They first appeared on an Alfa Romeo concept car, the Carabo, in 1968. This car was the work of the famous and prolific designer, Marcel Gandini, whilst he worked for Bertone. Gandini was also the man who penned the Lamborghini Countach prototype that was the start of the scissor door style that we have seen on many of their models.
When they first came out they would have been seen as a futuristic design – mind you the Countach was mind blowing in its own right! The Countach was the first production car to have them fitted and Lamborghini then put them on the family tree: the Diablo, the Murcielago and the Aventador. So in effect these doors have seen a continuous 40-odd year feature of this marque.
As you can imagine, the doors look like the blades on a pair of scissors and have a single fixed hinge mounted near the A pillar of the vehicle. The doors move upwards as opposed to outwards on typical doors and they are therefore great in tight spaces and they could allow for more space for entry and exit. This depends on where the vehicle is parked I suppose!
There are always nay-sayers who say they are dangerous because if the car ended up on the roof, the doors may not open, however I suspect that this has been factored into the newer Lamborghini’s to ensure they pass crash tests. All the forum talk is about kicking out the windscreen, however that assumes the occupants are still functioning after the car has flipped – and also assumes that anyone has the strength to kick out a windscreen bonded to the bodywork. The other consideration is that with a low centre of gravity, the vehicle would have had to have a significant external force to flip it.
There are several specialist coach-builders and custom car builders that try and retro fit them to other cars, however, to me they need to be part of the original designer’s vision to work properly.