What are the first things in a car that any person touches when they want to get inside? Well, the answer is pretty simple: door handles and the doors. As long as we have had cars, we have had doors, and just like every other part of the car, they too have revolutionized. Ever since the inception of automobiles in the late 19th century, car doors have been transformed numerous times, and they have been made more adaptable to the changing needs, styles, and technological advancements. So, if you are one of those who get intrigued by different types of car doors, then you are in the right place. Following are the types of doors that we have seen on different automobiles over the years.
Simple Hinged Doors (Late 19th Century – Early 20th Century)
When the cars were first developed, they came equipped with some hinged doors which resembled the doors of a house. These doors were very simple and easy to operate. Their primary aim was to provide protection from the dirt and debris found on the road and to avoid its entrance into the cabin.
Suicide Doors (Late 19th Century – Early 20th Century)
Next up in the evolution of the car doors journey, we saw the birth of suicide doors. These were most notably featured in the Ford Model T. The main aim for the creation of these doors was to make it easier to hop into the car. Instead of getting hinged on the front, they were hinged in the rear to provide the ease of ingress and egress. Apart from the Ford Model T, these types of doors also became popular with luxury cars in the later years. Today, Rolls-Royce, the British luxury carmaker, is known for putting these suicide doors in their sedans and SUVs.
Sliding Doors (1940s – Present)
The 1940s saw the evolution of the door where they started sliding instead of getting hinged at one end. These types of doors were and are mostly spotted in minivans and some SUVs. In some places, these simple sliding doors are also called “barn doors.” These types of doors are known and loved for their convenience, especially in tight parking spaces. In India, the most popular car that had these doors was the Maruti Suzuki Omni minivan, which was an icon of the Indian automotive industry.
Gullwing Doors (1950s – Present)
Until now, we saw the doors which are the most common with normal road cars. However, the high-end automobile manufacturers over the years have created some even more amazing door types. The first of such type is the iconic Gullwing door. Bringing a futuristic appearance, gullwing doors were seen on cars like the Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the DeLorean DMC-12. Instead of swinging outwards, they swung upwards like the wings of a seagull. Generally, these doors were reserved for expensive cars because they were hard to manufacture and add to vehicles.
Scissor Doors (1960s – Present)
When it comes to Scissor doors, the only brand that comes directly to mind is the high-performance Italian supercars Lamborghini. The iconic scissor doors open vertically and slightly pivot outwards. They provide an imposing look and are known for their appearance in cars like the Lamborghini Countach. Lamborghini offers this type of door in its V12 flagship model range.
Butterfly Doors (1970s – Present)
Butterfly doors can be called a fusion between the scissor and gullwing doors. These doors pivot upwards and outwards and provide an equally impressive appearance. The legendary hypercar McLaren F1 was one of the first cars to feature this door. Following its launch, the butterfly doors became a staple of McLaren sports and hypercars, and today, most of the McLaren supercars feature these doors and are renowned for them.
Frameless Doors (Various Eras)
Another type of door that has been around for decades is the frameless doors. They do not open in any unique manner and are normally hinged. However, they are added to high-end vehicles to provide a sleek appearance by allowing the window glass to lower without a surrounding frame. The Mercedes-Benz CLS is one of the most iconic cars to feature this type of door.
Electric and Sensor-Operated Doors (Modern Era)
With the progress in technology, we now also have doors that are electrically operated. Unlike normal doors that need a lever, these doors open and close with a push of a button or even remotely. Some luxury vehicles even have sensor-based doors that automatically open upon detecting the key fob. The most common example of such doors is present in electric cars by Tesla Inc.