We all know that a variety of automotive segments exist. From microcars, to subcompacts, to SUVs, to trucks, sedans, station wagons, and as of recently, various different cars that seem hell-bent on combining multiple segments together. Sometimes all of them at once, with limited success. Between the various kinds of body styles in the car industry, there’s one vehicle type that everyone loves, and yet somehow seems to get the least love; the shooting brake.
The idea behind the shooting brake is quite simple; it’s essentially a station wagon with the two rear doors removed (in most cases). This is a very niche type of car, and automakers haven’t really explored it all that much. Sometimes this leads to artists imagining certain sports cars as shooting brakes. Regardless, shooting brakes have amassed quite the cult following over the years, and there have been tons of cool shooting brakes that we’d love to go for a drive in.
Considering what else Volvo was making back in the 1980s, the 480ES was a major departure from the formula. It was a pioneer; the 480ES was the first Volvo model to be built on a FWD platform. It also just oozed 80s cool.
Not only did it use that hideously outdated but oh-so-cool font for its logos, but it was a shooting brake with pop-up headlights. A few different engines were available, and for being a FWD 80s Volvo, the 480ES was surprisingly sporty. It was never sold in North America, but they are now old enough to be imported.
Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake
Aston Martin has always had a close relationship with Italian design house Zagato, designers of some spectacular cars. In fact, the relationship is so close, Aston Martin has a separate set of badges specifically intended for their Zagato cars. One of the more recent efforts to come out of this Anglo-Italian collaboration is the Vanquish Zagato.
In truth, this spectacular limited-edition sports car was offered as a coupe, convertible, speedster, and the pictured shooting brake. Production numbers were positively minuscule, and as well as the awesome styling, the Vanquish Zagato is based on the Vanquish S, meaning it produced 595 hp and could do 201 mph.
Yes, it’s another Volvo. Then again, Volvo is quite good at making station wagons and vehicles shaped like station wagons, so this should come as no surprise. The 1800ES was based on the P1800, which in turn was based on the iconic Amazon. It featured all the merits (and demerits) of the P1800, but in a practical and cooler shooting brake form factor.
These days, the Volvo 1800 family is best known for two things; the star automobile in the TV series The Saint, and for being totally and completely indestructible; one owner has racked up 3 million miles on his P1800 and is still going strong.
Callaway AeroWagen Corvette
American tuning company Callaway is best known for their work on Corvettes. They built the iconic C4 Corvette Sledgehammer, which could do 255 mph, as well as the bespoke C5 Corvette-based C12 in the 2000s. For the C7 Corvette, Callaway decided to take a completely different approach; a shooting brake conversion.
As well as offering complete tuning packages for the last front-engined Corvette, Callaway will also convert your C7 into a shooting brake. It’s not cheap, but the conversion is expertly done and ensures that your Corvette will stand out in a crowd.
The Jaguar XJS was one of the longest-running sports cars back in the day. It was introduced in the 1970s, and it carried on with minimal changes until 1996. A variety of different models were offered, including a coupe, a regular soft top convertible and a targa roof convertible.
For those who wanted an XJS Shooting Brake, a company named Lynx offered something called the Eventer. New bodywork and totally new glass comprised most of the body, and extensive work was done to the interior. Even though Lynx built the Eventer for 16 years, they’re few and far between.
One of the most interesting things about the Jensen Interceptor is that it’s widely considered one of the first production cars to have standard AWD. Yes, before the Audi Quattro, this British luxury shooting brake was one of, if not the first production car to drive all four wheels.
The spectacular exterior was designed by famous Italian styling house Carrozzeria Touring, and it used a lineup of Chrysler Small Block and Big Block V8 engines. While the Interceptor wasn’t exactly a good car, it was still fabulous to look at, and a company in the UK is ready to modernize a donor car for you if you want to.
Princess Anne had one, you know? That is perhaps the biggest thing the Reliant Scimitar is known for. Or, indeed, the only thing it’s known for. But there’s much more to this shooting brake than one belonging to a member of the Royal Family. And yes, it was made by the same Reliant who made the ridiculous three-wheeled Robin.
The Scimitar was powered by Ford’s Essex V6 engine, which displaced 3.0 liters and made around 130 hp. It wasn’t fast, but it was quite good fun to drive. The second generation model was especially a hit. Journalists and consumers loved this car, and Princess Anne certainly did; she had nine of them.
Lotus is currently in the process of reinventing itself, with the launch of the new Emira and a whole slew of EVs in the pipeline. While the first generation Lotus Elite was definitely a sports car, the second generation was very different, and not to be confused with the Elite concept car from a decade ago.
Not that you could possibly confuse them anyway. While the Elite is definitely a unique piece of design, you wouldn’t exactly call it a looker. Just over 2,500 units were made between 1974 and 1982. Even though everyone remembers the Elan and the Elise and the subsequent models, the Elite seems to have been forgotten.
By the late 2000s and the early 2010s, no one was really offering a shooting brake in the true sense of the word. Ferrari decided to change that with the arrival of the replacement for the 612 Scaglietti. The FF was intended to bring back the shooting brake body style, as well as being the first-ever Ferrari with AWD.
Power came from Ferrari’s sonorous 6.3-liter naturally-aspirated V12, making 651 hp and 504 lb-ft of torque. All that was sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This was a car with four seats, more luggage room than a Fiat Punto… and a top speed of 208 mph. Truly a jack of all trades.
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake
Everyone was shocked when Volkswagen introduced the Arteon back in 2017. As well as the styling, everyone was shocked that VW found a market for such a car with the impending arrival of crossovers. It was a bigger surprise when, with the arrival of the facelift model, VW introduced a station wagon version.
Called the Arteon Shooting Brake, it looks pretty spectacular. While its driving demeanor is a bit more calm, it’s guaranteed to turn heads everywhere it goes, and the R model has a healthy 320 hp to play with. We’ll definitely be sad to see it go when it does.
Massive W12 engines were supposed to remain with aircraft, but they somehow found room to fit in cars, but it didn’t stick around long.
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