Certain design features go a long way to set a car apart from the crowd. Typically, an exotic car's entire design comes together to achieve this effect, but that overall design relies on many smaller touches and features.
Updated November 2021: Few, if any, car styling features are as cool as gullwing doors, perhaps with the exception of pop-up headlights. For that very reason, we've updated this article with even more cool cars that came with gullwing doors.
Related: 10 Gorgeous Design Features That Should Be On More Cars
While the body of a car, and its curves and lines, go the farthest in making a car look cool or exotic, the individual pieces are usually subject to scrutiny in order to perfect the design. Things like headlights may receive the attention that can transform the front end of a car, but one area that is typically an afterthought on most cars can completely transform the entire look — the doors.
While the average door may not detract from a design, exotic door types like scissor or reverse-opening suicide doors bring a certain level of comprehensive coolness to a car's design.
But, perhaps the best-looking, and rarest of these exotic doors is the gullwing door. Opening straight up like a bird's wings, gullwing doors are undeniably cool, and these 10 cars that use them are the coolest of the bunch.
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12 Bristol Fighter
The Bristol Fighter first saw light of day in 2004. The British supercar was fitted with an 8.0-liter V10 engine from the Dodge Viper. With 525 horsepower and 515 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Bristol Fighter is perhaps the most badass supercar most gearheads have never heard of.
The Bristol Fighter had a sleek and stylish body, side exhaust, a cool rear diffuser, and, of course, those awesome gullwing doors that make it look like something from another planet.
11 Aston Martin Bulldog
Aston Martin introduced the automotive world to the Bulldog concept all the way back in 1980. It's a mid-engined supercar powered by a 5.3-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that develops between 600 and 700 horsepower. That's an astonishing power figure for a car from that era. Inside, we find an ocean of leather and walnut, and even various LED buttons like the ones in the Lagonda.
While Aston Martin estimated that the gullwinged beast would have a top speed of 237 mph, they were proven wrong in 1981, when it managed a top speed of 191 mph. In 1984 the Bulldog was sold for $176,084 to a Middle Eastern collector.
10 Melkus RS 1000
From looks alone, the Melkus RS 1000 could be an Italian exotic sports car from the early '60s, but in reality, the RS 1000 was a product of Communist East Germany. Neither is the RS 1000 a product of the early '60s, instead having been built between 1969 to 1979. Despite the exotic high-performance looks, the Melkus RS 1000 made only 70 hp from its tiny 2-stroke motor and had a top speed of just 109 mph. Weight was on the RS 1000's side, however, tipping the scales at a featherweight 1,500 lbs to make up for the lack of power with snappy agility, and a decent power-to-weight ratio.
At the end of its decade long production, only 101 RS 1000s were made, and all of them came with one signature exotic feature — gullwing doors, making the RS 1000 one of the coolest Communist cars ever made.
9 De Tomaso Mangusta
While De Tomaso is mainly known for their awesome Pantera supercar that blended American V8 performance with European styling and engineering, the Mangusta that predates it is just as cool. Introduced in the late '60s, the Mangusta is sleek, stylish, fast and exotic, with some jaw-dropping styling throughout the car. But one of the Mangusta's most stunning features is the gullwing doors.
Unlike most cars on this list, the doors that lead to the Mangusta's interior are standard opening, instead, De Tomaso opted for gullwing doors in an unexpected location: the engine cover. While it may not make a whole lot of sense, the gullwing doors concealing the engine are jaw-dropping and makes the Mangusta just that much more beautiful.
8 Gumpert Apollo
One of the most brutal supercars to come out of the mid-2000s, the Gumpert Apollo is a monstrous race car for the road. Created in Germany, the Apollo is powered by a twin-turbo V8 sourced from an Audi RS6, and tuned to produce up to 790 hp. Combined with a lightweight and properly stiff chassis, the Gumpert Apollo can do the 0-60 MPH sprint in just 3.1 seconds and hit an insane top speed of 224 mph.
Ridiculous speed and power aside, the Apollo's lunacy is most evident in its styling. While the body has proper racecar-like proportions, and some wild styling touches that set it apart from other supercars, the Apollo also comes with one of the best and coolest features any car can have - gullwing doors.
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7 Apollo IE
It's not often a car maker changes their brand name to that of a previous model of car they produced, but that's what Gumpert did - change their brand name to Apollo. The first car produced after changing their name, the IE (which stands for "Intensa Emozione") is an insane hypercar with outstanding performance and even crazier looks.
While performance on the IE is truly hypercar level, the styling is beyond what any other carmaker has come up with so far, using extreme angles and curves in ways that shouldn't be possible, but look amazing when brought to life. Of course, no extreme looking car would be complete without unique doors, and the IE compliments the overall look with gullwing doors and is all the cooler for it.
6 Mazda Autozam AZ-1
Kei cars remain some of the most interesting vehicles to come out of the Japanese domestic market, with their tiny size and strange yet charming styling. Mandated by Japan's government to be a specific, and very small size, Kei cars don't make a whole lot of sense outside of Japan's narrow streets, but they're undeniably quirky and cool as a vehicle class. But, one Kei car shines as the quirkiest and coolest of them all — the Mazda Autozam AZ-1
Designed to imitate supercar styling in Kei car form, the Autozam AZ-1 is an undeniably cool looking car, even if it may not have the performance to match. The coolest part of the Autozam AZ-1 though would be its doors. Completing the miniature supercar looks, the gullwing doors are one of the most notable quirks on the AZ-1, and a quirk that makes it truly unique.
RELATED: 10 Sickest Japanese Kei Cars We Wish We Had In The US (5 That Are Just Too Ridiculous)
5 Tesla Model X
Technically called "falcon wing" doors in Tesla's official specs and marketing, the Model X's rear doors are in fact gullwing doors by every definition of the term. While the Model X is no supercar, it packs an electric performance punch that allows it to keep up with many dedicated sports or supercars. Combine that with SUV practicality, as well as plenty of futuristic tech, and the Model X's coolness begins to shine.
Combining that futuristic technology with the gullwing doors, the Tesla Model X can automatically open and close them at the press of a button on your phone, adding to the overall cool factor the Model X has.
4 Mercedes 300SL Coupe
Sometimes referred to simply as the Gullwing Mercedes, the 1956 300SL is one of, if not the most beautiful, most refined, and most luxurious sports cars of the mid to late '50s. A masterpiece by Mercedes, the 300SL is incredibly rare, with only 1,400 of the cars being made from 1954 until 1957. As a result, when a 300SL comes up for sale, it usually sells for over a million dollars thanks to its rarity, beauty, historical significance, and influence on decades of car design that followed it.
While the 300SL was still produced after 1957, it was as a roadster without the iconic gullwing doors. Despite that, any 300SL is an awesome car, but the coupe version with gullwing doors remains the coolest and most iconic.
RELATED: Mercedes-Benz Is Making New Fenders For Classic Gullwings
3 Mercedes SLS AMG
One of the greatest German supercars to come out of the 2010s, the Mercedes SLS AMG is a proper tribute to the 300SL of decades past, but with its own unique touches that made it a beautiful and awesome performing supercar. While the flowing body lines, proportions, and grille design are a stark callback to the 300SL, the gullwing doors are the most faithful part, and completes the tribute in the best way possible.
Much like the original 300SL, the SLS AMG introduced a roadster model later in its production life but sacrificed the iconic gullwing doors. Despite that, either version of the SLS AMG is a fantastic car, but the gullwing doors just make it properly unique.
2 DeLorean DMC-12
One of the most iconic sports cars in pop culture, the DeLorean DMC-12 was a complete failure when new, but over time earned its place as a piece of automotive history. While not what you'd call beautiful in the traditional sense, the DeLorean shines with its stereo-typically 1980s wedge shape and crisp body lines. Not only that though, but the body itself is also incredibly unique, being made from exposed stainless steel.
While a disappointment performance wise, the DMC-12's role in Back To The Future as well as properly quirky '80s looks make it a legend today. But one thing DMC-12s will forever be associated with are the gullwing doors that simply look perfect together with the overall design.
1 Pagani Huayra
One of the most stunning modern hypercars, the Pagani Huayra is a rolling piece of art with some insane performance. Creating the Zonda, Horacio Pagani helped revolutionize the supercar scene, having a focus on artistic qualities in harmony with brutal performance. A masterpiece like the Zonda is hard to follow up, but Pagani did just that with the Huayra, creating an even more beautiful and high-performance car than before.
The styling is absolutely stunning and undeniably cool to the point where not much could improve it. But, one feature the Huayra would be lacking without is exotic doors, and it has just that in the shape of some stunning gullwing doors.