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20 Classic European Fastbacks That Ruled The Roads

Vukasin Herbez July 17, 2020

3. Tatra 603

Most of the automotive historians agree that if they built the Tatra in France, Germany, or England, it would have become one of the most influential names in car history. However, because they made it in Czechoslovakia, the Tatra 603 never got the respect it deserved. As a company, Tatra was one of the most distinguished manufacturers in car history. It was also an extremely interesting factory, creating the 603 with a specific technical layout, design, and features.

Before World War II, Tatra started experimenting with streamlined, fastback designs and rear-mounted, air-cooled Hemi V8 engines. After the war, Tatra returned to car and truck production, using modernized, updated pre-war designs.

The most popular and characteristic one was the T603 model they introduced in 1956. It featured a strange egg-shaped design with a fastback rear end that was quite aerodynamic. Behind the passenger compartment, there was a 2.5-liter V8 engine producing around 100 HP, enough for respectable performance numbers and solid cruising speeds. The Tatra T603 was a luxury car they exported in limited numbers to other communist countries on selected Western markets. They stopped production in 1975 after building more than 20,000 cars.

2. Audi 100 Coupe

Virtually unknown to U.S. car enthusiasts, the Audi 100 Coupe was an elegant, front-wheel-drive model. Audi produced it from 1969, selling it throughout 1976. Audi based it on its biggest model, adding a totally different fastback coupe body. Since they left the mechanics unchanged, the 100 Coupe didn’t have much performance. The power came from a rather anemic 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.

However, the main thing about this car was its appearance, because the 100 Coupe looked much more upscale and expensive than it really was. With four headlights, a sporty silhouette, and chrome trim, buyers considered the Audi 100 Coupe to be an upscale proposition on the European market.


After the success of the SLS AMG, Mercedes decided to attack Porsche. Knowing that Porsche’s main sports car was the everlasting 911, Mercedes thought a smaller, lighter, and more conventional version of the SLS would be able to keep up with the venerable 911.

That is why AMG presented the GT, a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 powered coupe or roadster. It delivered better performance, more power, and higher top speeds than most 911 versions. With fantastic driving dynamics and several versions, the AMG GT is not only a successful sports car, but it’s also a championship-winning race car with an AMG GT3 version.

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