What Are Scissor Doors? (History and Other Facts)

What Are Scissor Doors? (History and Other Facts)
Lamborghini Countach

A scissor door (or doors) are doors that open vertically by using a fixed hinged beneath the A-pillar and are often referred to as “Lambo doors”.

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Ah yes, the scissor door. One of the most iconic door design elements used in the most exclusive exotic cars. Over the years, car manufacturers have used many different door designs to make their cars stand out. You have the dihedral synchro-helix doors used on all Koenigsegg models, and then you have the butterfly door, which is like the fraternal twin of the scissor door.

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But arguably, no other door design happens to achieve both the visual presence and impact on culture as we see with the scissor door today. Continue reading to find out what makes the scissor door so unique when compared to all the different conventional and non-conventional door designs.

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History of the Scissor Door

The First Concept Car To Use The Scissor Door

Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept

The scissor door was first debuted in 1968 in Alfa Romeo’s Carabo concept car. The design came from the mind of Gruppo Bertone’s Marcello Gandini, a world-renowned Italian designer who was responsible for creating some of the most timeless car designs we see today, such as the Lamborghini Miura and Lancia Stratos.

Gandini looking at a model of the Lamborghini Countach remake

Due to the Carabo’s unusual wedge-shaped design, rear visibility was very limited, and so the easiest solution was to have the scissor door open straight up so the driver can lean outside while reversing. Nowadays, many people do the same thing while driving to “flex” their wealth, but back in 1968, the scissor door was more of a necessity.

Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept

Although the Carabo concept was never intended for production, Gandini carried over the scissor door and wedge-shaped design of the Carabo concept to his next project, the Lamborghini Countach.

The First Production Car To Use The Scissor Door

Lamborghini Countach

While the Alfa Romeo Carabo concept was the first car to debut the scissor door in 1968, the Lamborghini Countach was the first production car to use the scissor door beginning in 1974 all the way until the end of its production run in 1990.

Aside from a few concept releases during that time, no other production car utilized the scissor door design until the Countach’s successor made its debut in 1990, the Lamborghini Diablo.

Lamborghini Diablo

Since then, the scissor door has become the trademark of the most iconic V12-powered Lamborghini supercars, which includes the Murcielago and Aventador.

The scissor door has become synonymous with the Lamborghini brand, but did you know that the scissor door was also used in some other iconic cars such as the Spyker C8, Vector W8 and Bugatti EB 110?

Influence on Modern Culture

Scissor Doors In Music

Due to their association with Lamborghini’s best (and most expensive) vehicles, scissor doors have become widely regarded as a status symbol within modern culture. You can often find singers and rappers including the scissor door or “Lambo Door” within their lyrics as well as various movie protagonists driving these vehicles as a way for their character to flaunt their wealth.

A music video still from "Lamborghini Doors" by Rick Ross

Many rap artists, such as Migos and Rick Ross, have released songs that are specifically named after the scissor door (“Lambo Doors” and Lamborghini Door” respectively). Within their lyrics, they specifically call out how the “Lambo Doors” are things that you rarely see and are hard to obtain, which specifically calls out to their exclusivity and status.

To further elevate that point, you will often find Lamborghini’s with scissor doors in many of these artists’ music videos, such as in rap artist Quavo’s music video for “Lamb Talk” and Lil Pump’s music video for “Butterfly Doors.”

A music video still from "Butterfly Doors" by Lil Pump

Scissor Doors In Movies

Within movies you also often find the use of Lamborghini vehicles, particularly those with “Lambo Doors”, as a way for the movie protagonist to show their wealth.

The Lamborghini Murcielago in The Dark Knight 

We can look back at movies such as The Dark Knight where wealthy philanthropist Bruce Wayne, as played by Christian Bale, is often found getting in and out of his Lamborghini Murcielago.

The Lamborghini Countach in The Wolf of Wall Street

And who can forget the iconic scene in The Wolf of Wall Street, where Jordan Belfort, as portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, crawls out of his Lamborghini Countach—scissor doors open and for all to see. Or how about in Exit Wounds, where DMX’s character goes into a Lamborghini dealership to buy that iconic silver Diablo VT Roadster with scissor doors.

As you can see, the scissor door has made its mark and continues to do so to this day on Lamborghini’s latest V12 flagships.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between scissor doors and butterfly doors?

The main difference is that scissor doors move straight up via hinge points at the bottom of a car's A-pillar, while butterfly doors move up and out via hinges along the A-pillar.

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The distinct design of the scissor doors requires less space to open (on the sides), however, because the butterfly door opens outwards, it makes it easier for people to get in and out of when compared to scissor doors.

Are scissor doors practical?

Yes, scissor doors are very practical. Scissor doors require less side clearance to open and close in very tight spaces when compared to standard doors.

Due to their design, both driver and passenger can open the door and step into the vehicle with less room than what’s needed with a standard door. The only thing to keep caution of is the overhead space since any obstruction can limit or cause damage when the scissor door is fully opened.

Can you put scissor doors on any car?

Yes, there are universal scissor door kits offered online from many brands, such as this universal kit found on Amazon that you can fit on many vehicles (regardless of whether you have a Lamborghini or not). You can also find specifically-made kits for your vehicle with a simple online search.

A common scissor door conversion kit will include redesigned door hinges and gas filled shocks. They are usually bolt-on or weld on and require some modifications to front bumpers and door panels so they can fully open vertically. The original door panels are not replaced, so a vehicle looks standard from the outside when the doors are closed.

How much does it cost to put scissor doors on a car?

Universal scissor door kits range from $200-$1,000+ on Amazon. Some examples of universal scissor door kits that you can do yourself include this $238 set pictured below, which is on the lower price range:

To this $1,200 set below by Vertical Doors, Inc., which is on the higher price range:

According to Jerry, a car insurance provider, scissor door installation by a shop can range from $1,000 to $6,000+, depending on the vehicle and in addition to the cost of the kit. The reason for the large installation range is due to welding and modification to the front bumper and door panels that may be needed to complete the conversion.