Vertical Doors

By Deane Barker on February 22, 2006

I was reading an article about vertical car doors over at the USA Today. They sell these doors as kits these days, so you can make your Civic very Lamborghini-esque.

Mind you, these aren’t gullwing doors that open to the side then up, these are jackknife-type doors, that open like a scissor — up and forward.

So, I got thinking — as I often do — why wouldn’t a manufacturer offer a car from the factory with vertical doors? It’s very cool, very hip, and why wouldn’t you do it? It can’t be much more expensive.

In fact, vertical doors might come in handy to not have your door open to the side — my wife consistently takes up too much space in the garage for instance. There are nights when I’d love a set of these on my Accord.

But as I thought about it more and more, I decided that it comes down to safety in an accident. Remember that these doors open upwards — over the roof of the car. This means that:

  • The doors would not open if a car rolled onto its roof. Yes, I know that normal doors would not open if a car rolled into its side, but it’s more likely that a car will end up on its roof than its side. Right?

  • Both doors open the same direction — to the top. So this means that if a car did end up on its roof, neither door would open and your Civic would become a nice little bank vault.

    If a car ends up on its side, at least the other door would open, which is a logical benefit of doors that open different directions. For normal doors to get sealed, two sides of the car would have to be obstructed, and this is safer. Right?

  • There’s also the obvious fact that people would be more likely to crack their heads on the doors, but why don’t people crack their heads on the roof of their cars when they get out? You get used to where the obstructions are.

So I draw this conclusion: regular doors are safer than vertical doors. Do you concur? Am I not considering something I should be?

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Comments

  1. … if a car did end up on its roof, neither door would open and your Civic would become a nice little bank vault.

    Not necessarily. If your Civic (or Accord) ended up on it’s roof, it’s likely that a window or two would’ve been blown out getting in that predicament. If not, a window breaker can be had pretty cheaply.

    Another consideration is the lifting mechanism; I would assume that a heavy spring is used to lift the door, but is there a way to open the door if that spring were to break?

  2. You ever been hit in the head/back by a Trunk (boot) door, because its gas cylinders have failed and it won’t stay up? It has happened to me on several occasions, and let me tell you, it Really hurts.

    I assume that the lifting device for the vertical doors would also be prone to failure with age, and I also imagine that a side door is heavier than a boot door.

    So you’d probably end up dodging doors that fall very hard and fast.

    That aside, vertical doors are dead sexy.

  3. You could get around the “won’t open on the roof” thing by having a pin you can pull with an emergency handle that would disconnect the door from the hinge.

    This could be a big help if the carr falls into water and starts sinking.

    Plus, no more door dings in the parking lot!.

    It can’t be much more expensive.

    A regular door is a simple hinge. A vertical door has to pop out, move up and stay there. So that means some exotic slide/hinge/cantilevel/gas lift operation. I would guess that it’s a great deal more expensive. Probably close to the cost of one of those Civic kits.

  4. A vertical door has to pop out, move up and stay there.

    Does it, though? I guess it would depend on the design of the car. If you’re retrofitting, you have to live with the original doorline. But if it’s a new car, you could design it so that the door opens upward naturally.

  5. “Lambo” style doors have to open out before they go “UP”

    This takes care of the landing on the roof problem. There is actually about 20 inches of clearance at the back of the door before it goes up. Depending on the model, that is.

    And the hinges are relitively simple, and cheap to make. Its just steal a few bearings and a gas shock. I’m in the process of making a homemade set right now, and the cost was under three hundred dollars.

  6. My lambo door kit on my prelude has an emergency release system. I have been involved in a roll before with my civic hatch and thought of the factor of what happens if i roll over onto the roof. at the push of a button it has a servo that disables a lock preventing the standard opening motion. have the switch one way. i lift the doors to open them. have it the other way. and i can open the doors normally. i also have a manual release inside of the car too incase power is cut off to the vehicle.

  7. My lambo door kit on my prelude has an emergency release system. I have been involved in a roll before with my civic hatch and thought of the factor of what happens if i roll over onto the roof. at the push of a button it has a servo that disables a lock preventing the standard opening motion. have the switch one way. i lift the doors to open them. have it the other way. and i can open the doors normally. i also have a manual release inside of the car too incase power is cut off to the vehicle.

  8. I think you’re missing the larger point. I am a police officer in a busy CT town. I have seen many accidents including incidents in which the car ends up on it’s side and/or the roof. If in fact your car is involved in this type of accident, whether the doors open normally or not, 99% of the time they’re not going to open anyway. Or more likely the fire department is cutting your roof off.

  9. well im buyin a lambo door kit and as the guy said they go out before up and the ‘out’ angle can be set anything between 20 to 75 degrees it says on the site dependin on who fits it most use 30 degree max coz it looks sexy!

    but in an emergency it wud certainly be a bastard

  10. I have been thinking about getting a vertical door conversion kit and I try to make a pro’s and con list and here’s what I have so far:

    Pro Car looks awesome with a vertical car door even a bucket of rust would look nice with a vertical door I’ve seen it. lol Con a friend of mine mentions that the door is hard to open because it’s too heavy

    Pro because your door will swing to the side a little and then up, opening doors in a crowded parking lot would be ideal Con Because of the weight of the door you have to support the door going up and down. I have not seen any un-biased consumer report on car doors but I imagine if they are heavy going up imagine how heavy they are coming down how often any one has ever got in their car and gently close the dors??

    I ran out of pros the rest are cons now =-)

    Going back to the weight of the door. Can the frame or where ever it is bolted or welded into support that weight after prolonged use? the kit you buy maybe guaranteed to last but none makes claims on how your car structure is going to hold all that heavy movement.

    I’m afraid that what ever the doors kit is holding on to bends or twist and break off. Again I have not seen any claims of this but it is possible right?

  11.                        Can the frame or where ever it is bolted or welded into support that                                                                                                             v                          weight after prolonged use? the kit you buy maybe guaranteed to last v                          but none makes claims on how your car  structure is going to hold all v                          that heavy movement.
    

    Uh… yes the door frame can handle the weight thats why when you buy the car the doors are bolted there… but that just my opinoin

  12. wow you people have exhausted this obviously usless conversation. Half of you obviously know nothing about cars, tolerences ,of any kind materials ,metals etc. and have clearly never had the privelage of owning lambo doors. These things are the shit. Just don’t buy shit ones. end of story

  13. DO YOUR REASEARCH,AND BUY GOOD MATERIAL. THE NEW DOOR ARE REVERSABLE MEANING THEY OPEN LIKE THEY WOULD NORMALYFROM THE FACTORY OR 90 DEGREES STRAIGHT UP.

  14. where can i get a cheap one but still strong for my civic. I live in trinidad the west indies and i am buying online?

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