate every aspect of a car, including its design, engine, wheels, or even doors as well. While several manufacturers are still producing boring traditional doors, some exotics use different doors to attract a given level of attention. This article delves into different types of car doors and designs that are existing today in the automotive industry.
There are a variety of car door designs currently on the market. Some of the doors have exotic designs, while others have the usual traditional design. They may open backward, outwards, or even upward, depending on the designs.
These designs can also affect the price of a car. Few of these doors are mounted to the car body and opened through tracks while others open through hinges.
In other ways, the doors of a vehicle can also be manual or electronically powered. Manual doors are those that you have to close yourself, while powered doors can be closed using the remote system and sensors installed on the vehicle to detect the remote signals.
The material of the door may also vary, but you can expect either aluminum, carbon fiber, and a few types of steel.
While several car enthusiasts may opt for the standard and the conventional types of car doors, some may want to try out the glamorously looking types of car doors to look unique and stand out from the rest.
You may not have all the details of every type of car door in your memory, and that is where this guide comes in to assist you in navigating through the different types of car doors available today.
Contents of this article entail:
- Conventional doors
- Scissors doors
- Gullwing doors
- Butterfly doors
- Swan doors
- Suicide doors
- Dihedral doors
- Raptor doors
- Sliding doors
- Canopy doors
- Front Hinged doors
These are the most common type of car doors. Anytime you hear about the word “car door”, they are usually the first that comes into anyone’s mind. These doors attach to the main car body using hinges mounted on the front side of the car frame.
When opened, it swings out and away in front of the car body. These doors are the cheapest and easiest to make. They serve as the default design of any brand of car door available in the market.
If you are worried about the safety of conventional doors, then it is important to note that it will vary depending on the general design of the vehicle, the brand or model, the manufacturer, and the year of manufacture. It is important to check on the safety rating of a specific car model and the side impact crash to determine how safe the car, may be.
However, in our list, it is considered one of the safest types of doors since they cannot expand when you are on the road driving and if by any chance they are opened while on the road, wind resistance opposes the opening and keeps the door closed.
- Are the safest on keeping the door closed while on the road.
- Being conventional and commonly known by many, hence they are easy to handle and to maintain.
- Opening this door at the time of an accident may be a risky affair.
These types of car doors are called Lamborghini doors. This is because they are more synonymous with the Lamborghini Murcielago. The doors were designed in 1968 by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini and were first mounted on Alfa Romeo models. Over the years, this type of car door has become a trademark of Lamborghini.
Scissors’ doors also go by many names, such as;
- Wing doors
- Beetle wing doors
- Switchable doors
- Turtle doors
- Swing up doors
- Lambo doors etc
Scissor doors are mounted on the door frame using hinges located at the front top corner of the door with the help of scissor joints that enable the doors to open from the body of the car in an outward direction but at a vertical angle of 90 to 130 degrees. These doors are helpful in instances of poor visibility at the rear side of the car during reversing.
Cars using this model of doors include:
- Lamborghini Diablo
- Lamborghini Aventador
- Huracan Murcielago
- Koenigsegg Agera
- Tata Pixel etc
- The vehicle can be operated even with open doors.
- Easy parking when the parking space isn’t enough. This is because they don’t consume a lot of space when opening these doors.
- Scissor doors can easily be converted to conventional doors since the hinges are located in the same position as those of conventional doors.
- Minimized risks of hitting other vehicles on the runway if the door can open by accident.
- The doors are very expensive to repair and maintain than conventional doors.
- If the ceiling of the parking space does not have sufficient height, this may cause the door to collide with the ceiling.
- It is difficult to come out of the car in case of accidents.
Gullwing doors, Up-doors, or falcon-wing doors have a slight similarity to the scissors types of car doors. These types of doors were first designed by Jean Bugatti for his car. This design of door became popular in 1952 when Mercedes Benz opted for its use in their cars, the 300SL race car (W194).
By the 1970s, Mercedes Benz had mounted this type of door on their C111 model of cars, but it is until the 1980s when this door increased in popularity when it was used by DeLorean DMC-12 cars.
Gullwing doors are hinged on the roof of a car’s door frame in the upper horizontal border rather than the sides. The doors open outwards but towards the upper side of the car to about 27.5 centimeters. They are mainly found in cars like:
- Mercedes Benz 300SL
- SLS AMG
- Tesla Model X etc
- Suitable for parking in urban areas where there is less space for parking.
- Require less clearance, which provides an appropriate ability to get in and exit the car easily.
- Provide high visibility to drivers.
- Gullwing doors are very difficult to turn into the conventional door design.
Butterfly doors hinge to the top front corner of a car’s door frame. The only difference to scissors doors is that butterfly doors are hinged to the A-pillar of the car and open outwards and upwards, showing a fanning-like pattern that resembles a butterfly.
They also open wider than scissors doors. These doors provide enough space to enter and exit the car and are generally found in sports cars and closed-top racers.
This type of door is found in high-performance cars like:
- Enzo Ferrari
- Saleen S7
- Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
- Mercedes Benz
- SLR McLaren
- BMW I8
- McLaren MP-4 12C
- Ferrari LaFerrari
- BMW Z1
- McLaren F1
- Suitable for the parking lots with very little space for parking.
- They can open or close on their own because of their automatic door gliders.
- In case of accidents and the vehicle rolls over, it can be very difficult to get off the car.
- They require a high ceiling in parking lots to prevent the door from coming into contact with the ceiling.
Similar to conventional doors, swan doors are also hinged to the front of the car’s door frame and generally open outwards, but the differentiating factor is that they are slightly slanted upwards for better ground clearance.
These doors are popular in a few designs of cars, such as;
- Jaguar C-X75
- Aston Martin DB9
- Aston Martin DB10
- Renault KWID Concept
- GTA Spano
- Suitable for areas with less parking space.
- The car looks exotic and stylish hence best for those who want their cars to stand out.
- Can easily be converted to conventional doors if the need arises.
- This design of the door is uncomforting for the driver while closing it.
These types of car doors are dabbed Rolls-Royce doors, which is a name that is synonymous with them. The hinges of the front doors are mounted on the front part of the frame while the hinges of the rear door are mounted to the back of the door frame.
The term suicide comes into place in the name of these doors because it is presumed that if the doors are opened when the car is in motion, then there is a high chance and risk of the passenger falling off the car. Additionally, chances of sustaining fatal injuries are high if, by any chance, the door is open and is hit by another vehicle.
The Origin Of Suicide Doors
The design of these types of doors was borrowed from the ancient royal horse-drawn carriages. This design of door date back to the early 20th century when horse-drawn carriages were the popular mode of transport. According to Dave Brownell, a former editor of Hemmings Motor News, the doors were exceedingly popular with gangsters in the 1930s. This is because the doors provided some ease in pushing their captives into and out of a moving vehicle.
There was a drastic decline in the use of vehicles with this type of door immediately after World War II. American automobiles who vastly used suicide doors in their vehicles included:
- Lincoln Continental 4 door convertibles and sedans (1961-1969).
- The Ford Thunderbird (1967-1971).
The British Rover P4 in the 1960s also popularized the use of suicide doors.
The doors are not that common in most modern vehicles because they are considered unsafe. In most cases, the manufacturers of vehicles with these types of doors don’t like using the name suicide doors but instead use names like Coach Doors (Rolls-Royce), Flex Doors (Opel), Rear Hinges, etc. Cars that still use these types of doors include;
- Rolls-Royce lineup
- Fiat 1100
- Fiat Topolino
- Opel / Vauxhall
- They provide an easy entry into and exit from the car.
- If the front door is directly adjacent to the rear door, it somewhat looks awkward when entering and exiting the car should passengers use both doors at the same time.
- A passenger can be easily hit by the door should they fall from the moving vehicle.
- The aerodynamics of the car can force the rear hinges to pop open at high speeds, especially on older models.
Dihedral doors are a hybrid of the scissors doors with the only distinction being that dihedral doors open outwards while rotating 90 degrees from the hinges at the same time.
The hinges are mounted on the A-Pillar and this helps in supporting the entire door and the opening mechanism. It was innovative just like the scissors door was in its prime days.
Vehicles with this type of door include;
- Agera R
- Agera RS
- Koenigsegg Agera
- Koenigsegg CC8S
- McLaren F1
The name of these doors comes from geometrical terms and the doors are becoming a popular preference in the modern-day automobile industry.
- They provide easier entry and exit from the car.
- Parking closer to the high curb can damage the door and the door made from fiber, the repair cost can be very expensive.
- Expensive repair costs because the doors are products of carbon fiber.
Raptor doors are made using the scissors concept, but the difference is that their mechanism is a little more complex. The door generally opens outwards but glides gently down and parallel to the car’s body. The raptor doors are recoil actuated, meaning a small force is what is needed to close these types of car doors.
The name raptor simply originates from the mechanism function and the working parts, with a combination of rotational geared pivots being deployed by the door’s pivoting recoil actuated orbital retractor.
These doors can be mounted in three different sections of a car, giving it a Lamborghini appearance with the 90 degrees’ pivot door. The door is designed in a way that enables it to go below or above the fender or gives it a Koenigsegg model appearance with the door’s ability to pivot next to the fender.
Raptor doors got launched in 2007, but the popular car model that applies this design of doors is the Ferrari GG50.
- The door is easy to close because of its recoil-actuated mechanism.
- The door can be mounted in three different positions, giving a variety of styles and accessibility.
- Raptor types of car doors are economical when it comes to packaging space. They don’t need large parking lots given that the door stays within the track of the car through their movement range.
- Parking very close to a high cub can destroy the door if mounted like that of the Koenigsegg model.
- In the case of the lower parking lot ceiling, the door can easily collide with the ceiling and get damaged if these doors are mounted like those of a Lamborghini.
Sliding types of doors are synonymous with minivans, cargo vehicles, and commercial busses. These design doors offer an easy entry and exit for passengers and easy loading and offloading of goods.
Just like their name suggests, the doors are often sliding alongside a track mounted on the side of the vehicle. The doors open by sliding either backward or forward, depending on the car design. The doors are very handy when it comes to limited parking space.
The most common design of this door comprises a 3 point suspension, pens outwards and then to the back or the front on a track alongside the vehicle. These types of car doors were introduced into the automotive industry by Volkswagen AG as an option to their type 2 vans in 1964.
The first trial car to use the sliding door technology was the 1954 Kaiser Darrin, which was a modified version of what was built by British Insurance Officer Sydney Nobbs in 1949. Sydney Nobbs’ sliding door idea wasn’t a success because it consumed a lot of space that could be utilized otherwise.
Vehicles that use sliding types of car doors include;
- Peugeot 1007
- Toyota Porte
- Renault Kangoo
- Citroen C8
- Peugeot 807
- Toyota Previa
- Kia Sedona
- Sliding doors are a perfect fit in places with limited parking spaces.
- Provide easy access when loading or offloading goods.
- Passengers can enter and exit the vehicle with ease.
- Sliding doors are expensive to maintain due to the additional components like the sliding track.
- They can easily get damaged compared to conventional.
Canopy doors are not as common as the already mentioned types of car doors. Its unique type of door whose inspiration came from the doors of fighter jets in that they open going upwards.
Also referred to as bubble canopy, connected canopy, and cockpit canopy, the doors usually rest on the top of the car.
The windshield and the upper roof are one thing that is made from glass. The door hinges can be replaced in any position: side, back, or front and open in an upward, sideways, or frontward to enable the passengers to access the cabin.
- Canopy doors don’t have obstruction-related problems. This is because they open upwards contrary to traditional conventional car doors known to obstruct pavements in case the door is opened.
- Since canopy doors do not have side doors, this means they do not require A-Pillars to function. That means the windscreen can extend from the front to the back of the car, allowing a 180-degree field of view for drivers.
- The all-glass design means its effective for such cars to have climate control or air conditioning because of their greenhouse effect.
- In a case of an accident and the car rolls over, it would be impossible to exit the vehicle unless the glass is broken.
- Because of the high sill and somehow awkward roof positioning, entries into and exits from the vehicle can be hard.
- In the case of harsh weather like heavy rains, snow, or hailstorms, it would be hard to exit the car without the interior getting wet. The door can also become difficult to lift if covered with snow.
- In the case of low ceiling parking lots, it can be very difficult to use canopy doors because there is a likelihood of a collision with the low ceiling and this can cause substantial damage.
Front Hinged Doors
This type of door was found in vehicles with just one door. The entire front of the car, including the instrument panel and the steering wheel, is hinged and swings upwards to allow the driver and the passengers to have access to the vehicle.
Should an accident occur, passengers can only escape through the canvas sunroof. There was only one car that had this type of door from 1955 to 1962 and that was the BMW Isetta 600.
- The driver and the passengers can step from the car from the front, hence minimizing the dangers of being hit by an oncoming car when entering or exiting. There have been instances where passengers have been swept by oncoming vehicles while alighting or boarding vehicles using side doors. Some passengers also slip off and are run over by vehicles if the vehicle they are boarding or alighting from didn’t stop completely.
- They are easier to pack in tight parking areas.
- Despite making it easier to pack, should another car pack in front of you, it becomes very difficult getting into or exiting the car.
Pocket doors are closely related to sliding doors but are not as common as the already mentioned types of car doors. When opened. The door changes into a compartment in the adjacent wall.
The door is mainly found in vans that carry out delivery services and train services but are rarely found in passengers and other normal vehicles. The two most popular cars with pocket doors are:
- Renault Estafette
- Morris J4
Types Of Car Doors – Conclusion
It is by no doubt that technology will continue to evolve and we are yet to see more glamour, style, and pomp in the automotive industry as car manufacturing companies continue to outsmart one another to wow the customers and pull them towards their preferred brands.
Every individual who wants to own a car is spoilt for choice with the wide range of mouthwatering stylish designs to choose from.
Now you already know the different styles and designs of car doors as well as the high cost of some amazing and risky designs. It is now upon you as a car enthusiast to choose the design that best fits your interest.