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    Thread: The History of the Hatchback? What was the first one? when was the term coined?

    1. 12-19-2009 12:50 PM #1
      Does anyone know the answer? is there a definitive one? What was the first automobile to be described and/or sold as a "hatchback"? I'm curious to know when the word itself came into being along with the cars that it defines.


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      12-19-2009 01:14 PM #2
      If it's not THE first, it's up there...1947 Kaiser Traveler. Kaiser continued with the Traveler bodystyle when their new 1951 cars debuted:

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      12-19-2009 01:22 PM #3
      Wow.

      And 60yrs later, people still prefer sedans with mailbox slots. Ugh.

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      12-19-2009 01:32 PM #4
      First one?

      1938 Citroën Traction Avant Commerciale

      Wiki told me so...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatchback

      PS: Long live the Golf




      Modified by Ski The East at 10:35 AM 12-19-2009


    5. 12-19-2009 01:43 PM #5
      anyone know the first car advertised as the "hatchback?"

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      12-19-2009 01:46 PM #6
      It had to be VW or Audi.

      Quote, originally posted by MGQ »
      Does anyone know the answer? is there a definitive one? What was the first automobile to be described and/or sold as a "hatchback"? I'm curious to know when the word itself came into being along with the cars that it defines.


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      12-19-2009 01:55 PM #7

      Is it really considered a hatchback if it has a tailgate?

      Next edit by onebadbug; tomorrow at 10:13 AM.

      What you get isn't always what you see.

    8. 12-19-2009 02:00 PM #8
      What about the decline of the hatchback in the USA I can't figure why hatchbacks have become less popular in this country. I remember back in the 70's how mainstream consumers flocked towards them. Supposedly they started equating hatchbacks with economy and cheapness after that, and hatchbacks started to decline after that. I can understand how they created this psychology since back then when you mentioned "hatchback" thoughts of Hondas, VW's, Chevys, etc hit your head. While most luxury manufacturers stuck with the trunk in the USA.

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      12-19-2009 02:02 PM #9
      [QUOTE=onebadbugIs it really considered a hatchback if it has a tailgate?[/QUOTE]

      A rose by any other name...

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      12-19-2009 02:09 PM #10
      Quote, originally posted by onebadbug »

      Is it really considered a hatchback if it has a tailgate?

      I was thinkin' the same as you, then I remembered....

      Hatch with a tailgate, and it's arguably one of the most famous hatches ever.


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      12-19-2009 02:14 PM #11
      Quote, originally posted by The Hybrid QB »
      What about the decline of the hatchback in the USA I can't figure why hatchbacks have become less popular in this country. I remember back in the 70's how mainstream consumers flocked towards them. Supposedly they started equating hatchbacks with economy and cheapness after that, and hatchbacks started to decline after that. I can understand how they created this psychology since back then when you mentioned "hatchback" thoughts of Hondas, VW's, Chevys, etc hit your head. While most luxury manufacturers stuck with the trunk in the USA.

      meanwhile, didn't we go through the same energy crisis & recession in canada?

      yet hatchbacks are EVERYWHERE here in the vancouver area of bc.


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      12-19-2009 02:15 PM #12
      false^^^^

      the golf/gti is the most famous hatch ever.
      The EG civic is all good but the GTI is most definitely the most famous hatch ever

      oh yeah. in for some info on the etymology of the word "hatchback"

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      12-19-2009 02:17 PM #13
      I see a lot of PT Cruisers, Chevy HHRs, Chevy Aveos, Ford Focus HBs, Pontiac Vibes, Toyota Matrixes, Honda Fits, Mazda3 5 doors, Mini Coopers, and the VW Golf is reasonable popular in my neck of the woods. I think that most manufacturers have realized that to sell HBs in larger volumes, this bodystyle has to offer more than basic transportation. The PT, HHR, and Mini dress the function of the HB in a more stylish and evocative skin than basic transport. The Mazda3, Fit, Golf/GTI, and again Mini offer performance on top of functionality.

      Quote, originally posted by The Hybrid QB »
      What about the decline of the hatchback in the USA I can't figure why hatchbacks have become less popular in this country. I remember back in the 70's how mainstream consumers flocked towards them. Supposedly they started equating hatchbacks with economy and cheapness after that, and hatchbacks started to decline after that. I can understand how they created this psychology since back then when you mentioned "hatchback" thoughts of Hondas, VW's, Chevys, etc hit your head. While most luxury manufacturers stuck with the trunk in the USA.

    14. 12-19-2009 02:25 PM #14
      Quote, originally posted by Das Borgen »
      false^^^^

      the golf/gti is the most famous hatch ever.
      The EG civic is all good but the GTI is most definitely the most famous hatch ever

      oh yeah. in for some info on the etymology of the word "hatchback"

      I think he was just saying that eg is fairly famous and has a tailgate. You VW fans are rabid.


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      12-19-2009 02:52 PM #15
      First thing that came to my mind was a Citroen.
      Bro, do you even lift? When you only have 90 horsepower, you don't ever lift.
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    16. 12-19-2009 02:55 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by konigwheels »

      Hatch with a tailgate, and it's arguably one of the most famous hatches ever.

      The Civic seems to have been a phenomenal success in the US to an extent it never reached in Europe. Over here, until the last two generations (more widely accepted, especially Type Rs / Types S's (fake Type Rs) it was firmly the old aged pensioner (over 65) choice; as was the Dodge Neon of all things. Yet both those cars are much more 'youth' oriented in the NA market? Odd how two places can take on the same car so differently.

      The FATF movies had a big impact though (annoyingly) and gave the Civic a bit more street cred, so you now see modded Civics in the UK. Which is funny, because they were all probably owned by someones Grandad a few years ago. Before those movies a modded Civic was extremely unlikely - it was always Fiestas / Corsas / Novas / Astras / AXs / 205s etc.

      Quote, originally posted by Das Borgen »

      the golf/gti is the most famous hatch ever.
      The EG civic is all good but the GTI is most definitely the most famous hatch ever

      The Golf GTI is roughly level with the 205 GTI in terms of 'fame' IMO - you just didn't get the 205 in NA. The Golf is accepted as the first 'hot hatch', though it can be argued it wasn't even that as the Renault 5 Alpine slightly pre dates it...

      ...but that's by the by, as 'hot hatches' evolved from 'hatches' generally. I think the first 'hatchbacks' (excluding the split tailgait options - literally one panel that lifts on a flat backed car) may be the likes of the Renault 4?

      ...which in time evolves into the 'hatch' shape we know today (1975 Vauxhall Chevette)

      ...but having said that, a 'hatch' could mean a few body styles, including an MGB or Triumph GT6...


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      12-19-2009 02:56 PM #17
      Quote, originally posted by onebadbug »

      zomg! A folding seat!


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      12-19-2009 03:18 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by InfraRedline »
      I think he was just saying that eg is fairly famous and has a tailgate. You VW fans are rabid.

      I think he was saying that it was considered a hatchback despite having a tailgate, and also that he considers it to be one of the most famous hatches ever. What he said comes off as two separate statements.

      Doesn't the CRX have a tailgate? IMHO, when I think "hatchback", it comes to mind much sooner than the EG does, whether or not we're limiting that to hatches with tailgates. Of course, he did say "one of the most famous", and not "the most famous" - I wouldn't disagree that it'd make the list somewhere, regardless of whether or not there are other hatches that might be more famous than it is.


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      12-19-2009 03:20 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by konigwheels »

      I was thinkin' the same as you, then I remembered....

      Hatch with a tailgate, and it's arguably one of the most famous hatches ever.

      awww snap sweet JDM hood notch!


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      12-19-2009 03:21 PM #20
      Quote, originally posted by Mikedav »
      ........... The Golf GTI is roughly level with the 205 GTI in terms of 'fame' IMO - you just didn't get the 205 in NA. The Golf is accepted as the first 'hot hatch', though it can be argued it wasn't even that as the Renault 5 Alpine slightly pre dates it... .....

      And you can put the Alfasud in with those two.

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    21. 12-19-2009 03:24 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by whitejeep1989 »
      I see a lot of PT Cruisers, Chevy HHRs, Chevy Aveos, Ford Focus HBs, Pontiac Vibes, Toyota Matrixes, Honda Fits, Mazda3 5 doors, Mini Coopers, and the VW Golf is reasonable popular in my neck of the woods. I think that most manufacturers have realized that to sell HBs in larger volumes, this bodystyle has to offer more than basic transportation. The PT, HHR, and Mini dress the function of the HB in a more stylish and evocative skin than basic transport. The Mazda3, Fit, Golf/GTI, and again Mini offer performance on top of functionality.

      At the same time too, I don't see any Accord or Civic hatchbacks in Honda showrooms. While back in the beginning it was hatchback or nothing in their case. In fact back in the 70's hatchbacks were so popular, even Buick and Olds had them. I remember they had some body styles too that resembled a hatchback even though they had conventional trunks.

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      12-19-2009 03:44 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by Das Borgen »
      false^^^^

      the golf/gti is the most famous hatch ever.
      The EG civic is all good but the GTI is most definitely the most famous hatch ever

      oh yeah. in for some info on the etymology of the word "hatchback"

      Uh.... that's why I said "arguably one of the most famous" You can't call the statement false when I didn't say anything was definitevly true.

      Why must people fight me today?!




      Modified by konigwheels at 2:46 PM 12-19-2009


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      12-19-2009 03:45 PM #23
      Quote, originally posted by z0d »

      Doesn't the CRX have a tailgate?

      The CRX is a straight up hatchback.


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      12-19-2009 03:47 PM #24
      Toyota/Scion has the Matrix, Prius, xA, and xB. Chevy will soon have the HHR, Volt, Beat, and Aveo HBs. Ford will have the Focus and Festiva HBs. Chrysler/Dodge currently have the Pt Cruiser and Caliber, with the Fiat 500 coming soon. Honda has the Fit and Insight. Mitsubishi has the Lancer HB, and will be bringing the Colt here again. Nissan has a HB Versa. Hyundai/Kia has numerous HBs. I am not sure how many HBs you want there to be, but there are plenty of them out there. One could also argue that the smallest crossovers could be considered HBs (Hyundai Tuscon, Nissan Rogue, Jeep Compass, Mitsubishi Outlander).

      Quote, originally posted by The Hybrid QB »
      At the same time too, I don't see any Accord or Civic hatchbacks in Honda showrooms. While back in the beginning it was hatchback or nothing in their case. In fact back in the 70's hatchbacks were so popular, even Buick and Olds had them. I remember they had some body styles too that resembled a hatchback even though they had conventional trunks.

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      12-19-2009 03:55 PM #25
      Quote, originally posted by Das Borgen »
      the golf/gti is the most famous hatch ever.
      The EG civic is all good but the GTI is most definitely the most famous hatch ever

      That's a very tough call bro.

      My choice for a first car, at age 15, came down to a 1994 Civic Hatch or a MKIII Gold. I chose the Civic. 10+ years later, I still own it and I also now own a MKV R32.


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      12-19-2009 03:59 PM #26
      I re-read the title of the thread, and still can't see where it says "single-piece" hatchback anywhere. Does the Citroen's or the Kaiser's small extra gate negate the hatches accompanying them? Hudson was another that experimented with a body type similar to the Citroen in the mid-thirties, btw.

      The automotive world, alas, did not start when imported makers popularized old, yet dormant ideas in the 1970s.

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    27. 12-19-2009 04:10 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by vwlarry »
      I re-read the title of the thread, and still can't see where it says "single-piece" hatchback anywhere.

      ...to me, hatchback (by it's modern definition at least) does infer one piece though...otherwise this is a hatch no?



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      12-19-2009 04:12 PM #28
      Quote, originally posted by konigwheels »
      The CRX is a straight up hatchback.

      Maybe I'm just getting thrown off because the "hatch" is very often referred to as a "tailgate" - and not just by owners, but in documentation and parts diagrams.


    29. Swallow Doretti
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      12-19-2009 04:12 PM #29
      Quote, originally posted by Das Borgen »
      false^^^^

      the golf/gti is the most famous hatch ever.
      The EG civic is all good but the GTI is most definitely the most famous hatch ever

      oh yeah. in for some info on the etymology of the word "hatchback"

      Take your FAIL and GTFO. You're so full of sh!t right now that your breath smells like a FJ Cruiser.

      Mikedav is right--the first hatchback in any sense is the '38 Citroen, while the first modern hatchback is the '61 R4. The term hatchback showed up around 1970--about ten years later.

      Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hunt classified listings for a 1951 Traveler.


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      12-19-2009 04:15 PM #30
      Well, technically, yes. You're throwing a truck into a conversation about passenger cars, though, which does seem like a bit of a stretch, instead of a qualifier, at least to me. But, since everyone insists that the older cars cannot possibly be hatchbacks, then have it your way. I have my own notions about such things, and I'm sticking with 'em.
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    31. Get Off My Lawn!!! vwlarry's Avatar
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      12-19-2009 04:18 PM #31
      Brian, The '61 Renault may be in a neck-and-neck race with another 1961 debutante that also had a (one-piece, mustn't forget to honor the new rule) hatchback in the rear:

      Do you enjoy old cars and long-winded stories about them? If your answer is "yes", then you might enjoy my blogpage. Try it here: http://vwlarry.blogspot.com . Leave a comment, too; I love feedback! Thanx for reading.

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      12-19-2009 04:19 PM #32
      Quote, originally posted by InfraRedline »

      I think he was just saying that eg is fairly famous and has a tailgate. You VW fans are rabid.


      Quote, originally posted by Swallow Doretti »

      Take your FAIL and GTFO. You're so full of sh!t right now that your breath smells like a FJ Cruiser.

      Mikedav is right--the first hatchback in any sense is the '38 Citroen, while the first modern hatchback is the '61 R4. The term hatchback showed up around 1970--about ten years later.

      Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hunt classified listings for a 1951 Traveler.


      ok, Konikgwheels, you're right about your statement about the EG being "arguably" the most famous one......But I do firmly believe the GTI is the most famous hatch ever.... maybe not the best


      PS: not a VW fanboi. I've had more hondas than VWs and more ducatis than VWs

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      12-19-2009 04:20 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by Mikedav »
      Before those movies a modded Civic was extremely unlikely - it was always Fiestas / Corsas / Novas / Astras / AXs / 205s etc.

      That may be part of the reason. The US didn't really get most of those.

      Fiesta-only sold here for a few years in the late 70s-early 80s
      Nova-only hatchback version we got was the Chevy Nova of the late 80s that was a rebadged Corolla
      Astra-Didn't come out until, what, 2007? And nobody bought them.
      AX-Citroen hasn't been in the US in a long long time
      205-Peugeot's US distributor decided not to bring the 205 here because they thought it wouldn't sell. Then everybody stopped buying the 505s they were selling, and never started buying the 405s they were selling, so they left.

      So, the Civic was one of the most widely available options for a hatchback.

      Deal with it.
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    34. Swallow Doretti
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      12-19-2009 04:23 PM #34
      Quote, originally posted by vwlarry »
      Brian, The '61 Renault may be in a neck-and-neck race with another 1961 debutante that also had a (one-piece, mustn't forget to honor the new rule) hatchback in the rear:

      Well, as I alluded to in my post, you're both right. The Citroen was the first hatchback of any style, and the Renault was the first hatchback in the modern sense.

      As for the Jaguar, while it's absolutely delicious, I think the R4 actually did beat it to market by a few months.


    35. Swallow Doretti
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      12-19-2009 04:25 PM #35
      Quote, originally posted by Das Borgen »
      ok, Konikgwheels, you're right about your statement about the EG being "arguably" the most famous one......But I do firmly believe the GTI is the most famous hatch ever.... maybe not the best

      Except it doesn't change the fact that you're still wrong. The Golf (and not the GTI) certainly is a famous hatchback, and arguably one of the most famous, but overall, the Citroen Traction Avant still is arguably the more famous than the Golf.


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