This is a story that has been told many times in the last century and probably was the foundation of many manufacturers like Jaguar, Pininfarina and others. The story starts, like many others, with a car buyer lamenting that the car is 90% perfect however they would like it to be changed. In decades past, this would have been the domain of Park Ward, Vignale, Touring, Mulliner and many others.
A few years ago a serial buyer of Tesla’s Model S was grumbling over a pint of beer that the car wasn’t suitable to take his dogs out in, because the design of the rear meant limited headroom for the hounds. The owner and his mates then apparently reminisced about the old style “shooting brake” i.e. the station wagon or estate car from many European manufacturers. In fact there were several coach-builders who converted Aston Martins and Jaguars to that specification as an after-market offering. Well, that lead on to the question of “why not replicate that idea with a Tesla?”
Qwest Norfolk was founded to create the Tesla Shooting Brake. Step one was to use a CAD system to extend the roof line back to the rear of the car and then to fabricate the necessary panels to complete the conversion of the shell. They chose carbon fibre for lightness and the ability to form a shape that looks natural when bonded to the original shell. They then needed to create a new rear door from the back of the original hatchback door and a rather beautiful vehicle was then ready to be upholstered, painted and tested.
We read several reports about the resulting vehicle all of which pointed out that Tesla were too focused on building SUVs of different sizes, which would suit many buyers, however the Qwest conversion is one that combines the elegance of the original Model S with the practicality of an estate car. The company was quoted as saying that each conversion takes ten weeks to complete and they originally thought about making several option packages for different lifestyles. In one report, “surf” and “forest” packages were mooted, clearly one designed for getting wet and the other for getting muddy.
We like the end result – it really suits the Model S shape, unlike the Avon Jaguar which was based on the Series 3 XJ6 and looked awkward from every angle! Roos Engineering, a Swiss company, managed to make a mess of Aston Martins in the late 1990s trying to replicate a DB5 Shooting Brake built for company owner Sir David Brown, during the 1960s. The factory, like Qwest were able to make a good looking car even better.
Qwest are a great example of the traditions of coach-building, not every product suits a buyer perfectly and we all have to make small adjustments to accomodate features or functions that we don’t like. Using a coach-builder solves that problem – for some extra effort (time and money) you can get a vehicle that fits your lifestyle like a glove!