The term was originally introduced in the 1930s and applied to lighter, more streamlined closed body coachwork fitted by car makers. Rover, for example, had Sports Saloon versions of several of their models.
It was later applied by manufacturers to special versions of their vehicles that allowed them to enter production cars in motor races with extra modifications not normally permitted by the regulations. Such regulations required cars to be homologated typically by selling them in minimum numbers to the public. Some of the earlier examples were the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Triumph Dolomite and Lotus Cortina. The term is also used for flagship cars even when they are not required for homologation. They are also known in the United States as halo cars.
Traditionally sports sedans have a manual transmission and tachometer in order to provide that "sports look and feel" and are rear wheel drive, have good handling characteristics, and adequate power. Because of the US move to automatic transmission and front wheel drive these types are now also to be found in the sport sedan category.
Examples are the: