Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 26th September 2017

A classic car is made up of various components that add to its appeal. They include the seats, wheel, body and windows. A major part of a car that can sometimes be overlooked are the doors. Over the years, there have been a number of innovative door designs, such as the scissor doors found on a Lamborghini. It could be argued they are the most recognisable part of the car. Here are four of the most unusual classic car doors.

Suicide doors

Also known as rear-hinged doors, they have been around since the 1930s. Suicide doors got their nickname from the tendency to injure anyone exiting or entering the offside of the car if the door was hit by a passing vehicle. During the era of no seat belts, there was a greater risk of injury if the doors opened accidentally.

However, the doors did come with advantages. They made entering and exiting a vehicle easier, letting a passenger enter by turning to sit and exit by stepping forward and out. When combined with traditional front doors, they give chauffeurs easier access to the rear door. Today, suicide doors can be found on many kinds of classic Rolls-Royces.

Scissor doors

Designed by Marcello Gandini, scissor doors have become synonymous with Lamborghinis. They work by rotating vertically at a fixed hinge at the front of the door. Marcello designed them in response to his concern over the poor rear visibility of some cars. Scissor doors serve a practical purpose because they allow the driver to lean out to see behind the car when they are reversing.

Swan doors

Found on all Aston Martins, swan doors open at the same angle as the marque’s iconic winged badge. They have an elegance that matches the luxurious appearance of an Aston Martin. But they aren’t just for show. As swan doors open at a certain angle, they allow for easier ground clearance. This means you’re less likely to hit the curb or another car if you’re parked in a tight space.

Gullwing doors

Made popular by the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300SL, gullwing doors look like seagull wings when they are opened. There is a common misconception that gullwing doors are only there to look good, but they are highly practical. When the 300SL was built, it had an aluminum body stretched out over a tubular frame. It rose high over the sides of the car, making it impossible to fit traditional doors.

Engineers responded by creating doors that lifted vertically. Gullwing doors require less side-clearance to open than normal doors and make it easier to get into a car.