Whether it was billed as a Traveller, a Giardiniera or a station wagon, estate cars have always been popular. They’re a bit like the automotive equivalent of a mullet: sensible saloon at the front but around the back it’s party time with acres of space for your shopping, schoolbags, or even, thanks to fold-out, rear-facing seats, your kids.
Since the first shooting brakes were built to ferry the guns and game for Edwardian country gentlemen, the stretched car has been an ever-present sight on Britain’s roads.
Now though, that popularity is translating into demand which is pushing up prices of classic estates compared to their standard saloon counterparts. Here is the list of those cars in the Hagerty Price Guide (HPG) that buyers are ‘longing’ for.
Audi 72 Station Wagon ‘Variant’ (1965–1969)
Average HPG value: £7200
Difference vs 4-door saloon: +2.5%
Nearly fifty years before the LaFerrari, Audi launched… ‘The Audi’, a car that later became the Audi 72. Aimed directly at the quality middle market that the company has come to dominate, a three-door Station Wagon alternative was offered to the standard saloon.
Today, values of the estate are slightly higher to the saloon throughout the condition range. A rare car in any guise, finding an estate in the UK would be a feat in itself.
Austin A35 Countryman (1956–1962)
Average HPG value: £8600
Difference vs 2-door saloon: +3%
The Austin A35 Countryman wasn’t the most elegant of estate conversions, being little more than an A35 van with side glass and slightly better trim, but the extended versions actually sold better than the saloon. Today, that practicality is in demand and equates to around a 3 per cent uplift in values.
Fiat 500 Giardiniera (1960–1975)
Average HPG value: £14,775
Difference vs Fiat 500 F saloon: +3.1%
Fiat has always made cool versions of its little cars that make the most of the space available (six-seater Fiat 600 Multipla anyone?) but the Fiat 500 Giardiniera (Gardner) still oozes chic, Italian charm. With side-opening rear door, lots of glass and long Webasto-style sunroof, the car wasn’t just a workhorse and today would make the ideal, practical urban classic.
Compared to the 500 F, Giardiniera values are a little higher, especially at Hagerty’s ‘Fair’ condition where their rarity adds £1000 to the price.
Austin Montego 1.6 Estate (1984–1988)
Average HPG value: £2375
Difference vs Montego 1.6 saloon: +4.4%
The difference in average value between the Austin Montego saloon and the estate is actually just £100, but given their low overall prices, that’s a noticeable margin. Finding one that hasn’t been either written off rusted away, however, will be tricky.
With a one-piece folding rear seat (later upgraded to the luxurious 60/40), a wash/wipe on the back screen and optional self-levelling suspension, the Montego was recently identified as the ultimate Festival of the Unexceptional car.
Volvo 740 2.3 Estate (1984–1991)
Average HPG value: £3640
Difference vs 2.3 Saloon: +4.8%
The word ‘workhorse’ is synonymous with a few cars: the Land Rover, the VW Transporter, and their middle-class equivalent: the Volvo estate. The 700 series, launched in the UK in July 1982 combined tank-like build quality, and, in estate form, seven seats and an impressive load space.
It was also cool, in a stealthy sort of way. Volvo went to the trouble of developing a 300bhp version (of the saloon) for Group A motor racing from the year of first release, but the project was canned after the company’s engineers couldn’t get it to go faster than the old – but smaller and lighter – 240. We’ve chosen the 4-cylinder 2.3 and in that guise, the estate gains nearly 5% over the saloon.
Mercedes-Benz E36 AMG Estate (1994–1997)
Average HPG value: £23,600
Difference vs E36 Saloon: +5.1%
Values of early AMG Mercedes have shot up in recent years, and it is easy to see why. I remember the first time I drove one when they were new: the acceleration felt so quick it made my eyes hurt. Plus, the slab-sided AMG alloys, the boxy bodykit, the acres of leather and the noise… oh, the noise.
Now, imagine all that in a ‘Wagon’… this time with two pop-up rear seats and load rails on the roof, plus they’re as rare as hen’s teeth, all of which adds up to around a 5.1 per cent average premium over the already desirable saloon.
Morris Mini Traveller (1960–1969)
Average HPG value: £8345
Difference vs Mk II Mini saloon: +13.8%
The Morris Mini Traveller is one of those cars that has always been a classic; even if you remember them on the roads at the time, they still seemed like something special, even then. The exposed wooden trim was evocative of an English country drawing room whilst the front end retained the comforting Mini ‘face’.
The car was popular, combining the fun driving style of the saloon with a practical load space and useful twin barn doors, a design that has been followed through to today’s MINI Clubman. Today, the Mini Traveller is a rare sight, and values compared to the Mk II Mini saloon are up nearly 14 per cent.
Citroën DS 19 Safari (1959–1965)
Average HPG value: £19,050
Difference vs Saloon: +16.5%
Self-levelling suspension, loads of space and the glorious looks of the Déesse made the Citroën DS 19 Safari a popular, if not rather exotic, choice for buyers of the era. Today, like many in this list they are rare, and collectors will pay 16.5 per cent on average more than for the saloon.
Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake (1964–1965)
Average HPG value: £1.023M
Difference vs Saloon: +109%
The biggest percentage difference in our list is also the most expensive car: the Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake. Okay, so it still has the Midas touch in terms of looks, but with 150mph performance and a fantastic load space famously designed by coachbuilders Radford to carry the polo equipment of David Brown, who took ownership of Aston in 1947, it’s more than double the average price of the saloon. However, the values are more to do with exclusivity than anything else.
Buy a DB5 Shooting Brake and you will be instantly recognised as someone who has the money and class to own one of just twelve such cars. Now that’s an estate.