AskDefine | Define fastback

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. A motor car having a continuous slope from the roof to the rear

Extensive Definition

A fastback is a car body style with a roofline that slopes continuously down at the back. The term refers to a vehicle with a fixed rear window. While 'fastback' was first recognized as a definition in 1954, decades before the term 'hatchback' was popularized, it is commonly understood that these terms are mutually exclusive.
Examples of fastback automobiles from the late-1930s through to the early 1950s include classic American models like the Nash Ambassador, Buick Roadmaster, and Hudson Commodore.
Fastbacks can be two-door coupés or four-door sedans.

Aerodynamic advantages

Fastbacks provide an advantage in developing aerodynamic vehicles with a low drag coefficient. 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. 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.

Confusion with hatchback and liftback cars

Fastback is a U.S. term - in the UK, true fastbacks are so unfamiliar that no word exists for them. They are often mislabeled as hatchbacks, which by definition are different vehicles where the entire rear portal or 'fifth door' including the window will open. For example, the Rover 800 liftback is not a fastback.
In profile, hatchbacks and fastbacks can occasionally be confused, since both are two-box designs. A hatchback that looks like a fastback, but has a rear window integral to the hatch and a luggage compartment integral to the cabin, is properly termed a liftback. All liftbacks are hatchbacks with a fastback's profile, but a true fastback is neither a liftback nor a hatchback. For example, a combi coupé (liftback) versions of the Saab 900 can be confused with a true fastback.
Some fastbacks have a trunk area that is not discrete or separate from the cabin, while others are just like notchback sedan/coupé layouts but with a very steep rake for the rear window.
Some small family cars have evolved over time from fastbacks into liftbacks without altering their side profile - the Fiat 127, Volkswagen Passat, and Citroën GS for example.

Examples of two-door fastback cars

Examples of four-door fastback cars

Notes

fastback in Polish: Coupé
fastback in German: Schrägheck
fastback in French: Bicorps
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