On the shooting brake

First question: What is a shooting brake, you ask?

Ask BBC’s TopGear:

Aston once built a DB5 Shooting Brake. It looks good. More so, it has reminded us just how much we like shooting brakes, which are nearly as old as the car itself (though they’ve changed a bit since their inception in the early twentieth century). Originally conceived for hunting game, shooting brakes were described by Commercial Motor magazine as having “seats for eight persons as well as the driver, whilst four guns and a large supply of cartridges, provisions baskets and a good ‘bag’ can be carried” in 1908.

James and Tracy Bond could have used this had Tracy survived “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” to produce next-generation 007s.

Nowadays, they’ve morphed into a sort of cross between an estate and a coupe. Sports car panache. Estate car space. And, more often than not, a soupcon of knee-trembling suave.

Here are some of our favourites.

You know it’s British when “favourite” is spelled with a U and when “whilst” replaces “while.”

1972 Volvo 1800ES

The all-glass rear hatch earned it the nickname Schneewittchensarg (Snow White’s coffin) in Germany, but that didn’t stop Volvo using the outline as inspiration for the 480 and C30.

1968 Reliant Scimitar

Hey, did you know Princess Anne had one? Probably. But then again, who didn’t have one?


The Scimitar’s production run stretched from 1968 to 1990.


I believe “Scimitar” means “looks like a Ford (Mercury in the U.S.) Capri wagon.”

1999 BMW Z3M Coupe


Is it a Shooting Brake? Possibly, though a small one.

It remains one of the better driving things in the history of the automobile, and the divisive styling’s matured well. We’ll take two.

2011 Ferrari FF

Yep, it’s the GTC4Lusso’s forebear, complete with less clunky (though less history-inspired) name.

Basics? 6.3-litre V12, mad grinning face, Ferrari’s first ever four-wheel drive system, and up to 800 litres of luggage space. …

1992 Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake

A mess of older Astons were transformed into shooting brakes by bodyfiller sculptors in the sixties, but this one’s the real deal.

Only four were made by the company’s Works Service and it cost £165,000 back in 1992. Equivalent to £290,000 in today’s money. Crikey.

Which is around $350,000.

2005 Audi Shooting Brake concept

Unveiled at the 2005 Tokyo motor show, this design study was based on the second-gen TT and had a 3.2-litre VR6 engine hiding behind the LEDs.

It didn’t make it to production, but as Audi’s range expands to fill every conceivable niche, it’s surely only a matter of time…

2013 Callaway AeroWagon

It costs £9,100 on top of a new Corvette, it doesn’t hold much more stuff, you don’t get more seats or headroom, and there’s no performance benefit.

But hot diggidy, we still want a poor man’s FF quite a lot.

1972 Ferrari 365 GTB 4 Shooting Brake

The thing about Ferraris these days is they’re far too common; any old millionaire can have one. Far better, then, to go for something like this – a one-off 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB 4 Shooting brake, one of the most outrageous ‘brakes ever built. Starting life as the 805th Daytona off the line, it was fully rebodied by Panther Westwards in Surrey, England and has more than whiff of hearse about it.

But who cares about looking like the world’s fastest funeral carriage when you have a 352bhp 4.4-litre V12 to wring out, and enough boot space to move house?

2016 Toyota GT86 Shooting Brake

“It is a fully functioning, driveable vehicle that has been put through its paces on Toyota test tracks,” explains Tetsuya Tada, GT86 chief engineer. “The GT86’s nicely weighted and direct steering ensures the car retains the coupe’s involving driving experience with a slightly more neutral feel in tight corners.”

2016 Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Yep, the same shape as the old FF. But lots is new. The styling has had a big update while there’s a gamut of new tech, including four-wheel steering, plus an additional 30bhp, and a 208mph top speed. Yikes.

New too is the V8 Lusso T, which does without all-wheel drive and has a turbo’d V8 instead of the big V12. It’s barely any slower and looks exactly the same, but promises to be a fair bit cheaper… Click here to read our review of the V12, and here for more information on the new V8.



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