The Shooting Brake.
The shooting brake is a well-known body style among carlovers.
As a matter of fact it is a cross between a sportscoupé and a stationwagon, combining the best features of both into a unconventional and very attractive format. The name of the body type – shooting brake – has a strong historical connection to hunting: this is what vehicles for transporting hunters and all of their ammunition, including hunting dogs, used to be called in Britain in the 19th century. This car body style originated in the 1890s as a horse-drawn wagon used to transport shooting parties with their equipment and game.
The first automotive shooting brakes were manufactured in the early 1900s in the United Kingdom. The vehicle style became popular in England during the 1920s and 1930s. They were produced by vehicle manufacturers or as conversions by coachbuilders. The term was used in Britain interchangeably with estate car from the 1930s but has not been in general use for many years and has been more or less superseded by the latter term.
Over time, this term began to be used for spacious estates, but today the shooting brake is most associated with a two-door model resembling a stationwagon of strange proportions.
The 1954 Chevrolet Nomad combined the sleek styling of a sports car with the versatility of station wagon. Built with a “glass fiber reinforced plastic” body, the Nomad was two-door with space for six passengers. It was built on modified 2.92m Chevrolet wagon chassis to give it the extra space necessary for this seating capacity. The Nomad also had an electrically operated rear window that automatically retracted into the tailgate when unlocked or could be remotely controlled by a button on the instrument panel. The Nomad was most lauded of the three Corvette dream cars for 1954. A larger version of this concept appeared for the 1955 model year and the nameplate would appear on concepts in the late 1990s and 2000s.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, several high end European manufacturers produced two-door shooting brake versions of their sports cars, including the 1960 Sunbeam Alpine Shooting Brake and 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake.
The 1966 Sunbeam Alpine was a limited-production three-door variant of its two-door open sports car with leather interior and walnut trim, selling at a price double its open counterpart and marketed as a shooting brake. The Aston Martin DB5, DB6 and DBS shooting brakes were custom manufactured by coachbuilder Harold Radford from 1965 to 1967.
A prototype DB5 shooting-brake was custom produced by the factory for David Brown, an avid hunter and dog owner, and a further 11-12 coupés were custom modified for Aston Martin by independent coachbuilder, Harold Radford. In August 2019 a DB5 sold for a record $1 765 000 (£1 456 000) making it the most valuable Shooting Brake bodied-car of any marque sold at auction.
The great Italian cardesigner Pininfarina has tried 3 times to make a production-model of this type.
First in 1971 when he designed the 504 Riviera for Peugeot.
In 1974 he made another attempt with the 130 Maremma for Fiat.
Finally it came in 1982 with the Gamma Olgiata for Lancia. Unfortunately in all cases it never came to serial production and they remained a one-off.
In 1992, Aston Martin manufactured in-house a limited production shooting brake variant of its Virage/Vantage.