The American Road #12: 3-Door SUV – USA Shooting Brake.

Bill Crittenden continues his series: The term “shooting brake”, rarely heard in the American automobile market, in modern usage refers to a type of car that combines aspects of a coupé and station wagon. Essentially, it’s most often a 2-door or 3-door station wagon (pick your name…they both refer to two side doors and one rear door).

Sometimes it’s misapplied to 5-door wagons with an aggressive slope to the rear end, because the word “hatchback” would be thoroughly inappropriate for marketing a $50K Mercedes CLS-Class.

I was thinking of this as I saw an old Chevrolet Tahoe a few days ago at the store. This was a full-size SUV, and this version had just one door on each side. I couldn’t think of a single shooting brake car in the American market in the past couple decades, but the 1990’s saw Chevrolet and Ford compete with these 2- or 3-door SUVs. The thought just came to me: this is the American’s shooting brake.

Of course, there were more two/three-door SUVs than just the Explorer Sport, Tahoe, and Blazer. However, vehicles like the Chevy Tracker have short bodies and are more like hatchbacks on 4×4, and the Jeep Wrangler is just in a genre unto itself.

This leaves me now wondering, where did they all go, and why won’t they make another?

How cool would it be if Dodge made Hemi-powered two-door Durangos in classic muscle car colors like Go ManGo or Sublime Green? How about a two-door Cadillac Escalade? Ford Flex? Lincoln MKT? Anybody?
Bill Crittenden
Owner: The Crittenden Automotive Library.