Varyingcoefficient linear models arise from multivariate nonparametric regression, nonlinear time series modelling and forecasting, functional data analysis, longitudinal data analysis and others. It has been a common practice to assume that the varying coefficients are functions of a given variable, which is often called an <i>index</i>. To enlarge the modelling capacity substantially, this paper explores a class of varyingcoefficient linear models in which the index is unknown and is estimated as a linear combination of regressors and/or other variables. We search for the index such that the derived varyingcoefficient model provides the least squares approximation to the underlying unknown multidimensional regression function. The search is implemented through a newly proposed hybrid backfitting algorithm. The core of the algorithm is the alternating iteration between estimating the index through a onestep scheme