Jeep patent shows off doors Bronco fans will recognize

An interesting patent has surfaced that was filed for by Jeep about three years ago that has only now been published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Anyone who recalls the Ford Bronco that was originally revealed will remember the doughnut-style doors the bright orange prototype wore. Those doors look like normal half doors but had cutouts in their centers.

Unfortunately, Ford never made those doors a production option for the new Bronco, but the newly published patent from Jeep seems to indicate it might bring similar doors to market. A very common modification that Jeep owners make to their vehicles when they remove the doors is to add tube doors to their vehicle. A tube door is pretty much what it sounds like; it's a door constructed using steel tubes with the point of letting more air into the cabin while offering the occupants more protection than driving with no doors at all.

Other than offering protection and letting more air into the cabin, tube doors do have a practical application as well. They allow the driver to easily see through the door while off-roading to see any obstacles they are trying to avoid or drive over. Jeep's patent would be a viable alternative to tube doors and appear to be the half doors Jeep has long offered with a cutout in their center.

The upside to doughnut doors of this type is that they flow better with the lines of the Jeep than tube doors. They can be painted in body color and give drivers a better view of obstacles outside the vehicle than normal half doors. Typically, Jeepers running normal full or half doors have to hang their head outside the vehicle to see what's going on in the blind spot directly under the doors and to the vehicle's sides.

For drivers who get overly focused on what's going on directly beside and under their vehicle while slowly creeping forward over obstacles, it can be easy to get whacked in the head by tree limbs or other obstacles. Having a doughnut hole in a half door might prevent the driver from having to poke their head outside the protection of the vehicle chassis.

The Drive reports that the patent has strange verbiage, which isn't uncommon in patents. The patent is titled "automobile" and is a patent for a design aesthetic with no real hard technical details. It appears to be a four-door Wrangler with Jeep's existing half-doors with holes cut in the centers. However, some of the art in the patent does show what the structure inside the vehicle would look like.

Having never seen the inside of Jeep's half-doors, it's impossible to say if any structure inside the doors has to be removed or redesigned to enable the doughnut hole to be cut into the door. Presumably, the half doors have to pass crash tests, but that may not be the case since the doors are easily removable. A half-door would provide more occupant protection than no door at all.

It may be as easy as simply cutting a hole in the existing door, but the patent doesn't clarify that. The line art seems to indicate the openings in the door are beveled with a wider opening on the outside than the inside. There does not appear to be any type of glass covering the opening, indicating the hole would be open to allow more air into the cabin.

Over the years, we've certainly seen that just because an automotive manufacturer files a patent for something, that does not mean the patented item will ever come to market. However, Jeep fans certainly love their accessory doors and spend big money on desirable parts. If Jeep did produce these half doors with the doughnut openings, they would certainly be popular, and Jeep fans would be ecstatic.

Jeep could wrap availability for the new doors into its existing dual door group that allows owners to buy both doors with glass windows and half doors in one package. A triple door group would be an interesting option, and there's always the chance that the half doors would simply be stamped with a hole in the middle, and the existing half-doors with no hole might be discontinued.