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Notchback is a form of car body style; in different parts of the world the precise definition varies. The term is common in the United States where it refers to the typical "three-box" design of sedans.<ref>Dictionary of Automobile Terms 1998 - 2008, retrieved on 2008-05-24.</ref>


A notchback, unlike a hatchback or fastback, is characterized by a near-vertical drop-off from a car's roof to its trunk. All notchbacks are "three-box" designs – three clearly separate areas for engine, passengers, and cargo. Seen from the side, the section forward of the windshield can be viewed as one box; the section with doors and windows is the second; and the third box is the trunk. Because the third box extends from below the back window, the design is called a notchback.<ref>Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: notchback. Retrieved 2008-05-22.</ref> Although notchback is usually a synonym for sedan, many coupés have notchback-type designs as well.

Passenger sedan aerodynamics can affect many areas of a vehicle's performance, such as fuel efficiency, stability, handling, and noise levels. Notchback vehicles exhibit a complicated near-wake flow, the structure of which is still not understood.<ref>Gilmore, Brendan R., Saunders, Jeffrey W., and Sheridan, John. (2001) "Time Averaged and Unsteady Near-Wake Analysis of Cars" in Vehicle Aerodynamics Design and Technology by Society of Automotive Engineers Staff, Mark Gleason, pp. 191-198. ISBN 978-0768007473</ref> <ref>Jenkins, Luther N. (200) An Experimental Investigation of the Flow Over the Rear End of a Notchback Automobile Configuration, abstract, retrieved on 2008-05-24.</ref>

As aerodynamic efficiency becomes an ever-greater focus in automobile design, the distinct angle between rear window and decklid that characterizes the traditional "notchback" is gradually diminishing: most of today's four-door sedans feature a long, sweeping roof line that transitions through a shallow curve into a short, more horizontal decklid—i.e. the notchback is vestigial. However, drag-reducing (e.g. Streamlines, streaklines, and pathlines) production automobile design dates from the late 1930s.

United States

General Motors claims that the 1940 Cadillac Sixty Special introduced the "streamlined notchback" styling that influenced roof and rear deck styling of a broad range of vehicles until World War II<ref>"1940, The Cadillac Sixty Sets Another Styling Trend" General Motors Corporation, undated, retrieved on 2008-05-24.</ref>

The notchback design was common across U.S. automakers and automobile types. A styling trend emerged during the 1960s where rooflines on many two-door models were made smoother with steeper slope of the rear window or more arc (a style that American Motors described as a "modified fastback") whereas, many four-door sedans featured a more upright, elegant roofline.<ref>"1967-1968 AMC Ambassador by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, 2007-10-11, retrieved on 2009-03-10.</ref> General Motors' intermediate-size two-door models featured a roof lines with a traditional notchback, recessed ("tunneled") rear window between the sailing roof panels. The marketing term "formal roof" was coined for the steeply-angled version seen on certain American cars of the 1980s such as the two-door Mercury Cougar and the C- and G-body cars from General Motors, and the 1985-1991 N-body cars. The "formal roof" styling of the 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme hardtop coupe is said to have "promised affordable elegance". <ref>"Oldsmobile's 1973-1977 Intermediates" by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, 2007-08-20, retrieved 2009-03-10.</ref>


Other uses and other countries

Notchback can also refer to liftback or hatchback vehicles, if there is a discontinuous line from roof to rear bumper.

The term first became common in British English when used for the European Mark III Ford Escort and the slightly later Ford Sierra, both of which have hatchbacks, but also a residual trunk hump.[citation needed]||}} Officially (in Ford terminology) the shape of these hatchbacks was Aeroback.

In British English a "three-box" sedan<ref>Chambers Dictionary (British English): sedan Retrieved 2008-05-22.</ref> is more generally known as a saloon.<ref>Chambers Dictionary (British English): saloon Retrieved 2008-05-22.</ref> Although the term appears in a few British English publications (see refs), "notchback" is not a term that is used in common parlance in Britain.<ref>"a car with a back that extends approximately horizontally from the bottom of the rear window so as to make a distinct angle with it" Concise Oxford English Dictionary Eleventh edition, p. 977. Oxford University Press 2006. ISBN 0199296340</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>


See also