The origin of the term shooting brake goes back to the late 19th century when horse-drawn wagons were used to transport hunting parties around a landowner’s estate. Later, in the 20th century, hunting wagons were also put to use carrying guests and luggage to and from their hunting estates. The British still use the term estate car to mean what we call a station wagon, but the French call it a break de chasse, which translates as hunting wagon. The misspelled name hung around as a derivative of the wagon, and the rise of shooting brake as we now know it started in the 1960s. Typically, the term refers to a sporty two-door wagon, but there’s still no official or commonly accepted definition.
The modern shooting brake is the enthusiast’s choice when it comes to blending a sporty car with practicality. If a crossover is too tall, and a wagon is too stodgy, then a shooting brake sits in the sweet spot. With a low slung stance, a sloping coupe-style roof, and extended cargo space in the back, the modern shooting brake is, essentially, a sporty wagon. It makes minimal compromises for a lot more practicality over a straight-up coupe when it comes to daily life or extended road trips. These are some of the more unusual ones out there from recent history.