In the 1930's car manufactures finally started to pay attention to how their automobiles move through the air, instead of just making boxes on wheels. It became stylish to drive a car that had no flat surfaces whatsoever. Heacock offers an extensive history if you're interested.
But I shall offer the opportunity to oggle fastback without all that annoying reading and learning bullshit. Photos and snarkiness is all I offer today. Let's stay on the Dubonnet Xenia Coupé for a moment, because I know what you are thinking you practical Jalop, you, you want to know how one is supposed to put any luggage in the back of of a car whose trunk opening is a tiny triangle. With custom luggage, of course!
As I promised no learning and minimal reading, I'm just going to assume that's one of history's first examples of form-fitting luggage for a car. A car that happened to have the interior of a futuristic fighter plane.
I'm going to move on from the Xenia, but just understand, you aren't ready for its jelly, not even close.
GM did it first, though
Fastbacks were just the classiest way to end a car nascent car designers could think of at the time. It was a gesture to the air the car was disrupting, the fastback gently flowed the air off the back of the car like a little child placing a paper boat adrift on the water. It was the gentlemanly way to disrupt the air. Break it up with a V16 up front and gently release it behind you as if you were never there with GM's first swing at "aero coupes" from Cadillac and Pierce-Arrow
Dem asses tho!
Also, how were Cadillac's interiors so much better 80 years ago than they are now?
Parallel inspiration in Europe
What's interesting about the fastback is that it didn't necessarily spread to Europe due to imitation. Both GM and Mercedes-Benz both release similar cars within about a year of each other, unlikely to have seen each other's work. This was Mercedes's first try:
Actual production units looked more like:
The Frenches weigh in
But then came the French. They came on the scene perhaps aware in some way that oddly-shaped automobiles were and would always be their thing, and dropped Brigitte Bardot-like bombshells:
And no showcase of fastbackery would be complete without Talbot-Lago's effort. Not much room for people in a car so jampacked with style.
Streamlining needs to make a comeback, what's your favorite fastback in history?