Often confused for britspeak for what yankees and aussies call a station wagon, the classic shooting brake is instead a two door with a hatch and enough room in the back for a gentleman hunter to carry his shotguns and of course, the dead birds. A brit would typically call a four door station wagon an estate car though lately the term brake seems to be applied to two and four door variants.
Though the name seems to have originated with special purpose horse drawn carriages and seems to have at first been shooting break, which makes a lot more sense, it is first used to describe a car in the 1920s to refer to a luxury wood-sided wagon, which we yanks would call a woody. One of the first cars to carry that name was a special Rolls-Royce supplied to hunters in India so they could shoot tigers from the comfort of their car as opposed to the back of an elephant. The wood cladding was a practical expedient for repairs if the sides of the car became damaged by marauding boar. Though the use of a luxury car for hunting sounds a bit weird to us in the age of SUVs, Rollers usually have gobs of torque and brass age ones had great ground clearance.
Though there have been a number of production shooting brakes from pretty much all British
car manufacturers over the years (most notably Rolls-Royce
and Aston Martin
), most modern shooting brakes are limited production conversions or even one off variants of standard luxury coupes
from many manufacturers and after market custom coach builders. Even Ferrari
has produced works shooting brakes for Saudi princes
, the Sultan of Brunei
and the like.