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A fastback is a car body style whose roofline slopes continuously down at the back. The word can also designate the car itself.[1][2] The style is seen on two-door coupés as well as four-door sedans.

Art Deco fastback: 1935 Stout Scarab

Finned fastback: 1936–1950 Tatra T87

Low-drag fastback: 1949 Saab 92

History

Automobile designs that were ahead of their time when exhibited during the early 1930s included "teardrop streamlining at the rear, similar to what would become known as 'fastback' 25 years later."[3] 'Fastback' was first recognized as a definition by Merriam-Webster in 1954, many years before the term 'hatchback' was popularized and entered the dictionary in 1970.[4] Opinions vary as to whether the terms are mutually exclusive.

A contributor to an automotive-interest website singles out the unusual Stout Scarab from the early 1930s as "[p]ossibly the epitome of the early fastback definition".[5] The Packard 1106 Twelve Aero Sport Coupe,[6] introduced in 1933, is cited elsewhere as a fastback that foreshadowed trends which continued into the 1940s.[7]

Early European fastback automobiles include: Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic, Porsche 356, Saab 92/96, Standard Vanguard, GAZ-M20 Pobeda, and Bentley Continental R-Type.

Numerous fastbacks were also made in America, where the style was previously called "torpedo back".[8] They included Cadillac's Series 61 and 62 Club Coupes as well as various models from General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.

At the 2007 EyesOn Design annual car show, entries from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s in a class called "Fabulous Fastbacks" included Nash Ambassador, Buick Roadmaster and Hudson Commodore models.[5] A "Return of the Fastbacks" class at this show included examples from the 1960s and 1970s with a Buick Riviera, Ford Mustang Cobra, and an AMC AMX among others.[5]

At a 2007 concours d'élégance in England, a similarly named class for 1950s cars attracted examples from Maserati,[9] Lancia,[10] Fiat [11] and Ferrari.[12]

Aerodynamic advantages

Rear-engined fastback: Porsche 356

Fastbacks provide an advantage in developing aerodynamic vehicles with a low drag coefficient.[13] The Kamm tail is a related concept. The trend towards a more steeply raked rear window on traditional three-box sedans blurs the distinction between fastback and notchback designs. The current Lexus LS460 exemplifies the trend.[citation needed] However, the roof of a true fastback design slopes down continuously to the rear, most often to the base of the trunk at the rear bumper. There is no distinct change of angle to a rear deck, whereas most four-door cars with steeply raked rear windows have less angled trunk lids; also high tails to maximize cargo space. In 2008, the fastback design appeared on a concept car that almost defies categorization, the Chrysler ecoVoyager, that "Jack Telnack, former design chief for the Ford Motor Company, declared, 'It’s a fastback van.'"[14] New types of crossover vehicles and different body proportions made possible by technological advances and new powerplants, are changing the shape of automobiles. Traditional nomenclature describing distinct vehicle bodies, such as the three-box sedan (engine compartment, passenger cabin and trunk) will vanish.[14]

Fastback types

Fastback but also a hatchback/liftback: late-model Toyota Celica

Hatchbacks and liftbacks

When the rear window of a car with a fastback profile is integral to a lid or 'fifth door' (i.e. a hatch) giving access to the trunk area, the car may also fit the classification of hatchback or liftback. The late-model Toyota Celica and the Chevrolet Vega are examples.

Road & Track's definition of a fastback addresses this distinction: "A closed body style, usually a coupe but sometimes a sedan, with a roof sloped gradually in an unbroken line from the windshield to the rear edge of the car. A fastback naturally lends itself to a hatchback configuration and many have it, but not all hatchbacks are fastbacks and vice versa."[15] Some small family cars have evolved over time from fastbacks into liftbacks without altering their profile, e.g. Fiat 127, Volkswagen Passat, and Citroën GS.

Two-door fastbacks

1950 Chevrolet Fleetline, one of several American fastbacks

GT fastback: race-prepared 1966 Toyota 2000GT

Hardtop fastback: 1967 Rambler Marlin

Pony car fastback: 1968 Ford Mustang

Small fastback: Fiat 127 first series

Four door fastback: Citroën CX

Modern fastback: Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

  • 1931-1936 Stout Scarab [16]
  • 1934-1937 Pierce-Arrow[17]
  • 1936-1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
  • 1938-2003 Volkswagen Type 1 (Beetle)
  • 1947-1966 Volvo PV
  • 1948-1965 Porsche 356
  • 1948-1949 Cadillac Series 61 and Series 62 Club Coupe Sedanet(te)[18]
  • 1948-1952 Hudson Commodore
  • 1948-1955 Bristol 401, 402 and 403
  • 1949 Tatra T601 Monte Carlo (Finned Fastback)
  • 1949-1951 Nash Ambassador Airflyte
  • 1949-1979 Saab 92/96
  • 1950-1950 Martin Stationette[19]
  • 1953-1955 Bentley Continental R-Type
  • 1961-1975 Jaguar E-type[20][21]
  • 1963-present Porsche 911
  • 1964-1969 Plymouth Barracuda
  • 1965-1967 AMC Marlin
  • 1965-1978, 2005-Present Ford Mustang
  • 1966-1970 Oldsmobile Toronado
  • 1966-1967 Dodge Charger
  • 1966-1973 Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback (dates are from U.S. lineup)
  • 1966-1976 Jensen Interceptor
  • 1967-1973 Maserati Ghibli
  • 1968-1973 Ferrari Daytona
  • 1968-1973 Ford Fairlane Torino/Torino SportsRoof
  • 1968-1978 Lamborghini Espada
  • 1968-1969 Mercury Cyclone
  • 1968-1972 Oldsmobile 442 and Cutlass
  • 1968-1974 Volkswagen Type 4
  • 1969-1974 Ford Capri
  • 1969-1976 Audi 100 Coupé S
  • 1969-1978 Nissan S30
  • 1970-1981 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 1970-1977 Ford Maverick and Mercury Comet
  • 1970-1975 Mitsubishi Galant GTO
  • 1970-1981 Pontiac Firebird
  • 1971-1977 Chevrolet Vega
  • 1971-1980 Ford Pinto
  • 1972-1987 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV-6
  • 1975-1980 Buick Skyhawk
  • 1975-1980 Chevrolet Monza 2+2 and Monza Spyder
  • 1975-1988 Nissan Silvia
  • 1975-1980 Oldsmobile Starfire
  • 1975-1977 Pontiac Astre
  • 1976-1977 Mercury Capri II
  • 1976-1980 Pontiac Sunbird
  • 1978-1979 Buick Century
  • 1978-1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon
  • 1979-1987 Mercury Capri
  • 1980-1991 Audi Quattro
  • 1981-1987 Audi Coupé GT
  • 1982-Present Chevrolet Corvette
  • 1986-1988 Pontiac Fiero GT
  • 1992-2003 Ferrari 456
  • 1979-2002 Toyota Supra
  • 2003-2005 Smart (automobile) Roadster Coupe
  • 2004-Present BMW 645Ci
  • 2004-Present Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
  • 2004-Present Bentley Continental GT
  • 2006-2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
  • 2006-Present Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
  • 2008-Present Altima Coupe

Four-door fastbacks

  • 1933-1935 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow[22]
  • 1933-1936 Riley Nine (Kestrel)
  • 1934-1938 Tatra T77/T77A (Finned Fastback)
  • 1936-1939 Tatra T97 (Finned Fastback)
  • 1937-1950 Tatra T87 (Finned Fastback)
  • 1946-1952 Tatra T600 Tatraplan (Finned Fastback)
  • 1946-1958 GAZ-M20 Pobeda
  • 1947-1953 Jowett Javelin
  • 1948 Tucker[23]
  • 1948-1952 Hudson Commodore
  • 1948-1954 Hudson Hornet
  • 1949-1951 Nash Ambassador Airflyte
  • 1950-1953 Tatra T87-603
  • 1955-1958 GAZ-M72 (M20 4x4 conversion)
  • 1951-1957 FSO Warszawa (Polish M20 clone)
  • 1968-1974 Volkswagen Type 4
  • 1969-1978 Citroën Ami 8
  • 1970-1979 Citroën GS
  • 1972-1982 Lancia Beta Berlina
  • 1973-1981 Volkswagen Passat
  • 1974-1990 Citroën CX
  • 1975-1984 Lancia Gamma Berlina
  • 1976-1986 Rover SD1
  • 1978-1980 Buick Century
  • 1978-1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon Brougham
  • 1990-1998 Mazda 323F
  • 2005-Present Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
  • 2006-Present Citroën C6
  • 2009- Porsche Panamera
  • 2009- Aston Martin Rapide
  • 2009- Audi A5 Sportback
  • 2009- Volkswagen Passat CC
  • 2010- Audi A7 Sportback
  • 2010- Honda Crosstour/Accord Crosstour
  • 2011- MG 6

See also

References

  1. fastback. (2008). Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved on August 14, 2008.
  2. fastback. The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English 2008, originally published by Oxford University Press. Retrieved on August 14, 2008.
  3. Georgano, Nick N. (editor) (2000). The Beaulieu encyclopedia of the automobile. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 960. ISBN 9781579582937. 
  4. hatchback. (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Clements, Rob. "EyesOn Design 2007 Report". Ultimatecarpage.com. Retrieved on 18 March 2011.
  6. Packard 1106 Twelve Aero Sport Coupe photo, retrieved on August 15, 2008
  7. Adler, Dennis (2004). Packard. MotorBooks/MBI, 960. ISBN 9780760319284. 
  8. "The Forty-Niners", Time magazine January 24, 1949. Retrieved on June 20, 2008.
  9. 1954 Maserati A6G54 Zagato photograph. Retrieved on August 15, 2008.
  10. circa 1958 Lancia Flaminia Zagato photograph. Retrieved on August 15, 2008.
  11. 1958 Fiat 8V photograph. Retrieved on August 15, 2008.
  12. "Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France photograph". italiaspeed.com/2007. Retrieved on 2009-07-03.
  13. Noffsinger, Ken R. "The G-Series Wind Tunnel Test Report" retrieved on 2008-05-23.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Patton, Phil. "Looking at the Slope of Things to Come," The New York Times, January 20, 2008, retrieved on August 14, 2008.
  15. Dinkel, John (2000). Road & Track Illustrated Automotive Dictionary, Bentley. ISBN 0-8376-0143-6.
  16. King, Jenny. "EyesOn Design show focuses on breathtaking aerodynamics" Detroit News, June 26, 2007, retrieved on August 14, 2008.
  17. "1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937 Pierce-Arrows" by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide of Consumer Guide, June 20, 2007, retrieved on August 14, 2008.
  18. Gunnell, John: Catalogue of Cadillac 1903-2005 p. 136. KP Books 2005, ISBN 0-87349-289-7
  19. Jay Leno’s Garage "1950 Martin Stationette" article dated March 15, 2008. Retrieved on May 31, 2008.
  20. Smale, Glen: "The sleek fastback shape of the rear bodywork..." Jaguar E-type: Portrait of a design icon p. 77, Haynes Publishing 2007. ISBN 1-8442-338-4
  21. Thorley, Nigel: "roof slopes back (fastback) to form a side-opening door with...rear screen..." (author’s parentheses) Jaguar All the Cars p. 71, Haynes Publishing 2005, ISBN 1-84425-001-6
  22. "1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow" by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide of Consumer Guide, June 20, 2007, retrieved on August 14, 2008.
  23. "How Tucker Cars Work" by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, June 13, 2007, retrieved on August 14, 2008.

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