Doors are often an afterthought on most vehicles, even for the people that own them. Like any other element of car design, they can be a boring design that is overlooked, or evidence of impressive technological and design mastery. Here are our picks for the 10 vehicles with the coolest doors.
The most awesome car of the 1990s has very slick butterfly doors. Rather than opening straight up like scissor doors, butterfly doors have a hinge that allows them to pivot outward as they go up. Picture any McLaren with its doors open, or the Ultima GTR, Saleen S7, or Ferrari Enzo. The F1 is the pick here though, as its doors are uniquely styled, in addition to the amazing world record holding car they are attached to.
Doors are for the sane. When you are building a Lamborghini concept car, sane won’t do. While the bodywork on this single-seat concept is pretty wild, a mix of stealth fighter and Speed Racer’s Mach 5, the means of entry is really cool. An orange tinted canopy lowers over the driver, further enhancing the fighter jet effect. There is no cooler windshield/door combo out there.
Mercedes-Benz 300SL (or SLS)
The original cool door car. Built off a successful ‘50s racecar, the 300SL was the car to have if you were a well-off car guy, or golden age Hollywood star. Gorgeous, light, with an incredible interior, the 300SL had a lot to offer, but what made it an icon were the doors. In a production first, Mercedes created the gullwing by having the doors hinged at the top, rather than the traditional front location. While it looked impossibly cool, the high sill made entry and exit somewhat an awkward chore. Probably worth it though.
You were thinking the Delorean DMC-12 would be on here, eh? Gullwing doors are very cool and actually practical, but John Delorean was not the first to put them into production. In the mid-‘70s, the Bricklin SV-1 put the first powered gullwings into production. Unlike that ratty time machine from the ‘80s, the Bricklin only needed the bush of a button, and the car would automatically open the door. That’s some rad high-tech. It’s too bad the entire car suffered fro mid-‘70s build quality, including the cool doors.
Tesla Model X
The Model X instantly became the coolest crossover on the planet when it was released in 2015. While the electric SUV costs a good chunk of change, it is the quickest SUV on the planet, and can save you loads of cash by never having to fill up at the gas station. Easily the best design feature is the rear falcon doors, which is Tesla marketing speak for modified gullwing doors. There’s an extra hinge, and several sensors that can see obstacles, allowing the Model X to open the passenger doors without hitting anything in your cluttered garage. Neat.
“Nice Lambo, dude!” yells the uninformed bro to any car with scissor doors. This goes back decades, as almost every Lamborghini since the Countach has worn these distinctive vertically opening doors. Back in the ‘70s, it must have been mind blowing, but now it’s nearly expected on every brand of supercar, from the Bugatti EB110, to the Koenigsegg Regera.
The BMW Z1 was a small two-seat roadster with modern style and a typical 1980s feature sliding doors. No, this ain’t no minivan. What seemed like the way of the future with huge sales of terrible minivans, BMW added small doors to the Z1 that slide straight back. While it adds complexity and weight, it also prevents door dings, and allows easy entry when that jerk in the BMW 3-Series parks too close to you.
“Suicide doors” have been on a number of makes over the years, but no one made them as famous or as iconic as Lincoln. Back when Lincoln was cool (yes, way back), the big sedans were the most profitable market segment, Lincoln was killing it with the suicide door Conti. It was cheap to produce, with just the hinges moved to the other side of the rear doors, but made for a dramatic and unencumbered entrance to the vehicle. Unfortunately, it also made a weak point, and side-impact crashed killed the suicide door.
The Middle East’s first hypercar is appropriately bonkers. Sporting a RUF derived 3.7 liter flat six making over 700hp, everything about the HyperSport is extreme, from the 15 carats of diamonds in the headlights, to the suicide swan doors. Rather than simply tilting up like on some commoner’s Lambo, the HyperSport’s doors are hinged near the top, rear side of the door. It goes up, back, and tilts the outer door to face rearward. It’s a crazy look, but totally befitting a three-and-a-half million dollar car.
The only standard opening doors on this list, the Testarossa’s big doors are classic ‘80s nostalgia and engineering. The long “cheese grater” side strakes running the length of the doors initially received mixed reviews, as if critics knew they would end up all over ‘90s FWD Pontiacs someday. Still, the strakes were functional, allowing large body openings for cooling the radiators in countries where large body openings were banned. The doors, while conventionally opening, serve as a critical piece of the cooling system, and just plain look neat.
Have a favorite vehicle with some awesome doors? Let us know what we missed, or add your own vehicle with the coolest doors in the comments below.