World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gullwing doors

Article Id: WHEBN0003660987
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gullwing doors  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Butterfly doors
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Gullwing doors



This article is about the type of car door. For the aircraft wing shape, see Gull wing.

Gull-wing door (German: Flügeltüren) is an automotive industry term describing car doors that are hinged at the roof rather than the side, as pioneered by the 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300SL race car (W194) and its road-legal version (W198) introduced in 1954.

Opening upwards, the doors evoke the image of a seagull's wings. In French they are portes papillon (butterfly doors). The papillon door, slightly different in its architecture from a gullwing door – which Jean Bugatti designed in 1939, fourteen years before Mercedes-Benz produced its similar, famous 300SL gullwing door – is a pre-cursor, but is often overlooked when discussing "Gull-wing" design. Conventional car doors are typically hinged at the front-facing edge of the door and the door swings outward in a horizontal plane.

Apart from the Mercedes-Benz 300SL of the mid-1950s and the experimental Mercedes-Benz C111 of the early 1970s, the best-known examples of road-cars with gull-wing doors are the Bricklin SV-1 from the 1970s and the DeLorean DMC-12 from the 1980s. Gull-wing doors have also been used in aircraft designs, such as the four-seat single-engine Socata TB series built in France.[1]

Practical considerations

Despite the common misconception that the gull-wing doors are mere stylistic affectations, the design is a very practical one in a tight urban parking space. When properly designed and counterbalanced, they require little side-clearance to open (about 27.5 cm, or 11" in the DeLorean[2]) and allow much better entrance/egress than conventional doors. The most obvious downside to having gull-wing doors is that, should the car roll over and come to rest on its roof, exit by the doors would be impossible, requiring a large wind screen opening to escape. The DeLorean had a windscreen that was able to be kicked out of place in the event of a roll-over.

A Volvo concept car (Volvo YCC) that was designed by and for women had gull-wing doors to make it easier to lift shopping bags or children into the car.

Design challenges

Gull-wing doors have a somewhat questionable reputation because of early examples like the Mercedes and the Bricklin. The 300 SL needed the door design as its tubular frame race car chassis design had a very high door sill, which in combination with a low roof would make a standard door opening very low and small. The Mercedes engineers solved the problem by also opening a part of the roof. The Bricklin was a more conventionally sized door but the actuation system was problematic in day-to-day use and led to unreliable operation until an aftermarket air-door upgrade was installed in all Bricklins.[3] In addition, there was some concern that in making the doors as light as possible they wouldn't provide adequate protection in side-impact accidents. There was, however, no indication that this concern was justified.

The DeLorean solved these problems by using a solid-steel torsion bar (supplied by Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation) to counterbalance a full-sized door and then used simple pneumatic struts similar to those found in hatchback cars to open the doors and damp their movement.

Other disadvantages of the system were not so easy to address. For example, the gull-wing design makes creating a convertible version of the car harder, as the hinges would be removed with the roof, and standard doors would be needed for the convertible. Mercedes did so when replacing the gullwing coupe altogether with the 300SL roadster in 1958. It was never a concern for DeLorean since no convertible version was ever planned.

It also makes sealing the car against water leaks more difficult because of the shape and movement path of the door itself. Many DeLorean owners report leakage when taking their vehicles through automated car-washes because of the high-pressure water jets, though in ordinary rainfall the seals are more than adequate.

List of automobiles


The following is a (partial) list of production and kit automobiles with gull-wing doors:

Production cars

Kit cars

Gullwing doors are common in kit cars and many were made that are not included on this list. They were almost always one of the most mechanically problematic parts of these vehicles.

Aircraft

  • Cessna 350
  • Socata TB

See also

References

External links

  • List of gullwing cars, with pictures
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.