A touring car was a popular car body style in the early 20th century, being a larger alternative to the runabout and the roadster. They were open cars, often fitted with convertible tops. Most early touring cars had a tonneau at the rear giving seating for four or more. Engines on early models were either in the front, or in a mid-body position. Touring cars evolved into the modern sedan/saloon body style.
By the mid-teens in the United States, the touring car body had evolved into a variety of types, with the four door touring car, equipped with a convertible top, being the most popular body style offered.
The majority of Model T's produced by Ford between 1908 and 1927 were four and then three-door models (with drivers sliding behind the wheel from passenger seat) touring cars, accounting for 6,519,643 cars sold out of the 15,000,000 estimated Model T's built. In terms of percentage, the 5-passenger touring car model was Ford most popular body type and accounted for 44% of all Model T's (cars, trucks and chassis) sold over the model's eighteen-plus year life span; Ford's second most popular body style during the same period was its Model T based truck.
Side curtains, when available for a particular model, could be installed to protect passengers from weather elements by snapping or zipping them into place, otherwise, drivers and passengers braved the elements. When the top was folded down, it formed a bulky mass known as the "fan" behind the back seat: "fan covers" were made to protect the top and its wooden ribs while in the down position.
The popularity of the touring car began to wane in the early 1920s when cars with enclosed passenger compartments became more affordable, and began to consistently out-sell the open cars.
Main article Touring car racing
In motorsport, a touring car is one generally possessing a bodyshell very similar to a production model, usually that of a popular saloon (for example, the Ford Mondeo), but with various modifications permitted "under the shell"; these vary according to the series. Touring car racing is very popular in Europe. The World Touring Car Championship, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters in Germany and British Touring Car Championship are examples of touring car championships.