Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about the ‘newest’ automotive fad: shooting brake or break designs.
From elaborate concepts, like the Mercedes-Benz Concept Fascination or the recent Shooting Break, to real-life applications like the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, this new hatchback coupe combination is taking the auto world by storm.
But before designers around the world hailed it as the second coming, the term had a more antiquated definition and was used for simpler activities.
Curious to learn just what the shooting brake or break terms mean? Then hit the jump and find out.
The term comes from the 19th century, when cars and automobiles were still up there with aliens and aircraft in terms of dreams. Back then, horses were all the rage. Sadly, as with any pesky animal, they first needed to be tamed and forced to learn how they should pull a carriage around.
This is where the brake comes in. It was a type of carriage used to ‘break’ in young or wild horses. Because people were a bit simpler and because the two words are homonyms, the variation was easily accepted.
Slowly but surely the denomination was used on larger carriages. When hunters began using them to haul around their weapons, equipment and sometimes partners, the ’shooting’ term joined.
Coming back to more recent times, some car designers began to adopt this philosophy and came up with elongated wagons, sometimes with two front doors and a hatchback, or side hinged ones in the rear. Seeing as how wagons or tourers were also popular at the time, the ‘Shooting brake/break’ name came back, denouncing a refined but a bit more practical design.
Such designs aren’t wagons though, as they are usually accompanied with longer front ends and a sloping rear, creating the illusion of a coupe. While in some cases they can generate huge interest, like the Mercedes concepts, in other cases they might spark some heated arguments, like the BMW 5 GT.
Either way, seeing as how more and more people are starting to like this type of design, you can expect other companies to jump on the shooting brake … wagon.
What do you believe? Do such cars have a place on today’s roads or do we just need to stop the fad and opt for either a wagon or coupe? Share your thoughts below.
This has been a part of our RPMGO Answers feature, which tackles various automotive debates or questions, and tries to find a simple explanation or to reveal all sides of the discussion.
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