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						Lamborghini Style Doors 1
Open Sez Me

Tips on Installing Lambo-Style Doors

When you arrive in a customized car, there’s nothing quite so dramatic as opening a set of scissor doors. Since they look conventional while closed, their vertical actuation can be quite a surprise to onlookers, and really make a statement about your personal project car. 

Even though the first car to ever feature scissor doors was a ’68 Alfa Romeo Carabo concept car, the Lamborghini Countach was the first production car to have them, back in 1974. Hence, the name Lambo doors stuck. 

Today, many aftermarket companies specialize in production of scissor door conversion kits for production cars that originally come with conventional doors. A typical conversion kit includes model-specific, redesigned door hinges and gas-filled shocks. Such kits are usually bolt-on but require some slight modifications to front fenders and door panels. Original door panels are not replaced, so a vehicle looks standard from the outside, when the doors are closed. 

While the install shown here is on a Corvette, using a kit from Vertical Doors, Inc., this firm offers conversions for a wide range of domestic and import cars, along with rear and suicide-door kits. Also available are custom hinges for hoods and trunks, plus other related accessories such as shocks, actuators, latches and wire looms. So car builders of all types can likely find components to suit their particular projects.

Note that this conversion does not replace your car’s doors, only the door hinges. For production cars, it’s a bolt-on installation, and you don’t remove the doors during installation, but the mounting surface must be as flat as possible, and might need to be ground down so it’s even. The only other possible modification involves trimming and/ or rolling the edges of the inner fenders for clearance. 

How do the doors function? From inside the car, simply grab the door handle of the car and push it outward about a foot or so. From there the door will stop and not open horizontally any further. Next, grab the bottom of the door and lift vertically. The door will then reach a certain point where it will not lift anymore. (A detent keeps the door from closing on its own, even when the vehicle isn’t level.) At this point you will be able to get in and out of the vehicle, since typically the bottom back portion of the door will be higher than the roof of the vehicle. 

The accompanying photos show the basic steps of an install, moving from one side of the car to the other, since we we were covering a car show at the same time, but the components are identical for both driver and passenger doors. (More detailed installation information is available from the manufacturer.) Once done, this otherwise stock Corvette really opened with a surprise. 

Start by disconnecting the battery and removing the front fenders. Make sure to remove the door catch if so equipped. 

Use two-inch painters tape to mark the factory door location on the vertical and horizontal planes. Also, measure the distance between the apron and front edge of the door by the top and bottom hinge. 

Usually you will need more wire slack, and need to remove the door panel or kick plate. Do not cut your factory wires, however, unless you have no other choice. In order to be able to open and raise the door, cut the factory wire boot in half and add a wire loom to protect exposed wires. 

Cut the inner lips of the fender (and also possibly the wheelwell) to make room for the new Lambo door kit. But cut only enough for the swing arm to move freely, and use a sander or grinder and make sure the surface is completely smooth. Use touch-up paint to protect the exposed material and to give it a finish look. 

Here’s how the replacement hinge actuates the door sideways and vertically. 

Unbolt and remove the factory hinge. 

Make fine tuning adjustments and make sure all pivot points are greased, and then install the shock. You cannot compress the shocks by hand. The shock has 450 to 800 pounds of pressure per square inch. They will not compress until installed on the hinge. 

Bolt on the vertical door hinge (shown here on the opposite side of the car). You’ll need to add grease and Loctite on the shoulder bolt of the hinge, and grease on the shock; otherwise the warranty is void. 

Here’s how the vertical door hinge looks once installed.

After making sure the doors function properly and align with the body, close the doors and reinstall the fenders. Do not install fenders until the adjustment of the door is accurate. 

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