The Coolest Shooting Brakes Ever Made
Before I get more wise ideas and start dragging Yogi Bear into this, let's head back to the 1920s, when SUVs weren't even envisioned, though tourers were comparable in size, and available cars weren't quite suited for a long weekend's hunt. It was a time when "brake" was used to describe a chassis and "shooting" was all about guns and bears or deers on the other side of the barrel. Actually, the shooting brake term is older than the car itself, as it was used in the United Kingdom to describe carriages used to move shooting parties around.
Being a passionate hunter in the early 20th century must have been pretty tough when you had to carry all your equipment, your friends, your family, and so on. In order to get a suitable car, you had to appoint a coach builder to make you a station wagon from an existing car. Having cars built like that wasn't uncommon back in the day, because many automakers such as Bugatti, Rolls-Royce or Duesenberg were providing rolling chassis. But it wasn't cheap by any means, hence very few such pre-shooting brake vehicles were built. The production shooting brake started to appear in the 1950s (the Chevrolet Nomad comes to mind), but it wasn't until the 1960s and 1970s when these type of bodies started to flourish, as more and more enthusiasts wanted a special custom-designed station wagon based on exquisite cars, such as Aston Martins or even Ferraris.
Speaking of Aston Martin, I am aware that the DB5, DB6 and DBS shooting brakes are extremely popular, and no serious Top 10 should be conceived without at least one of them, but those British masterpieces aren't among my all time favorites. Being devoted to a car is of course subjected to subjectivity, so to speak, but I like to think that I have enough sane reasons to like at least three shooting brakes more than any two-door wagon-tailored Aston Martin.
Jan Wilsgaard's Baby
8,077 units were built in 1972 and 1973, after which production was halted mainly due to the increasingly rigorous safety requirements in the US. Volvo considered updates to be too expensive and simply pulled the plug on the 1800ES. 8,077 examples aren't that many when compared to large volume cars, but among shooting brakes is a respectable, if not huge amount. Thus, thousands of Volvo 1800ES models have survived and a lot of them can be had for decent prices, cheaper than a new mid-size sedan. Classic, great-looking, affordable? It had all that, and in my book, that beats exclusivity.
Still considered one of the strangest Ferrari to survive to this day, the Vignale was unveiled at the 1968 Turin Show. Since then it has travelled from Philadelphia to Virginia and then to Paris before finding its peace in Jay Kay's garage. The Vignale's specs are still impressive after 45 years: 305 HP coming from a 4.0-liter V12, 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.3 seconds, and top speed rated at 152 mph (245 km/h). You know what I like most about it besides the intriguing design? The yellow over green paint job. Who says a Ferrari has to be red anyway?
The Type K Concept
Did I startle you by mentioning Pontiac and Pininfarina in the same sentence? Not to worry. The initial Type K was designed in 1977 by David Holls and Jerry Brockstein under the direction of General Motors. Italian automotive designer and builder
There's a great deal of cool shootings brakes to be buttered up. Most of them are a rare sight, while others may show up on your daily route. Cars such as the Ferrari FF or the Volvo C30 have managed to keep the shooting brake flame alive to this day. I'm sure each and everyone of you has grown to like at least one specific sleek two-door station wagon. Now do tell, what's you favorite shooting brake?