Toyota GT86 Shooting Brake Concept is Our New Spirit Animal
For all the time, money and energy Toyota and Subaru put into developing their twin rear-drive, flat-four-powered sport coupes (the Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86/GT86 and the lame duck Scion FR-S), the two Japanese nameplates haven’t done a whole lot to keep them fresh since bringing them to market. Most enthusiasts deliver the “Needs more power!” refrain but, frankly, they’re missing the point of the Toyobaru Twins: These cars are intended to make their speed by maintaining momentum through turns, not blasting out of corners and down straightaways. So if these boxer-engined funsters don’t necessarily need more oomph to get them back in the news, what about adding another body style or two to the mix?
Enter the Toyota GT86 Shooting Brake Concept, a wagon-ish machine designed by a group of stylists at Toyota Australia and built in Japan by the leader of the Toyobaru project, Tetsuya Tada, and a team hand-picked by him. (Toyota says Tada saw a 1/4 scale clay model of the car on a visit to Oz and loved it so much he convinced management to let him make a real one.) The resulting conversion neatly incorporates the extended roof and quarter windows into the existing GT86 lines, though if it was up to us we’d probably make the back of the roof and the rear window an inch or two taller, as the backlight is almost comically mail-slot-like. Even so, there’s significantly more room for luggage (or, if you’re a track day addict, tires, a jack and other tools) than in the stock notchback’s trunk, and probably more back seat headroom as well.
Will either brand build it? Toyota says it’s strictly a concept at this point, though we could see it reaching production as a sort of tribute to the TE52 and TE72 Corolla Liftbacks of the 1970s and early-‘80s. And we’d like to think Subaru would be game to peddle it, given that brand’s history with quirky rides (e.g. 360, BRAT, SVX, etc.). In any case, we’ve got all appendages crossed that this or something like it hits showrooms someday.