1950s / 1960s / 1970s / 1980s / Abarth / Alpine / American / BMW / British / Chevrolet / Czech / Fiat / French / German / Hillman / Hino / Italian / Japanese / Mazda / NSU / Porsche / Renault / Russian / SEAT / Simca / Skoda / Spanish / Subaru / Tatra / Volkswagen / ZAZ

Topical advertising: Rear-engined cars

Rear-engined cars were particularly popular in the 1950s and 1960s because installing the engine behind the rear axle freed up a generous amount of space inside the cabin. This space often came at the expense of cargo capacity and handling, and rear-mounted engines were quickly phased out once automakers started toying around with front-mounted engines that were installed transversally.

Rear-engined cars all but disappeared from European and American roads over the course of the 1980s, and up until recently the biggest players in the field were Porsche and Daimler’s smart division. However, Renault surprised the automotive industry when it announced the next Twingo will be its first rear-engined car since the 8 was phased out in 1973. Scheduled to go on sale this summer, the third-gen Twingo will ride on a platform jointly developed with smart and rumors indicate a performance-focused version of it will arrive this fall wearing a Gordini nameplate.

What was your favorite rear-engined car? Do you think other automakers will follow Renault’s lead and return to rear-mounted engines?

Alpine A110

BMW 700

Chevrolet Corvair Rampside
1961 Chevrolet Corvair 59 Pick-up

Fiat 500

Fiat-Abarth OT1600

Hillman Imp

Hino Contessa

Mazda Carol

NSU Prinz

Porsche 597-2 Jagdwagen

Renault 8 Gordini

SEAT 800

Simca 1000 Rallye 2

Škoda 100

Subaru R-2

Tatra T613-2

Volkswagen Brasilia

ZAZ 968

4 thoughts on “Topical advertising: Rear-engined cars

    • Hino originally built Renault 4CV then Dauphines under licence, before basing their own designs on them, so the Contessa was developed from the same family tree as the R8 and 10.

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