Mourning the car bodystyles that have died out – Autocar

Three-seat coupé

No benches involved here, just individual buckets. The Matra-Simca Bagheera and its Murena successor flew the flag for the builder’s van seat layout. You could take one more person than in a Lotus, although there was inevitably less elbow room. The game-changer was the McLaren F1, which put the driver in pole position. No one copied it, and only McLaren returned to the theme with the million-pound-plus Speedtail.

Utility

These were faux or actual military vehicles sold to the public. They included The original Land Rover, of course, the Mini Moke, which was designed to be flat-packed and parachuted into battle, and the Rolls-Royce-powered Austin Champ. See also the Mercedes-Benz Unimog, Steyr-Puch Haflinger, Volkswagen Trekker (aka Thing), Volkswagen Iltis, very-Jeep-like Suzuki LJ80 and beachfront-friendly Citroën Méhari. These are certainly not crossovers.

Commercial

This has been a long-term ruse to dodge tax: offer a car in a van format with no side windows or rear seats so that it could be used as a business tool. Back in the old days, it was purchase tax that was avoided by some quite posh coachbuilt makes, such as Lea-Francis, so that it could become a station wagon or shooting brake for the hunting and fishing set. In modern times, it has been something for artisanal free-range sustainable egg-cup suppliers who can afford the Land Rover Discovery Commercial or the short-lived Mini Clubvan. Most recently, Suzuki has used it to circumvent the CO2 issue with the Jimny LCV.

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