Station wagons are rarely seen outside Europe these days. They used to be the standard American family runabout in the 70s, but SUVs are all the craze now. On this side of the pond, there was a kind of non-family station wagon called the shooting brake. It was named so because it was the reserve of people who went hunting. Two doors and a large boot made these the vehicles of choice for storing gun racks and expensive alcohol.
They weren’t all expensive, either. You could buy an MGB GT and brag to your neighbours about Pininfarina and Italian craftsmanship. Princess Anne had a Reliant Scimitar. Volvo had the P1800ES. In the 21st century, this body style is elusive, so much so that we have had to include some four-door models in the definition. That’s how Mercedes has gotten away with calling their CLS and CLA wagons Shooting Brakes. Here’s a list of the last remaining shooting brakes for you to whip up before they are gone.
The misnomer – Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
It has four doors and it used to be a saloon. But Porsche realised how the bloated-911, flattened-Cayenne appearance of their Panamera sports sedan was bringing down a very well-engineered fast car. That’s why the new one has a longer roofline and looks like an older sibling of the anticipated Taycan. The e-Hybrid model of the Sport Turismo has 671 hp, and does 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds. That makes it the fastest estate car in production.
The inexpensive daily driver – BMW M Coupe
BMW stopped producing the M Coupe in 2002, and it is still the car of choice for petrol heads. It is a tiny little car that was sold with multiple engine options, including the coveted S54 3.2-litre which made 315 hp. Only about 5,000 of these were ever sold, so the more desirable models are getting pricier by the day. The clown shoe might look funny, but it is still an impeccable driver’s car. Easy to park, too.
The insane – Callaway Aerowagen
This American car is based on the Corvette. The SC757 package gets 757 hp and 777 lb-ft of torque – not as much as a Dodge Demon, then? It’s supercar fast, taking a mere 2.8 seconds to get to 60 mph. The specs sound mad, and the car is fast like you wouldn’t expect it to be. But it matches power with excellent dynamics – this is a canyon carver.
The rarity – Ferrari FF
The FF was a Ferrari with four seats. It also came with a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system courtesy a second gearbox placed in front of the engine, which sends up to 20% of the 651 bhp to the front wheels. A safe winter car it isn’t, and that’s why we like it. Blends into traffic, unlike any modern Ferrari. Also, it has a 450-litre boot.
The ultra-rare – Aston Martin Zagato Shooting Brake
Only 99 of these have been built by the Italian coachbuilder. Looks unlike anything else on the road. Big and beautiful, the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake can be had with a black roof. A 6-litre V12 propels this car to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. And oh, those tail lamps…