Tesla Model S Shooting Brake: we drive electric estate

They say that all great ideas start in a pub. Science has yet to explain why – probably because no one has produced a coherent post-session report – but the evidence suggests that an upper lip dampened with foam of beer really motivates a creative mind.

For some, these large pubs have the best ideas lost in the mists of a hangover, but, for others, something really awesome can follow. Take the Tesla Model S Shooting Brake you see on these pages, which has been coined at The Bird in Hand near Hethel, Norfolk.

“The three of us had a catch-up chat and a pint of beer during lunch when we thought”, says Dorian Hindmarsh, managing director of the coachbuilding company Qwest that produced the car. “Phil, who had just bought a Model S P90D, he said that he had a place to bring his dogs, so Jim said why don’t you make wagon. Roll on 18 months and there is no one sitting outside.”

Phil Hayton, director of Qwest, and the man who with courage, has allowed the dismantling of its Model S to make the world’s first battery-electric shooting brake, liked the idea of a property, because it would provide more space for Ted, his six-year-old labradoodle. Jim Router, a technical genius with 40 years of experience, joined the adventure as the director of the department of engineering with the confidence that he said it would be “a breeze” to convert the lounge.

Of course, it is inevitably more complicated than that, as the Router says after our visit to Qwest is Dereham basis for a look at the finished car. “The challenge was trying to design the changes so that they are repeatable,” he says, standing next to the carbon fiber tub of a Jaguar XJR-8 and a 1:8 scale McLaren F1 model, memories of old projects has played a key role. “It’s no good just cutting it, and we had to leave all the main structural parts there is, therefore, the zones of deformation are concerned.” This is where the Router involvement paid dividends.

Having worked for McLaren, Lotus and TWR (the last on Jaguar’s Le Mans racers, including the winning XJR-9), as well as the Riversimple his new Rasa hydrogen car, he knew how important these early stages, would be to make a progression, from design to production as possible. “Other companies sometimes cut off the first car and work it out,” says Hindmarsh, “but we have had the car scanned so Jim could create a digital 3D model before any work is started.” Three designs were made, one with the tailgate split in the D-pillar, another with a fully-split tailgate, and the third was the drawing that you see here.

A 1:10 scale model with an interchangeable rear has been produced for Hayton to live with for a couple of weeks to help make his decision. With the final design selected, the team went to Tesla for its approval. Hindmarsh said Elon Musk brand has been “very supportive” of the idea, as long as no changes have been made to the car’s crash structure and the electronics. As such, under the elongated rear section remain the original C-pillars, with the new camera, dark rear glass to hide the view.

The new bodywork that surrounds them is made entirely of carbon fiber, something all three of the Qwest founders of the agreement will remain the core material for the future products because of its lightness and strength. In the Model S, helped the team cut 12kg car weight in running order, in spite of its expanded surface.

“We are of origin, as many of the new materials, as we could locally,” says Hindmarsh. “Apart from the Pilkington glass rear screen, which is an off-the-shelf product, almost everything we added to the machine is custom made, but we made sure that the new parts can easily be sourced new, and are all E-marked [European certification].”

Even the interior fabric, which was derived from a local Norfolk trimmer, it looks and feels identical to the rest of the cabin, an illustration of the lengths the team went to ensure a seamless transition from the original to the new. Ted certainly approves, as he spends most of his time during our visit comfortably nestled in the warmth of the new car, only hopping for our test drive.

Hindmarsh said the Shooting Brake, the hour might offer up to 7.4 ft of uninterrupted space for baggage, three more inches of head room in the rear, and space for two adults (compared to children) in the boot, when Tesla’s optional rear seats are equipped with. But these improvements have no significant impact on the machine of the driving experience. There are new sounds and the car rides and corners just like a normal Model S. the definition of the stroke, and that scenery-blurring acceleration, remains unchanged.

There is, of course, a problem: the cost. For customers, the process of converting your car into a shooting brake is expected to cost around £70,000, which is more than the price of a new Model S 75D. But only 30 examples are due to be done in such a way that money does buy a level of exclusivity, as well as the practicality that few cars can match.

With a public debut at the London motor show around the corner, and a list of affected customers growing in number, the Qwest team is certainly optimistic. “This is a car for those who want to be different, for people who want to be part of the future,” says Hindmarsh. “I can imagine our car looking quite at home in the district of Knightsbridge, as is the case on the country roads of Norfolk.”

Three more unlikely to seal conversions:

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT FLYING STAR – Milanese coachbuilder Touring Superleggera has produced an estate version of the Bentley Continental GT called the Flying Stars in 2011. Elegantly added a wider, more accessible, and the luggage compartment of two-door body, and it was only with the W12 engine.

MASERATI QUATTROPORTE CINQUEPORTE – the Maserati Quattroporte has been converted into property of a wealthy middle eastern client, a specialist Italian coachbuilder StudioM. The expensive process of extending the line of the roof and also replace the fuel tank to maximize space in the trunk. An example of this is the product.

ASTON MARTIN VIRAGE SHOOTING BRAKE ZAGATO – the Italian coachbuilder Zagato Atelier created the Aston Martin Zagato Shooting Brake, to celebrate his long relationship with the British brand. The model following the DBS Coupe Zagato Centennial and DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial as the final piece of the trilogy collection.

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