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1967 AMC Marlin white with red interior 04 cropped.jpg
1967 AMC Marlin, a full-sized 2 door fastback [1]
Geneva International Motor Show 2018, Le Grand-Saconnex (1X7A1287).jpg
1968 Ford Mustang fastback from the "Bullitt" movie at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show
Citroen CX 2500 Diesel (6063019981).jpg
1978 Citroën CX fastback 4 door sedan
Tesla Model 3 Heckansicht.jpg
Unlike the Tesla Model S 5 door hatchback, the Tesla Model 3 seen here is a 4 door fastback sedan, with a separate trunk

A fastback is an automotive styling feature which is defined by the rear of the car having a single slope from the roof to the rear bumper and depending on how the feature is incorporated into the individual styling is very similar to kammback styling. [2] [3] [4]


Some models (such as the Ford Mustang) have been specifically marketed as a fastback, often to differentiate the model from other body styles (e.g. coupe models) in the same model range. The 4-door coupe is a common branding tool used today to describe fastback sedans.


A fastback is often defined as having a single slope from the roof to the rear of the vehicle. [5]

1974 Leyland Force 7V Coupe (48296806101).jpg
This 1974 Leyland P76 can be considered both a fastback (has a single, uninterrupted slope in the roofline) and a liftback (has a tailgate hinged at the roof).
1965 Rambler Marlin fastback 2015-AMO meet in red and black 3of6.jpg
A fastback tailgate with a fixed rear window (1965 Rambler Marlin fastback)

The term "fastback" is not interchangeable with "liftback". "Fastback" mainly describes the shape of the car and may be applied to fastback sedans (with a fixed rear window) as well as to liftbacks, with an opening rear gate that includes the window.

More specifically, Road & Track have defined the fastback as

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. [6]

In the case of the Ford Mustang, the term fastback is used to differentiate against the coupé notchback body style, [7] [8] which has a steeper rear window, followed by a horizontal bootlid.


Automobile designers in the 1930s began using elements of aircraft aerodynamics to smooth out the boxy-looking vehicles of their day. [9] Some designs that were ahead of their time when exhibited during the early 1930s included "teardrop" streamlining of the car's rear; a configuration similar to what would become known as "fastback" 25 years later." [10] Merriam-Webster first recognized the term "Fastback" in 1954,[ full citation needed ] many years before the popularization of the term "hatchback", which entered the dictionary in 1970. [11] Opinions vary as to whether the terms are mutually exclusive.

Early examples of fastback cars include the 1929 Auburn Cabin Speedster, 1933 Cadillac V-16 Aerodynamic Coupe, 1935 Stout Scarab, [12] the 1933 Packard 1106 Twelve Aero Sport Coupe, [13] Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic, Tatra T87, Porsche 356, Saab 92/96, Standard Vanguard, GAZ-M20 Pobeda, and Bentley Continental R-Type.

In North America the numerous marketing terms for the fastback body-style included "aerosedan", "club coupe", "sedanette" and "torpedo back". [14] Cars included Cadillac's Series 61 and 62 Club Coupes, as well as various other models from General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. By the early 1940s until 1950 nearly every domestic manufacturer offered at least one fastback body-style within their model lineups. In the mid-1960s the appearance was revived on many GM and Ford products until the mid-1970s.

In Europe, there was a sloping rear on streamlined cars as early as 1945, from which, among other things, the shapes of the VW Beetle and Porsche 356 are derived. In the upper middle and upper class, fastbacks were exotic for a long time. The few exceptions included streamlined bodies from the 1940s and Tatra and Citroën cars.

In Australia fastback cars became known as the "sloper" and began to be introduced in 1935 - first designed by General Motors' Holden as one of the available bodies on Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, and Pontiac chassis. The sloper design was added by Richards Body Builders in Australia to Dodge and Plymouth models in 1937, by Ford Australia in 1939 and 1940, as well as a sloper style made on Nash chassis. [15] According to automotive historian G.N. Georgano, "the Slopers were advanced cars for their day". [16]

In Japan, the Toyota AA passenger car first adopted the fastback style in 1936. Toyota AA was strongly influenced by the 1933 DeSoto Airflow. After World War II, the 1965 Mitsubishi Colt 800 was the first Japanese car to adopt the fastback style. [17] The Prince Skyline 1900 Sprint was developed by Prince Motor Company in 1963, but was never marketed. [18] In the Japanese Kei car, the 1958 Subaru 360 adopted the fastback style. After that, all Japanese car makers completed the adoption of the fastback style with the 1967 Honda N360 (Kei car), the 1968 Nissan Sunny Coupe, [19] and the 1968 Mazda Familia Rotary Coupe, [20] 1970 Suzuki Fronte "stingray look", 1971 Daihatsu Fellow MAX. [21] From the late 1960s to the 1970s, the American Coke bottle styling became popular in Japan, and Toyota Motor Corporation proposed a new style called "Liftback" with the 1973 Toyota Celica. [22] [23] [24]

The 4-door coupe re-branding in 2004

A decisive change of course took place in 2004 , when the first generation of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, was launched on the market. It was called a 4-door coupé, a purely marketing term describing the fastback sedan. It had fastback coupé-profiled bodywork, but two doors on each side. The CLS is considered as the forerunner of this market segment, but in reality it can be said that it has dusted off and reinterpreted the concept. It was briefly used on the 1992-1997 Infiniti J30/Nissan Leopard J Férié

It was certainly the first of the new course, and was followed by other competing models, such as the Audi A7 or the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé, but also models of different segments, such as the Audi A5 Sportback, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé, the Volkswagen CC, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, Aston Martin Rapide, and Porsche Panamera. Cars with a 4-door coupe- type body are often classified as crossover cars due to the fact that they combine the characteristics of two different body types in one car.

Aerodynamic advantages

Fatback IT.svg

Fastbacks provide an advantage in developing aerodynamic vehicles with a low drag coefficient. [25] For example, although lacking a wind tunnel, Hudson designed its post-World War II cars to look aerodynamic and "tests conducted by Nash later found that the Hudson had almost 20% less drag than contemporary notchback sedans". [26]

List of fastback cars

Related Research Articles

Station wagon

A station wagon, also called an estate car, estate wagon, or simply wagon or estate, is an automotive body-style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door, instead of a trunk/boot lid. The body style transforms a standard three-box design into a two-box design — to include an A, B, and C-pillar, as well as a D-pillar. Station wagons can flexibly reconfigure their interior volume via fold-down rear seats to prioritize either passenger or cargo volume.

Toyota Celica Motor vehicle

The Toyota Celica or is an automobile produced by Toyota from 1970 to 2006. The Celica name derives from the Latin word coelica meaning "heavenly" or "celestial". In Japan, the Celica was exclusive to the Toyota Corolla Store dealer chain.

Hatchback car body configuration with a rear door that swings upward to provide access to a cargo area

A hatchback is a car body configuration with a rear door that swings upward to provide access to a cargo area. Hatchbacks may feature fold-down second row seating, where the interior can be reconfigured to prioritize passenger or cargo volume. Hatchbacks may feature two- or three-box design.

Coupé Closed two-door car body style with a permanently attached fixed roof which is shorter than a sedan

A coupé or coupe is a passenger car with a sloping or truncated rear roofline and two or three doors.

Sedan (automobile) Passenger car in a three-box configuration

A sedan, or saloon, is a passenger car in a three-box configuration with separate compartments for engine, passenger, and cargo.

Nissan Violet Motor vehicle

The Nissan Violet is a model of car that appeared in Japan in 1973, and was exclusive to Japanese Nissan dealerships called Nissan Cherry Store as a larger companion to the Nissan Cherry.

Toyota Corolla Motor vehicle

The Toyota Corolla is a line of subcompact and compact cars manufactured by Toyota. Introduced in 1966, the Corolla was the best-selling car worldwide by 1974 and has been one of the best-selling cars in the world since then. In 1997, the Corolla became the best selling nameplate in the world, surpassing the Volkswagen Beetle. Toyota reached the milestone of 44 million Corollas sold over twelve generations in 2016. The series has undergone several major redesigns.

Toyota Camry Model series of Toyota cars

The Toyota Camry is an automobile sold internationally by the Japanese manufacturer Toyota since 1982, spanning multiple generations. Originally compact in size (narrow-body), later Camry models have grown to fit the mid-size classification (wide-body)—although the two sizes co-existed in the 1990s. Since the release of the wide-bodied versions, Camry has been extolled by Toyota as the firm's second "world car" after the Corolla. In Japan, Camry was once exclusive to Toyota Corolla Store retail dealerships. Narrow-body cars also spawned a rebadged sibling in Japan, the Toyota Vista (トヨタ・ビスタ)—also introduced in 1982 and sold at Toyota Vista Store locations. Diesel fuel versions have previously retailed at Toyota Diesel Store. The Vista Ardeo was a wagon version of the Vista V50.

Toyota Vitz Motor vehicle

The Toyota Vitz is a three- and five-door subcompact hatchback produced by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota from 1999 to 2019. The "Vitz" nameplate was used consistently in Japan, while most international markets received the same vehicle as the Toyota Yaris, or as the Toyota Echo in some markets for the first generation. The Vitz was available in Japan from Toyota's Netz Store dealerships. Toyota began production in Japan and later assembled the vehicle in other Asian countries and in France.

Toyota Corona Series of automobiles manufactured by Toyota

The Toyota Corona is an automobile manufactured by the Japanese automaker Toyota through ten generations between 1957 and 2001. It was replaced in Japan by the Toyota Premio, It was replaced in Europe by the Toyota Avensis and it was replaced in Asia-Pacific/Americas by the Toyota Camry. It was related to Toyota Mark II and Toyota Carina. Traditionally, the competitor from Datsun/Nissan was the Datsun/Nissan Bluebird. The word "corona" is Latin for "crown", a reference to an earlier vehicle Toyota offered called the Toyota Crown. It was exclusive to Toyopet Store dealership channels in Japan, while the larger Crown was available only at Toyota Store locations.


A notchback is a category of car characterized as having a three-box design where the trunk (boot) volume is less pronounced than the engine and passenger compartments.


A liftback is a vehicle body style with a sloping roofline between 45 to 5 degrees and a tailgate hinged at the roof that is lifted to open.

Toyota Sprinter Motor vehicle

The Toyota Sprinter is a compact car manufactured by Toyota as a variant of the Toyota Corolla. Exclusively sold in the Japanese domestic market, the Sprinter was aimed to be sportier than its Corolla sibling, with the Sprinter being sold at the Toyota Auto Store while the Corolla was sold at the eponymous Toyota Corolla Store, which focused on economical cars compared to the more upmarket Vista store.

Toyota Carina Motor vehicle

The Toyota Carina is an automobile which was manufactured by Toyota from December 1970 to December 2001. It was introduced as a sedan counterpart of the Celica, of which it originally shared a platform. Later, it was realigned to the Corona platform, but retained its performance image, with distinctive bodywork and interior — aimed at the youth market and remaining exclusive to Japanese Toyota dealerships Toyota Store. It was replaced in Japan by the Toyota Allion in 2000 and succeeded in Europe by the Toyota Avensis.

Mitsubishi Colt 800 Motor vehicle

The Mitsubishi Colt 800 is the first of a series of passenger cars with a fastback/hatchback design produced by Mitsubishi Motors from November 1965. It was introduced as a two-door fastback sedan, the first such design in the Japanese market. The series was discontinued in 1971, after the introduction of the company's Galant sedan but without a real replacement.

Toyota Corolla (E70) Motor vehicle

The Corolla E70 was the fourth generation of cars sold by Toyota under the Corolla nameplate.

Toyota Corolla (E90) Motor vehicle

The Corolla E90, introduced in 1987 for the 1988 model year, was the sixth generation of cars sold by Toyota under the Corolla nameplate. It was the last generation of Corolla to be classified as a subcompact car and the first to be exclusively front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive; the performance option of rear-wheel drive was dropped.

Toyota Corolla (E100) Motor vehicle

The Corolla E100 was the seventh generation of cars sold by Toyota under the Corolla nameplate. This generation of Corolla was larger, heavier, and visually more aerodynamic than the model it replaced. With its 2,465 mm (97.0 in) wheelbase, the Corolla had moved into the compact size class once occupied by the Corona and Camry. The Corolla again had an equivalent model Sprinter, with the Sprinter Trueno being equivalent to the Corolla Levin and both exclusive to Toyota Vista Store Japanese dealerships.

Toyota Corolla (E80) Motor vehicle

The Toyota Corolla E80 is a range of small automobiles manufactured and marketed by Toyota from 1983 to 1987 as the fifth generation of cars under the Corolla and Toyota Sprinter nameplates, with production totaling approximately 3.3 million, and most models adopting a front-wheel drive layout.


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  18. プリンス自動車のインサイドストーリ―第5回│プリンスが自作した1900スプリント -
  19. 【旧車】初代サニークーペ「名機A型エンジンを搭載した小さな傑作車」 - Webモーターマガジン
  20. 【昭和の名車 18】マツダ ファミリア ロータリークーペ(昭和43年:1968年) - Webモーターマガジン
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